A strange thing happened on my way to cleanliness in the shower. I scratched my cornea. How the damage occurred and which wash cloth and/or bathing product is to blame is a mystery. All I know is that one minute I was basking in the heat of the shower's strongest water pressure and a moment later I was cringing from an unrelenting stabbing pain torturing my left eye.
Houston, we have a problem.
Immediately I knew something was terribly wrong. This wasn't a simple soap-sud intrusion. This pain was fierce. Out of the shower and staring in the mirror I searched my bloodshot eye for any signs of debris but came up with nothing. I tried dropping solution in my eye and winking with the enthusiasm of a flirtatious teenage girl. Nothing seemed to help.
Three hours later and the pain was still causing me grief so I decided to take drastic measures.
I called the eye doctor.
Typically I'm not one to run to the doctor or call on a Saturday and beg for an appointment but the acute attack on my delicate orb had me worried. Thankfully one patient had just canceled. Could I be there in an hour? I could have been there in five minutes.
An hour later I was sitting in the big chair and dark room of the doctor's office. She flooded my left eye with all sorts of drops. One to numb, one to flush, one to illuminate. The fluids stung and made me flinch but the doctor never let a drop miss my eyeball target.
A few minutes and "hmms.." later the kind doctor slid away from her phoropter machine with a conclusive look on her face. On a pad of paper she drew a picture of an eyeball with a cornea in the center. Then she drew little lines all over the cornea and on the edges of the eyeball. "See those lines?" she asked. "Those are abrasions. You have them all over your cornea."
The doctor went on to confirm that the many little lines on her drawing were indeed the cause of my pain. That was the bad news. The good news was that the cornea is a quick healer. So off I went with a temporarily numbed eye and a prescription for eye drops to see me through the pain of recovery.
Ever since the scratched cornea proclamation I've been racking my brain, recalling my pre-pain experience in the shower. I've been going through the lathering and rinsing in my mind, asking myself, "When did it happen?...How did it happen?" And I keep coming up with question marks. I don't have a clue yet the evidence is there. The scratches are visible and the pain is undeniable. There was a precise moment in time when the incident took place and the damage occurred but I can't explain the how of it all.
Sometime during my brain-racking a little song began to play in my mind. You'll probably remember it from the grade school playground. "This is the song that never ends...and it goes on and on my friend." I remember being so annoyed by that song as a child. Kids would sing it over and over again and if you told them to stop they'd just increase their volume and turn the refrain on repeat a few extra times. But today when the song came to mind it didn't annoy me. It made me laugh because, for the first time in seven years, I saw my life in that song. The irony of my health condition is that song come to life. This condition and the saga of my symptoms go on and on, my friend. Somehow it started, I'll never know how and I've often wondered what it was. But the saga has continued being belted out forever just because...
Just because God has allowed it. Just because God has a purpose for it. Just because God intends to take every symptom, struggle, sage and scratched cornea to strengthen my faith. This ongoing refrain that God has allowed to play on repeat in my life has baffled me from the start. For years I have been as confused by the multitude of symptoms plaguing my body as I have been about the scratches on my cornea.
And yet the song plays on. God has taken the little sing-along ditty of my youth that drove me bonkers and used it to drive me to the foot of Christ's cross. I don't know if this song will end or when but I know Who is writing it and as long as He keeps playing this refrain, I'll keep singing along.