April 08, 2011 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner
"I Can See Clearly Now"This past week I’ve been walking around singing the 1972 hit by Johnny Nash called, “I Can See Clearly Now.” “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way........” The occasion for this song being in my head is that I had cataract surgery on my right eye last Friday. I had no idea how cloudy my vision had become over the last several years, but I certainly know now. I can see so clearly now, because not only has the cataract been removed, but a new lens was inserted into my eye that corrects the near-sighted vision problem I’ve had for over twenty years. I am fifty-five years old and so am rather young to have needed cataract surgery. I injured my right eye ten years ago and learned that the injury is what triggered the premature growth of the cataract. My left eye, which has not been injured, does not have a cataract problem at all. So it turns out that the effects of an injury in one’s life can lead to cloudy vision years later, and here I’m not just thinking about a physical injury. An emotional or relational injury that happened years ago, can also cause us to not be able to see current relationships very clearly. I remember holding a grudge against someone I knew professionally for many years after I had felt hurt by this person. It was only after I had discovered that every one else who knew this person saw him in a very positive light that I realized that I was seeing him only through the lens of my unresolved hurt. I eventually found a way to let go of my anger and reconcile with this person and things have been great between us ever since. In my work as both a pastor and a therapist, I have conversations on a regular basis with people who have been hurt by organized religion. Their experience is real and it has usually clouded their vision, making it difficult for them to see the possibility that there can be anything positive in organized religion. Often, if given a safe place to have their hurt and anger honored and heard, they find themselves open again to the possibility of finding their way back to a new faith community. In some ways, having a cataract removed is much easier than having the effects of an emotional or relational injury removed. To have a cataract removed one simply needs to decide it is time to have it removed and then find a good surgeon to remove it. And if you are as fortunate as I was, clear vision comes immediately. Clearing up the effects of an emotional or relational injury requires a lot more effort on our part, and usually al lot more time. First we need to acknowledge that in fact there has been an injury and that the injury is clouding our ability to see things clearly today. Next, we need to be honest about whether in fact we really do want to clear up the hurt. Next, we have to be willing to talk out and work through the feelings of anger, hurt or sadness. Sometimes we will talk things through with the person that has hurt us, and sometimes that may not be possible, or even safe to do. It always wise to find a guide that can help us as we work through the feelings and the decisions we need to make as we work to heal the hurt. So, in closing, let me ask, how clear is your vision these days? If you find that is a bit blurry, are you aware of any past injuries that might account for what you are experiencing today. If so, there’s no time like today to begin the process of healing. And who know, someday soon you might just find yourself singing, “I can see clearly now......”
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