What Am I Grateful for Today? – Sight

27 As Jesus departed, two blind men followed him, crying out, “Show us mercy, Son of David.”

28 When he came into the house, the blind men approached him. Jesus said to them, “Do you believe I can do this?”

“Yes, Lord,” they replied.

29 Then Jesus touched their eyes and said, “It will happen for you just as you have believed.” 30 Their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly warned them, “Make sure nobody knows about this.” 31 But they went out and spread the word about him throughout that whole region (Matthew 9:27-31, Common English Bible).

I cannot say I have any understanding of what it is like to be blind. I do not. I have never been blind. I pray I never experience blindness.

Yesterday I went to see my ophthalmologist. It was not an annual visit. I am experiencing a condition in my right eye called “vitreous detachment.” It sounds really impressive but it is actually part of the aging process. I experienced the same condition in my left eye about three years ago.

When I had the condition in my left eye, it tore the retina and I had to have laser surgery on the eye to stabilize the tear. It is not an experience I look forward to repeating. Though everyone told me it was a nothing surgery, the idea of someone carving on my eye with a laser was unsettling. Also, it took about five days before my vision in that eye returned to normal. I couldn’t see with my left eye at all when I left after the surgery.

Now, because of what happened with my left eye, I am considered a high risk for retinal tears in my right eye.  This was my third trip for examinations on that eye during the month of October.

Still, while this experience might have given me some small amount of understanding, I still know little of what the blind experience. It was just enough to teach me I don’t want to experience total blindness. It also makes me grateful for my sight.

Today’s lesson is one of many stories in the Bible about the blind getting their sight back. Two men beg Jesus to heal them. He does so and gives them a warning not to tell anyone what they experienced. In spite of the instructions, they immediately went out and did the very thing Jesus told them not to do. It is pretty obvious they didn’t follow instructions very well.

If I am honest with myself, I don’t think I would. And, I am going to go out on a bit of a limb here. I doubt you would do so well either. They went out and celebrated their newfound vision.

Further, people who knew them and knew they were blind would ask them how they got their sight back. They were so happy there is no way they were going to lie.

Blindness is not the end of the world. Many blind people have gone on to do great things for themselves and for the world. Still, I cannot imagine how difficult such a life would be. It makes me grateful for my sight and for those who can help me maintain it.

I want to give you the same challenge I am giving my congregation. Through the month of November keep a journal. You can do it electronically if you would like. If you would rather paper, you can use a spiral notebook or a composition book. That is my personal favorite for paper writing. You can also use something more expensive if you would like. The point is, write down (or type, I am doing this on my blog). Then find someone to tell about that thing for which you are grateful today. The journal will give you an easy way during difficult times to go back and see and know once again about God’s mighty presence. Sharing with someone else helps us tell our story. It helps others to do the same.

Sight is what I am grateful today. What about you. What are you grateful for today? Write it down. Share it with others.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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