I have been wearing glasses since I was two years old. Adorable you say? Picture this; I was not walking by age two so I was crawling and scooting across the floor like a little Woody Allen. And to complete the picture, I had a “lazy” left eye so there was little crawling Woody with crossed eyes. What’s not to love, right?

At four years old I had surgery to shorten the muscle on my left eye so it would not wander so far from center. It vastly helped my sight by helping me only see one of everything instead of two. What a surprise when I found out I only had one toy fire truck, not two!

Apart from a 2-week abysmal failure trying contacts, I have seen the world through corrective lenses now for 63 years! But this past year I started losing my ability to see both far and near too quickly. I was relieved when the doctor scheduled me for cataract surgery in January. A friend who had the surgery recently told me that afterward, she realized that the beautiful brown orchid in her home was lavender. With better vision, she could see more of what was really there.

That’s kind of what participating in the Facing Racism and Privilege cohort was like for me. As a result of the readings, conversations, and personal reflections on race and privilege with my cohort, I started seeing things I had never before seen. Those hard realities didn’t suddenly appear; they’ve been there all along, I just didn’t have good enough vision to see them.

If a lavender orchid looks brown to a person, they can live like that but they aren’t really seeing what is true. Better vision helps them see what is really there.

When it comes to racism and privilege, it is not just an optical deficit that affects us; it is a blindness that is oppressive and continues to harm millions of people.

Surgery for cataracts is optional. The doc said that if it didn’t bother me enough to do something about it I didn’t need to have surgery. Jesus said there were people who refused to see or hear the truth but in Matthew 13:16 he said, “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”  If some of you reading this are ready to try and get better vision so you can really see racism and privilege in our world, our country and ourselves, there is a new cohort starting in January, meeting Jan. 12, 26, Feb. 9, 23, and March 8, 11:45-2:00 PM in the flex space at church. Lunch provided.

Every opportunity I’ve had to see better has improved my life. I hope you’ll consider getting a better vision “check-up” too.

Nothing But Love,

Mark