Because we are stronger for the sharing...

I know this is huge, and yet, it’s a little fuzzy for me, but I wanted you to see where I am tonight. (Galatians 6:11See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!)

I had a procedure similar to LASIK done this morning, well… it was this afternoon before they actually got to me.

In LASIK, in case you don’t know, an ophthalmic surgeon carefully removes a slice off the surface of the eye, folding it to the side, out of the way, and then a preprogrammed laser fires on the eye and shapes the cornea beneath to correct, inside the eye itself, the vision problem that has required a patient to wear corrective lenses. After the laser is done, they gently fold the flap back, and the surgery is finished.

When I was being evaluated, I discovered that my prescription (which I knew was around -11.25) was almost too steep to be done at all. In fact, to correct my vision, the doctor couldn’t do the normal procedure; he had to do what is called Advanced Surface Ablation (or ASA for short). See, in creating the tiny thin flap for LASIK, they actually cut into the cornea itself, and some of the corneal structure (called the stroma, if I recall correctly) is lost to the flap (it doesn’t disappear completely; it’s just unshapable because it’s in the flap, off to the side). They needed every micrometer of my cornea to do the correction for me, so they couldn’t risk the flap. ASA instead places a small ring on the eye itself and then removes the epithelium (sort of like the top layer of your skin, only on the eye itself). Then, with every micrometer of the cornea intact, they do the same procedure with the laser shaping the cornea to the new prescription. Because they actually removed some of the covering of the eye, it takes longer to heal, and it’s more uncomfortable.

Now that the science is out of the way, we get to where I am tonight as I sit up in front of my monitor, typing in a 60 point font (don’t worry, when I publish this, I’ll shrink most of it down to a size you can deal with).

You see, I’m disappointed, afraid, discouraged, and impatient. I had believed that I’d see a dramatic improvement in my sight as soon as I got off the table, that I’d be just able to see… and while I knew there would be fuzziness that would last, I wasn’t expecting to still be blind. And yet, blind I am.

My husband tells me that they were trying to guess where my vision would be tomorrow… and the number he quoted me is so far better than I’ve ever seen that I don’t even know how to imagine what that would be like. If they’re right, then a good night’s sleep will see enough healing to let me finally not be blind… for the first time that I can remember.

I didn’t know that when I left today. I thought I’d get off the table and be a little fuzzy, but with ready vision. No one explained that it would have to heal through the stages of blindness to wholeness… perhaps I’d have been better equipped for the outcome, be less depressed tonight, be less upset.

So here I am, only now hearing thirdhand where they thought I’d be tomorrow, only now realizing that I never understood really how this would happen for me, that maybe, just maybe, the horrible mistake I’ve feared all day hasn’t happened, that I’m exactly where I should be, that maybe I can be hopeful instead in despair.

Surprisingly, there’s music playing on repeat as I write this, helping to soothe this savage breast, to salve this broken heart (*If you know me at all, you know the above is said tongue firmly in cheek). It’s Nichole again, singing a song I sang to myself this morning as I waited for my turn under the laser, as I prayed for wisdom for the doctors and calmness for me in place of anxiety. How did I get through my day and lose this prayer, this focus?

Rolling River God

Little stones are smoothed

Only once the water passes through

So I am a stone

Rough and grainy still

Trying to reconcile this River’s chill

But when I close my eyes

And feel You rushing by

I know that time brings change

And change takes time

And when the sunset comes, my prayer would be this one:

That You might pick me up and notice that I am

Just a little smoother in Your hand.

Sometimes raging wild

Sometimes swollen high

Never have I known this River dry

The deepest part of You

Is where I want to stay

And feel the sharpest edges wash away

But when I close my eyes

And feel You rushing by

I know that time brings change

And change takes time

And when the sunset comes,

My prayer would be just one:

That You might pick me up and notice that I am

Just a little smoother in Your hands

Rolling River God

Little stones are smoothed only once the water passes through

What a beautiful melody, almost like a stone skipping in progressive waves over the surface of a river, and her soft voice almost a ballad.

I’m done weeping in fear. I’m done being discouraged. I’m done letting the Enemy define who I am.

If my fears are right, and this went wrong, and I will remain blind (or even be uncorrectibly so), this is no disaster. Men and women deal with worse every day. There are worse things out there than the loss of what little sight I had. Besides, all of this fear preys on me before the healing process has the time it needs to bring the change it will. I may yet be the exciting case they talk about, going from blind, unable to imagine life without glasses, to being free again.

My rolling river God has never let me down yet. My rolling river God never will. He still holds me in the palm of His hand, and there, curled against Him who created me, who formed me, yes, even these imperfect eyes, there I will rest and let the physical laws He put in motion work. I will give Him the time that change needs to be effective.

And when the despair comes again? I’ll come back to my rolling river God.

And you’ll get messages each day updating my progress… because I suspect that this time next week, I will live a life I never imagined would be mine.

Despair comes. But it doesn’t have to be our companion. Dive into the River God and let Him wash you clean, polish away everything until we are just a little smoother in His hands. Rolling River God… Little stones are smoothed only once the water passes through.

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