Because it seemed the newspapers and food labels were using a much smaller font, I saw an optometrist for an eye exam for reading glasses. Unfortunately, I received an unwelcome diagnosis….my dimming vision was being caused by cataracts.
While the well-meaning optometrist was explaining that the decrease in vision caused by cataracts is most commonly due to aging and was describing future correctives, I was thinking that prayer was going to be my remedy. I had experienced good results from praying about health problems in the past. So, I was not willing to accept a prediction that I would eventually have surgery to remove cataracts, even though the doctor insisted that it would become progressively worse.
Instead, I thought about what Christ Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” By thinking of my eyes as spiritual light meant my eyesight could not be obstructed (cataracts) and was certainly not at the mercy of age.
Long before 60 became the new 40, Christian healer Mary Baker Eddy maintained that age-related problems – such as diminished eyesight – do not have to be an inevitable part of a long life. In Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, she put forward this contrarian idea: “Sight, hearing, all the spiritual senses of man, are eternal. They cannot be lost. Their reality and immortality are in Spirit and understanding, not in matter,--hence their permanence.”
Fast forward to now … a time when some gerontologists’ research substantiates the claim that the aging process - which everyone seems to regard as unavoidable - is benefited by prayer and spirituality.
And a study by Candy Gunther Brown, PhD, from the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, found that subjects who received proximal prayer experienced dramatic vision improvements – much larger improvements than those typically found in studies based on suggestion or hypnosis methodologies.
By gaining insights into vision as one of “the spiritual senses of man” I experienced improvement through prayer. I continued thinking of vision as the outcome of a divine law of spiritual seeing and not subject to some kind of “aging law.”
Several years later, I realized I was barely using the prescribed glasses…only for reading very small print, but never for night driving or other things for which they were recommended. Finally, I had an examination with the same optometrist…much to her surprise the cataracts were gone. So, with prayer, shouldn’t I be expectant that I can eventually discontinue using glasses altogether?
Like Moses who “was an hundred and twenty years old when he died, and his eye was not dim,” why can’t anyone accept the possibility that the aging process is something we can refuse to accept as inevitable?
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Debra Chew writes about the connection between thought, spirituality and wellness from a Christian Science perspective. She has been published in the UK, chattanoogan.com, UK Health Triangle Magazine, Jackson Sun Health Magazine, and in the Memphis Commercial Appeal. She is the media and legislative liaison for Christian Science in TN.