I was told I wouldn’t remember the procedure. Yet in the event little anesthesia was used and the doctor talked with me the whole time. Something was put over my eye so that my lids would not blink; something else was put on my eye so that it would not feel anything. I wish I could have filmed what I saw; they were scenes befitting a sci-fi movie. Nothing was normal; shapes floated there bearing various geometries, as lights and colors emerged from shadowy places. I saw three blobs, like cubic sponges. The doctor continued telling me what he was doing. He extracted the old lens, the one I was born with. He measured again my astigmatism. He made adjustments for it.
If you had been there, you would have seen a microscope, you would have seen small instruments, you would have seen a man lying on his back in a room with other people around taking care of what was going on. If you had stayed there through the day, you might have seen the same thing done thirty, fifty times. But I saw none of that. I saw another world, a mysterious world, a world somehow infinite although twisted through my own inadequate senses.
The world that God made, the world we live in: there must be a million ways of seeing it, and we humans hardly know anything. We see it one way—most of the time. I got to see another way, for a few minutes.
In the antique language, it is said of Eli that he was old and his eyes had grown dim (1 Sam. 3:2, 4:15). My eyes also had grown dim; the world was blurry, night lights were starbursts, and it for years reading had increasingly involved a measure of guesswork. Now it is bright again, sharp too. We are to give thanks to God in all times and in all places. Eli was to give thanks even with dim eyes. I am grateful today not just for a relief of dimness, but for those few minutes when I saw nothing I knew, and yet still was seeing God’s world.
On the Web. At the Human Life Review’s website, I have a short piece on Saints and Halloween: https://humanlifereview.com/saints/ . Preparing this essay brought to mind, as you will see, the funeral of a 21-year-old who had suddenly died.
Several people have asked me about Israel and Hamas. I think this piece by Nigel Biggar, an esteemed Anglican moral theologian, handles well the near-term and long-term complexity: https://nigelbiggar.uk/2023/10/15/israel-has-every-right-to-defend-itself-against-hamass-war-crimes-but-it-must-find-a-just-peace/
Out & About. I am to preach this Sunday, Nov. 12, at Bethesda Church in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. It is their “Remembrance Sunday” and the Eucharists are at 8 and 10 a.m. Earlier in the week I am to lead the clergy retreat for the diocese of Albany.
I will be teaching the Advent class at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Dallas, on “An Adult Christ at Christmas.” The class will meet on Sundays at 10 a.m.: Nov. 26, Dec. 3, and Dec. 17. We are starting a week early and skipping Dec. 10 because of street closures for the Dallas marathon on Dec. 10.
The next Good Books & Good Talk seminar will be on Shakespeare's King Lear on Sunday, November 26, at 5 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Cathedral. Anyone who reads (or watches) the play is welcome to join the conversation.
You may register now for the Christian Ethics course at the Stanton Center, which will meet one Saturday per month (for three hours, generally on the third Saturday) from January through May. I will be teaching this course. It involves reading and writing before each class, but no exams or other papers. In-person discussion of the assigned texts is the backbone of the course. For more information, drop a line to Erica Laysenik,