Hubby and I picked up new glasses the other day. It had been two years. During the recession, we didn’t feel we could afford them, but we couldn’t put it off any longer.
I found myself struggling to read the small type in my daily readers in the morning. Working on building our house up at the land had also taken its toll. There was a spot on my left lens that would not come clean. I wiped and wiped but it would not go, and without my glasses on I couldn’t even see what it was.
So once I got through the December deadlines that kept me so busy, Hubby and I decided it was time to take care of the things we had been neglecting. New glasses were at the top of the list.
The salesman at Eyemasters hooted when he looked at my lenses.
“You’ve had some fun in these!” he said.
Yes, I admitted, I had.
When our glasses came in, we went in to have them fitted. The instant the salesman put them on my face, it was like a veil had lifted. I could see! Everything looked crisp and sharp. I marveled over it all evening. Hubby and I went down to the dock to watch the sunset. I felt like I was seeing everything—t he lake, the birds, my husband—for the first time.
With my new glasses on, I looked at my old lenses. They looked cloudy. There were nicks and scratches. On one corner, a film had started to separate from the glass.
My prescription had changed significantly, but looking at the condition of my lenses, I thought, “No wonder I couldn’t see!”
I won’t be the first to say that joining Al-Anon was like getting a new pair of glasses. Through the lens of Al-Anon, I could see things I simply had not been able to see before. Through the lens of Al-Anon, I understood for the first time how significantly my vision had been distorted.
But my new glasses remind me that I also need to check my Al-Anon lenses from time to time. They, too, get old, scratched and cloudy. I need regular check ups.
In my line of sponsorship that takes the form of an annual inventory.
The idea is not universally accepted, of course. There are those who believe that once you’ve worked the steps, regularly practicing steps 10, 11 and 12 is enough. And I’m not saying they are wrong.
But it doesn’t work for me. I need to take a closer look from time to time, and a second set of eyes from my sponsor.
My second fourth step did, indeed, yield fresh insights. It wasn’t as dramatic as when I got my first pair of glasses. More like a prescription adjustment, where everything felt crisper. Something I’d noted on my first fourth step finally made sense. More was revealed.
“You can’t pass a test you haven’t taken,” I heard someone say recently. My inventory is like an annual eye exam. I can measure my changes and adjust my “prescription.” I can see everything come into a little sharper focus.