A mighty change in view
Finally! After eleven hours of school at the University of Anchorage Alaska I was free; so off I went in my old blue Chevy pickup down Northern Lights Boulevard toward my apartment. It was dark out; being typical of the Alaskan sky in the winter. As I made my way down the snowy road I approached the stoplight at the intersection of a large street; I noticed that I was squinting in an attempt to read the street name. I knew that it was the New Seward Highway because I had traveled this road many times before, but it startled me that with just two cars in between me and the sign I couldn’t read the street name, until I was half way through the intersection. I realized then that it was time for me to make a call.
I was somewhat unnerved by the idea of getting glasses. My parents both have glasses as do a few of my siblings, but seeing as how I’m the youngest in the family I thought that I would somehow evade the misfortune of bad vision. In my opinion I was too young to need glasses. As I sat disheartened through my forty five minute eye exam in the Wal-Mart vision center off of thirty sixth street the optometrist pronounced to me my lifelong sentence, that I along with my parents and siblings needed corrective eye wear. As I searched through the seemingly endless assortment of frames on the walls, I eventually determined to ask a cute girl with brown eyes who worked there to help me pick out a pair. She told me that the metallic pair made me look very handsome, so naturally I bought them.
The following Tuesday, one week after my appointment, I received the call that I could come and pick up my glasses. I drove carefully on my way to the store trying not to run anyone over. I took a step back as I read the bill, 4 hundred 23 dollars and 38 cents! I knew that it would be expensive due to the fact that I didn’t have insurance, but that seemed a lot of money for such a simple pair of curved lens on a pair of metallic frames. As I reluctantly handed over the cash my mind quickly went over all the things that I could be spending my money on instead; a new Xbox 360, food for more than a month, and countless other things. I took my new glasses from the guy at the cashier whom I didn’t recognize, and bitterly noted that he in contrast did not wear glasses. Walking out of the Wal-Mart on 36th street that day with my glasses in hand, I knew that my life was going to be different, but not in the way that I had expected.
The next day is when it happened, that my view of many things changed. As I methodically walked from the science building toward the library I suddenly stopped, for what I saw outside was one of the most beautiful sights that I had ever seen. Of course I had seen the many trees, the snow, and the small creek that passed along this spot many times, but I had never seen them before with my “new eyes”. Every definition of the leafless trees stood out to me. I could see the curvature and beauty of every branch and twig as they seemed to jump out at me. I had never realized that such clarity and sharpness could exist. The colors were so much more vivid than I had every remembered them being, the way that the browns of the trees, and the greens of the bushes were contrasted by the whiteness of the snow amazed me. As the sun glistened upon the snow, I opened my eyes as wide as they would go, determined to remember every detail of the indescribable beauty. I have thought to myself since, what made this moment so unique? Were the trees, snow, and creek any different than they were the day before? No, they hadn’t changed; it was me who had changed. My new glasses changed the way that I viewed them. They changed my view of the world.
Since this past experience I have come to believe in the statement that, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Anyone or anything can be beautiful; it is just in the way that we choose to see them. When we choose to, put on our glasses if you will, and really see the people and things around us we will discover a beauty that previously may have eluded us. There are many around us whom we may stereotype and categorized them based only upon the clothes they are wear, or the type of car that they drive; but, as we come to open our eyes wider we will see that they are more than just a pair of Calvin Kline Jeans or an old blue Chevy pickup, we will see that they are people, and that each person is of worth and is beautiful.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.