Friday, December 2, 2016


Image courtesy of wikimedia
I sometimes think about the events in my life as a series of lenses. First I had the lens of childhood, when I was protected and relatively innocent. I saw the world as my playground, a safe place. Then I added on the lenses of school and my growing understanding that others had lenses too, and that theirs were as valid as mine (hard as that is to believe sometimes). From there came lenses that included my political beliefs, ways of interacting with people based on my experience and so on. Some lenses stuck, others were dropped or altered. They accumulated, each one altering how I could see, making things bigger or smaller, sharper or blurred.

I found that those lenses altered how I see the world. You know how it is, you wear glasses for long enough and your eyes change to adapt to them. When you take the glasses off the world seems more unclear than ever.

I never expected the tinted lens of loss, the dimming lens of acute grief and the permanent alteration those lenses have caused in my sight. Once those were installed I never expected the lens of hope or love to return to clear my view. But they have.

If you've never worn these particular lenses, don't worry, you will. And you can choose now and again to try them on. It's important to see the world through others' eyes. I'll loan you mine if you let me look through yours.

We are all products of our experience. Those of us who have experienced significant loss and grief will never see the world without that tinge, but we learn to adapt. We learn to see the beauty of the world through these lenses because we see with more clarity. The sparkle of light on the water is more precious than ever, because we know our lost ones saw it too. It is more joyful than before because it contains all the love we felt for them and the joy we feel when we share it with someone new. It may be blurred now, tears creating their own lens across our eyes, but the aggregate view, lens upon lens upon lens, is one that allows us to see the world with more compassion, more gentleness, more ability to see the preciousness in each moment. All of this depends on our willingness to look through these lenses and not deny them, but oh, the world is still there. Beautiful and painful and sparkling.

(c)2016 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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