I thought I had tired eyes and a slight touch of conjunctivitus. It wasn’t a sudden occurrence but a gradual process of putting my book down earlier and earlier before I had to squint too hard. Squinting helped, not reading anything helped more. It was a few weeks before I cottoned on and realised that my sight was not as it should have been. It was a chance drop in to John and his huge bag of charity reading glasses that confirmed the matter. I am offered things on numerous occasions and my stock phrase of ‘No I’m fine’ wasn’t true but I nearly said it anyway. But then I reckoned trying on a pair or two might confirm my gradually growing suspicion that I needed reading glasses. Sure enough, first pair and the page sprang into amazingly clear focus… I could see!

Glasses then are extremely useful but I’d prefer it if my sight was how it has always been. To have to use this apparatus on occasions reminds me of aged relatives always putting their glasses down somewhere, using them for one task and then wielding them like a weapon in conversation. You see, these glasses help me focus on something directly before me but when you look up to behold your beloveds beautiful face it becomes this blurred contortion.

20/20 vision allows us to behold our surroundings with clarity. We are completely aware of dangers. Our peripheral vision gives us an all encompassing involvement in reality. Alter the focus and life gets misaligned and reality a contortion. This whole matter makes me wonder how nations turn, how ideologies that are so apparently abhorrent can become mainstream and hold many millions in sway. One person’s thoughts can ensnare the rational majority. Yes, we speak of dictators and extreme belief systems – Hitler, Stalin, Mao – maybe as many as 130 million victims. The list of leaders who suppress their populations, squashing debate, making decisions on behalf of minorities to enslave other minorities and ultimately the majority, goes on and on throughout history and especially so through recent history.

I was wondering, in our moves to counteract acts of terror by those with extremist views how this could also be a catalyst for control. Our reaction to these events lead us into a state of suspicion and fear of anything that is different. The rise of nationalist sentiments, the rhetoric of the popularist liberal elite can lead us into a polarised society where belief systems, and here I mean any belief system can be seen as dangerous unless it tows the line.

So my question? Are we living our lives out of focus? Are we so engrossed in the rapidly changing landscape of society that we have lost our clear vision? Is the stance portrayed in the media that ‘all should share the same ethos and point of view’ correct? Are those that don’t adhere to this new order lesser, are they wrong, are they worthy of silencing? As the temperature of society rises and the pressure to change your mind, understanding, belief to come into line increase, will a time come when those that don’t adhere to the ‘new order’ step over this line and be seen in the same light as the most abhorrent groups? Will not agreeing be seen as the line where extremism is measured from?

The glasses that I choose to wear bring words into clear distinction. Love. Peace. Grace to you.

Love your enemy. Pray for those that persecute you. We are offered one to follow, that inspire’s us, compels us to do like him. And in choosing to follow his line he comes and helps us live this impossible life. And we find there is a right and a wrong…not just a blurred set of feelings that leads us to anything we choose. A clear view of life that compels us to offer this set of spectacles to others because life is so much better when we can gaze at everything in focus.

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