Seeing Things Differently

About fifteen years ago, I lost the sight in my left eye due to a detached retina. I regained some of it, but it was a very scary experience, (to say the least).

I was only twenty years old- a sophomore in college. One moment I was walking around campus and the next, I was in Boston University Hospital for a week undergoing test after test.

Time passed and now, at thirty-five, I have most of the site back. It's what's called 'eccentric' vision. Basically, part of what I see out of my left eye is distorted and will remain that way, and part of it is fairly clear with the help of glasses.

Recently, while reading "A Return To Love" by Marianne Williamson, a particular sentence captured my attention. It said, "Holy Spirit, I am willing to see things differently." It was in reference to surrendering your life to God and realizing that what you see and do, if not out of love, isn't real. Only love is real and the Holy Spirit can guide you to what God wants you to see and do. The Holy Spirit will allow you to cast your burdens to God. So, I gathered, if I invite the Holy Spirit into my life, He'll help me through these stressful times by showing me how to give my troubles to God, and I'll see things differently.

I'll be less fearful- more relaxed.

I am what you'd call a walking ball of stress. My faith is very strong, but I can't seem to 'get it right' in terms of surrendering my life to God. I allow things to weigh me down. I've tried to give all my burdens to God, but haven't been successful. I'm afraid of turning thirty-six and still having no child; I'm afraid that all of my fiancé's stresses, (he's caring for an ill family member), which cause him great angst, won't go away and I find myself feeling rather 'hopeless' at times.

I find myself full of fear more than faith.

God has bestowed some wonderful gifts upon me, i.e., my musical talents, a book published and being in several other books. I am thankful and show it by thanking God. However, I know I don't focus enough on the good and let myself get worked up over the bad.

To the point of my own destruction.

I am an anxious person. I don't like being that way and have tried to overcome it since my partial loss of sight, which was the catalyst of my first anxiety attack. I've come a long way in overcoming the attacks, have written about them and it's through the grace of God that I've gotten as strong as I have.

I've even written an article which will be published in a book about anxiety and another that has reached many who are in the same boat as me. Through my openness, I have reached others and that is a gift from God.

However, I still suffer from anxiety attacks occasionally and sometimes, they hit me right out of the blue.

I get completely 'blind sided'.

Example: The other night my fiancé and I went to dinner. It was the night before Mother's Day. I know I had a lot on my mind. I was feeling rather depressed that I was not a mother and I know it was eating away at me. Ironically, my book, which is about my miscarriage and my journey towards recovery, is doing very well.

Rather bittersweet.

But, I feared it was the closest I'd ever come to being a mother and like a cancer, it ate away at me to the point where I was very volatile, snappy and felt extremely alone.

While looking at the menu, I realized I wasn't able to read it. Part of the words were missing! My heart began to race and I could only think, "Oh, no. Not again! Please, God- not again."

My fiancé asked me what was wrong. I told him and he suggested I relax and that it would be okay. It was a severe anxiety attack, (I'd had two others like it over the past ten years in which my site was affected), but, I couldn't seem to snap out of it. I kept holding my hand in front of me and I saw distortion. I glanced across the table at my fiancé and part of his face was completely gone.

Suddenly, that sentence from Marianne Williamson's, "A Return to Love" popped into my mind. "Holy Spirit, I am willing to see things differently."

I repeated it over and over again. It became a mantra to me. I remember thinking, "I'm really not seeing things the way I should and maybe this is a wake up call."

Rather drastic, I know, but I think I needed that strong a wake up call. After all, I'd been wallowing in fear for a very long time and letting it rule my life-- even when I knew better.

The waitress came and with feigned normality, I placed my order, feeling like I was on another planet. I kept repeating that prayer to the Holy Spirit. "I am willing to see things differently."

The more I said it, the calmer I got. It didn't stop the excruciating headache from happening, (typical of a classic migraine in which things like your site, verbal and motor skills are affected and you end up with the worst headache you've ever had….)

And, then I felt it.

A warmth rushed through me and a 'knowing'. That's the best word I can come up with and it doesn't come close to what I experienced. Let me say that I knew the Holy Spirit was helping me and I kept repeating that sentence.

My sight came back.

It felt like the longest twenty minutes of my life. However, I know it could have been much worse had I not been through it before and if I didn't pray.

Is it possible that I was seeing things through such fearful eyes and seeing things that I didn't want to see, that I temporarily lost part of my sight? Could it be through that frightening experience- in which all my troubles seemed to disappear and all I could think of was connecting to God, that I somehow changed? Did the Holy Spirit, in fact, help me to 'see things differently'?

I believe that is the truth. I know in my heart it is.

If I couldn't calm myself down and remained on a road in which I couldn't give my troubles to God and see things in a new light, I was headed for more fear, more anxiety and more suffering.

Today, the day after my attack and, ironically, Mother's Day, I will see things differently. I will rejoice in my own mother, which God has blessed me with. I will not look upon those who have children with jealously or sadness, but will rejoice in their joy. Most importantly, I will trust that God has a plan for me and if I am meant to be a mother, I will one day be a mother.

I pray I'll be successful in handing my troubles to God and seeing things differently. My attack was less than twenty-four hours ago and I have just begun the journey-one that I thought I was already on.

Last night was proof I wasn't.

I love to help others. It gives me a great feeling when I reach someone with my words. But, you know what? I need help, too. We all do. And the Holy Spirit was right there inside of me, helping me in a way that transcends words, when I needed Him the most.

Here's to seeing the cup half full.

Editor:   Matthew 11:28 NLT   "Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."

[ by Ellen M. DuBois Copyright © 2002 -- submitted by: Ellen M. DuBois ]


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