Relief and Celebration!

Four years ago when we took our (then) 2 1/2 year old year old daughter in for her first eye exam, we were shocked to find out that she had a genetic problem with one of her eyes called refractive amblyopia. We were totally unaware that she was only able to see out of one of her eyes, her other so weak that her brain had stopped reading from it.  I blogged about some of the challenges that were involved with this diagnosis here. For the past four years, she has had to wear a patch daily for 2 hours while playing handheld video games (as long as possible during this time each day) to force the weak eye to focus and get stronger. This was a huge challenge for us since Sophia didn’t like video games… When Sophia was 2 and 3, we could put her patch on when we were around other people and she was unaware of their glances that hung on, and their inquiring questions of what had happened. In the past years however, the biggest challenge that we faced as we patched daily was her increasing awareness of the curious people around us. Her tiredness of the constant questioning, and the regular answer “I have a weak eye”, and the knowledge that she was visibly different. She didn’t appreciate my encouragement on one occasion to make light of the questions and answer with an “arrr” like a pirate would… I thought it would be funny! She began to wear a hat with a wide brim when we were in public because our schedule didn’t allow her patching to be done at home that day.

Despite our challenges we patched faithfully, and when I did have an odd day where I forgot I would feel the guilt. I would find myself imagining that at her next frequent check up we would not see positive results. We did continue to see positive results, however. Faster improvement at the beginning, slower as the eye got stronger. I was beginning to think that this was a burden that we would be carrying for a very long time. To my relief, we were surprised with the overwhelmingly good news at our last check up that Sophia’s weak eye has improved so much that we no longer have to patch!!! When our eye doctor said this to us so matter of factly, I could hardly believe it, and asked him to clarify. He confirmed this good news and congratulated us. I got tears in my eyes as I looked over at my beaming daughter who finally realized that her hard work had paid off and come to an end, and as I felt the weight of a motherly burden released. Many days as I tried to put the patch on my daughter she would resist and I would gently encourage her (and some days not so gently) that if she was diligent now, her hard work would pay off and that one day she would no longer have to patch. FOUR YEARS LATER, this came true. I hope and pray that Sophia has learned from this that hard work can take a long time to pay off. That many times we have to just be faithful, even when we do not know what the result will be, or what the future will hold for us. Isn’t this how it is as we follow the Lord as well? Sometimes what God asks us to do doesn’t make any sense to us – we don’t understand how good can come of it, or what the result will be. Follow me, He says. Trust me, He says. Surrender your will to Me, He says.

I also pray that my already empathetic daughter will continue to be sensitive to those around her that are visibly different in some way. That she won’t be scarred by the attention that her patching brought, but that she will remember what it felt like, and remember to treat others the way she wanted to be treated – like a kid who just wanted to have some fun and be noticed for her great qualities, not the huge patch covering her eye. While she was never bullied, I hope that she will stand up for those kids who are. I hope that she will be a defender of the weak, and a friend to those in need as she follows the Lord even when she doesn’t understand.

I am so relieved to be released of this task. Released of  what I only realized was a huge burden to me once it was gone. I cried tears of joy as we walked out of the doctor’s office that day. I picked up my daughter and swung her around whooping in delight as we both laughed in relief and celebration for the wonderful news.

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25: 4 & 5