The strangest thing in my apartment is sitting in water in a clear film canister in my medicine cabinet. I open the small cabinet door to find a plastic prosthetic eye. The green and gold specks around the pupil replicate my good eye.
Five years and one month after injuring my eye at a concert, I had my second prosthesis made. As my husband and I drove to Baptist Hospital, I fretted over how I would bring home my old prosthesis, perhaps dropped in a zip-lock bag or wrapped in a hypoallergenic tissue, maybe even placed in a pewter box with lavender velvet lining.
During my appointment, Dr. Thomas inserted the old prosthesis into a miniature plastic baggy. I placed it in my purse and wondered how airport security would respond to that? Upon leaving, I stared at the mirrored ceiling of the elevator, proud of the artwork of my new eye, the raised eyelid, the close-as-can-be color, but I agonized about the slightly oversized pupil.
I felt almost irreverent for putting my first prosthesis with the menagerie of junk in my purse; just imagine a $1,900 plastic eye nestled among Burt’s Beeswax Lip Balm, cheap hotel pens and a Palm Pilot. This thing did give me a face after all. It did allow me to discard the metal cage patch and gluey surgical tape and face my husband on our wedding day.
After seven hours of fitting, sculpting, waxing, painting and firing, I sat down on my couch still smelling monomer from the clinic. I breathed deeply, cried, watched Seinfeld, ate Zucchini bread, cried, walked my dog and went to the medicine cabinet.
This creamy white piece of plastic is much like the one in my face, with its tiny threads of red yarn for veins, its smooth concave back for covering the soft, pink, empty socket. It is a gift.
Not one given by a band at a festival that effortlessly threw free CDs into the crowd, or by doctors who helped for thousands of dollars, but by a God who deals in details. I’m not bitter with the band or procedural costs (okay, still a little flabbergasted about that). I’m just grateful that the God who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son also gave a girl in Little Rock, Ark., a prosthesis, a second chance, literally a new face to put forward.
The dumbest question I’ve ever received about the whole ordeal is, “Did you get to keep the CD?” I graciously smiled when I answered by saying, “No,” and tried not to reveal the scene in my head where I pulled out a cartoon-like hammer and repeatedly knocked him on the head until he was smaller and smaller.
But I also heard questions like: “How can you forgive the band?” “Why would God let something like this happen to you?” “Aren’t you ticked off about the whole thing?”
To answer these, I recall 1997, when in one month my parents divorced; I moved out of the only home I had ever known; I was losing my mind and body to an eating disorder and the daily dose of Zoloft was not helping; I was trying to break up with my overly tattooed, overly sensitive boyfriend; and I went on vacation and came home with only one working eye, the other pieced together with 42 stitches. When life gets absolutely funky, as mine did in 1997, one can only move in two directions, either away from God or toward Him.
It’s safe to say that if you live enough days on this earth, you will encounter some form of hardship; it’s part of living in a fallen world. But we are not left alone to deal with the brokenness. Enter the Worship Circle has this great line: I know all my broken places like the back of my hand—and I did.
I was so cracked and splintered that I had nothing remaining to sustain me except Christ. I couldn’t even attempt to handle everything on my own. And this wasn’t because I am such a spiritual, humble, fully submitted person. I was rendered useless, enervated to my core. God never granted my neurotic prayers to be raptured like Enoch, but He did answer my prayer to continue to breath deeply, to step with one foot at a time and to embrace a raw, sometimes shaky, but impassioned faith.
God’s grace is constant. His love is real. He’s given me a faith that allows for forgiveness and acknowledges the inscrutable humor of my plastic eye bobbing in water inside a film canister.
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