TLP Living:5/21/18

We all have out problems in life

Greetings from the Heartland

Over my years of writing and teaching and preaching, I have had quite a few people take exception to my usual optimistic approach to the Word. Some have even told me that I can be optimistic because I’ve led a very easy life and never had to deal with the problems that most others deal with. My reaction to those kinds of remarks is always mixed, with equal prats of amazement and amusement…

We all have our share of problems in this life.

The other day, Friday to be exact, I got to deal with one of my little problems, for it was the day of my annual visit to the Ophthalmologist. I so enjoy this visit, in fact I enjoy it so much that it was my first annual visit since 2012.

The only way I manage these visits is to mess with the doctor. The object of the game is to be so flippant that they think I’m not being truthful about my condition… until they dilate my eyes and look inside, whereupon they tend to fall off their stools in horror at the freak show they’re looking at. You see, I have had macular degeneration for 40 years, and nobody has it that long. Yes, dear reader, I am a medical miracle, because I was diagnosed with this condition as a teen, and teens simply do not get macular degeneration. Even 40 years later, I am a bit young to have it…

I guess that makes me special doesn’t it?

That, by the way, is the kind of flippancy I have at the doctor’s office. Yes sir, special indeed!

They want me to read the letters on the chart, and I say “What chart?” Of course, I know there’s always a chart right next to the door in an examination room. They tell me to look at the little light and follow it with my eyes, and I laugh at them. Anything I look at simply isn’t there; what vision I still have is peripheral…

And they know that… but they think I’m not being serious. Maybe they can’t see that if I don’t approach the whole subject with a sense of humor, I can’t bear it. Whenever I walk into a wall, I laugh and laugh, just as I do when I miss the first step on a stairway and bounce all the way down on my rear… it just strikes me as comical, as hilarious. You see, that’s a choice I made long ago: Any time you aren’t sure whether to laugh or cry, laughing is a lot more fun.

The doctor told me that the forms I had filled out upon arrival hadn’t indicated blindness. I told her that I hadn’t noticed a question on the form, but then that’s what happens when you hand a stack of forms to a blind person to fill out…

You see, I’m a returning patient, not a new one, and they already have all of my records, but apparently someone hadn’t noticed. Oops.

My visit was topped off with a very interesting thing. Trying to be helpful, the doctor handed me two pairs of goggles, one yellow, the other orange. They can make it easier for some low vision patients to distinguish objects by increasing contrast of light and dark, so let’s see if they might help. You know hat happened? They turned everything the same color, either yellow or orange, and when that happens I have no peripheral vision at all and loose everything.

I laughed and laughed− they don’t run into many people who’ve had MD for 40 years, for there really aren’t many people around town who are over 110 years of age!

I don’t approach Scripture with a sense of optimism because I’ve never had trials in this life. I approach it with optimism because I believe the promises of God, and so should you. We will all face trials in the here and now, of whatever sort. Yet I’m not too concerned about them, because when compared to what we have in store for us… what’s a little trial, anyway.?

I said ‘no thank you’ to the goggles as I left… what’s for lunch?

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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15 Responses to TLP Living:5/21/18

  1. photojaq says:

    Wow. How do you type these posts – many in a week? My husband (75) was just diagnosed with AMD – the “wet” kind. He’ll begin monthly treatments beginning on Friday. The treatment? An injection in his eyeball. Will it restore vision? Probably not. Will it slow the degeneration? We hope. I am amazed by your attitude, and praise God for you.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Thank you. Actually the posting part is easy. I type in Word at 72 pt. A 500 word post fills up about 60 pages, but I can do it. Tell your husband not to despair, if you approach it right, there’s a work around for almost everything; I can cook by listening instead of seeing, he’ll learn to fill in what he can’t see, and can even forget he isn’t seeing sometimes, and he’ll learn to see rooms in his mind and be able to navigate most of the time with no problem; you get used to it, in other words. But I must say, I didn’t start with a good attitude, that took a while. It was rough: My batting average went in the tank, my girlfriend dumped me, I couldn’t pass the eye test in the physical for Air Force Academy (my life’s dream) my father died and then I was diagnosed. Oh yes, it was tough at first. By my Dad’s voice was in my heard the whole time, “A man never cries, never whines and never complains.” (His favorite saying when I was growing up) But he never said I couldn’t laugh!

  2. Deb says:

    You are such an inspiration..and a fine warrior for God…
    Never giving up living on high..
    God Bless You Don..Namaste’ to the fullest…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Was pondering Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” just this morning. Was teaching a woman’s Bible study yesterday. We have been working through Esther and yesterday concentrated on “serving with Humility”, which led me to scripture on dying to one’s self, which led me to consider how most of our sin & brokenness is caused by us not doing so. I talked how the world keeps pounding into us “that it’s all about me” which leads to broken families & relationships, and other sins. I got a little preachy, have to admit. The Lord schooled me this morn during prayer….Perhaps I hurt some friends that had been through broken marriages, etc. because I neglected to bring it back around to His Mercy, Saving Grace and Forgiveness– Which Finally led me to Paul’s thorn. I know most scholars feel it was a physical malady. But I have often wondered if it was his guilt over all those he persecuted prior to his conversion. Either way, your post brings me to Our Father’s All Sufficient Grace. Your Perspective convicts me. Thank You, Brother.

  4. DWMartens says:

    Last Wednesday evening at the small group bible study, someone was telling of accepting what was told him while in the parochial school he attended growing up because it was “the gospel.” It occurred to me that saying something was “the gospel” in that sense was to make it mean something other its actual meaning, “Good News.” Even the times of national meetings at the Temple in ancient Israel were called “Festivals.” Why do the things of the Lord seem to stimulate so much gloom and doom in people?! The New Testament keeps saying things like, “for the joy set before him,” “make my joy complete,” and “make our joy complete.” And, back in Nehemiah the people were told, “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” You’re right Don, we can laugh at the troubles we have in this world; and maybe help lift others out of their duldrums with the Gospel, the Good News. Then, they will be able to laugh, too, for the joy of the Lord.

  5. I want to comment as usual, but all I can say Brother is: PRAISE GOD AMIGHTY THROUGH CHRIST JESUS!!!

  6. paulfg says:

    Quiet thoughtful applause. 👏👏👏

  7. Citizen Tom says:

    You see, that’s a choice I made long ago: Any time you aren’t sure whether to laugh or cry, laughing is a lot more fun.

    Laughter is a strange thing. What exactly is it about?

    Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward. ― Kurt Vonnegut

    I doubt anyone truly understands laughter. We just know what seems funny. Years ago I read a science fiction book that observed that someone is the butt of every joke. When we laugh with others we share the frailties of our humanity. When we laugh at others, we ridicule their imperfections, as if we had none.

    But what is it when we laugh at our self? I think then we share our grief with God, and our Lord strengthens us. Otherwise, we could not bear our sorrows.

    I imagine the Apostle Paul often laughed at himself. Otherwise, how could he have borne the burdens our Lord gave him?

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