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A Bittersweet Symphony–That’s Life

A few minutes ago, I was brought back to peace by a song I heard on Pandora.  In my book, I mention several times when I heard a song at a low point in my life and it turned me around or even lifted me up.  Maybe I should make a playlist on my computer of all the Top 40/Pop/Rock songs that have inspired me or spoken to me in a meaningful way.

It’s been a tough week.  That’s why I’m a bit late in making a post.  On Monday, I had a much-anticipated appointment with an eye surgeon about a fairly new procedure that would implant a lens into my right eye, the one that was severely injured eighteen months ago.  At the initial exam a couple of weeks ago, an assistant held something in front of my eye and I could read the 20/100 line.

I know that doesn’t sound very good to most people, but that’s better than that eye has seen in almost twenty years.  My hopes soared, in spite of the little voice in my head warning me not to get my expectations too high.

The surgeon had serious doubts that the procedure would help and that there was a high risk of it failing bad enough to lose all the sight in that eye.  He looked into my eye and described the damage that occurred in 2003, when my vision got much worse.  It reminded me, once again, of how much easier my life had been before then, even with 20/200 vision.  It was easy to walk around, recognize faces, read, and so much more.  Most people couldn’t tell just by observing me that I had any vision problem at all.

Since 2003, I have to struggle on a daily basis.  Now and then, the struggle just gets to be too much.  I let my mind travel to dark places, like despair.  As much as I have to deal with, I give myself permission to go there when the circumstances lead me there.  But it’s a temporary visa, with a very short expiration date.  “You don’t have to go home (the status quo) but you can’t stay here.”

The doctor wants me to try a pair of glasses that will help my vision.  I have mixed feeling about this.  Until I was about fourteen, I wore Coke bottle thick glasses due to being severely nearsighted.  Without correction, my vision was much worse than what I have now.  But, kids can be cruel, and they were.  I was relieved to finally get contacts and the ugly duckling story became a part of my biography.

The glasses I’m going to get won’t be nearly as thick as those monstrosities I wore in the 1970s.  And they’ll be tinted.  When I used the lenses in the doctor’s office, I could see faces at more of a distance.  That alone is reason enough to try them.

My spirits have gradually refilled with helium this week, slowly rising, defying the heavy gravity weighing them down earlier.

And today, I heard a song from the late 90s.  I liked it well enough at the time it was a hit, but didn’t pay particular attention to it.  In 2000, I caught the movie Cruel Intentions on HBO.  It’s basically the same plot as Dangerous Liaisons but set in a modern-day New York prep school.

Spoiler alert: At the end of the movie, the good character, who was the intended victim of two mean characters, is triumphant.  Not only is she unscathed, but happy, and best of all—at peace.  In the final scene she’s driving away, suggesting she’s leaving all the pain behind her.  The song Bittersweet Symphony is playing.  Since then, whenever I hear it, it makes me think of good overcoming evil, or the peace that comes after overcoming anything bad.  I hope you listen to it and remember it when you’re on your way to recovering from one of life’s tough spots.

I haven’t given up on the notion of some medical procedure improving my vision one day.  That day just hasn’t arrived–yet.  But I have faith that it will happen.  Something good will happen and I’ll triumph over the loss.  Until then, I can still be at peace.

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