A friend of mine from church just got new glasses. She left hers in a restaurant a couple of states away. She was philosophical about it; she said that it was about time for a new prescription anyway.
I really like them; she said she does too, although it's taking a little getting used to. She says she had gotten used to things being a little fuzzy, and now her vision is so sharp it hurts her head, a little.
In thinking about my recent post about reading the Bible, I suspect that this sharper vision is one of the benefits and also one of the pitfalls. It's true, when we start hearing God's word, we start getting a much clearer picture of God's love for us: a picture of a Father running down the road with his arms outstretched, tears running down his cheeks; a picture of a woman, pouring a year's worth of perfume on a dying man; a picture of a mother hen protecting her young; a picture of a host throwing a lavish dinner party for people who can't ever pay him back; a picture of a woman combing her whole back yard at midnight looking for a penny.
But it's not all sweetness and light. It's not just God that shows up more clearly -- it's the human race. Our family tree is filled with cheats, rogues, tax collectors, liars, and ne'er-do-wells. Also, just your average, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, well-meaning but imperfect people. Sometimes, when we're looking at ourselves, it much easier to stay with the old prescription, the one where we come off looking fuzzier, younger, a little more flattering.
I'm not talking self-abasement here; just an honest self-assessment. I remember reading and clipping a newspaper column by Ellen Goodman long ago. It was a Valentine's Day column, and the gist of it was that we should all look in the mirror every morning and say to ourselves, "You're no bargain." I think that we get the same sort of feeling when we start delving into the stories of the Scriptures.
It's enough to hurt our heads. Or make us grateful.