Wednesday, April 29, 2015

As Large as Our Vision

Five years ago, give or take one in either direction, I read “The Book of Disquiet” by the Portuguese philosophical novelist Pessoa. I only remember one line and I probably understand it wrong. Still that being said, after all these years the phrase that still bounces around my mind is: “We are as large as our vision.” Or something like that. For the past week or so I have been dealing with a sty on my sinister eye. Besides the slight mar on the Mona Lisa-like beauty of my face, it has been among the smallest of tragedies at home or abroad. While it is only a minor annoyance, a slight pain, the sty has decreased my field of vision, forcing me to rely heavily on my right eye, which can see about as well as a near-sighted mole. For the past week my world has become fuzzy, thin, and small. In turn I have found myself cranky and short, irritable and small. To see small is to see with damaged vision, too tight to take it all in, too fuzzy for focus, and as our vision shrinks we diminish along with it. Depending on our gaze, the world is either a tiny place or else a cosmos endlessly complicated, interwoven, and huge. A small world is one of problems; a large world is full of potential. A small world is a world of weakness, a large world one of strength. Small worlds contain only pain, large worlds make space for relief, small worlds only know suffering, large worlds know meaning within and beyond the suffering. May we always see large and in turn may we grow to meet our vision. Grow to trust in the strength of others, to hope for wholeness beyond the brokenness, and to see our patients and their families as massive as they truly are. May we be large enough to bear another’s burden just long enough to help them see their ability to carry it themselves.
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