Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's not always what it looks like

Remember the “Magic Eye” posters from a few years back?  It appeared to just be a mass of multi-colored dots, but after you stared (and stared, and stared) at it without blinking, another image would appear, hidden in the dots.  The first time I saw one of these, the people around me, one by one, were  calling out, “I see it!” while I kept staring, wondering what they could possibly be seeing except a mass of dots?  I wanted to give up, but eventually the secondary image came into view.
For a long time, I’ve had a theory about what we see.  There is no way to know that what I see and call “blue” is the same thing that you see and call “blue.”  What you call “blue” might be what I call “yellow.”   Now any scientists among you might disagree and start explaining colors in terms of light waves, etc., but I’m ignoring them.
When Cameron was in second grade, he drew a picture of our house.  Now you should know that our house was painted what I call “khaki tan.”  When he brought the picture home, being the kind, encouraging, and affirmative parent that I am, I looked at it and immediately asked, “Why did you color our house PINK?”  His answer?  “Because I didn’t have a gray crayon.”  Hmm.
Very soon after that, I made an appointment for him with the eye doctor, who confirmed that Cameron is color-blind.  [I remember (again, in one of my finer parenting moments), fussing at him before we left home for the appointment because his shirt and pants didn’t go together----nice, huh?]  The doctor was much more compassionate, and had a long chat with Cameron about being aware of his limitations, what to think about when he was choosing careers, etc.----he probably shouldn’t be an electrician (Is this the red wire? Or the green?)   Firemen have to pay close attention to dials and lights----a mistake could be critical.  And the eye doctor tried to explain to me that red/green color-blindness doesn’t just mean it affects red and green, but any color that contains red or green, so purple, olive, pink, maroon, mauve, teal----Cameron sees them all differently than I do.
I’ll never forget the day he described something as being “green like peanut butter.”  (I wasn’t sure I’d ever eat peanut butter again.)
We learned rather quickly that it was important to let teachers know about his ‘disability’----In History class, “Name the capital of the country marked in red” could present a real problem.   In Algebra, it was “which line has the steeper slope, the pink or the brown?”  In Chemistry, “how much time elapsed before the concentration changed from red to green?”  (He had to choose lab partners carefully!) 
His high school's colors were green and purple----he joked that he could wear all the same spirit clothes to college, since UR’s red and blue looked the same to him as the green and purple.
God gave Cameron a GREAT sense of humor, and he is able to laugh at his ‘mistakes.’  As he got older, he would conveniently forget to remind the nurse at the pediatrician’s office that he was colorblind, just so he could enjoy her reaction as he ‘failed’ that part of his physical.  He gets a kick out of the response when people hear he’s colorblind.  He says the first question friends always ask is, “How can you drive?  You can’t see the traffic lights?!?!?!”   But even when he was first diagnosed as being color-blind, the eye doctor noted that he was already compensating, because as a 7-year-old he knew that the green light was the one on the bottom. (I can’t even tell you that without really thinking about it.)
Recently Cameron found information on the web describing new glasses for color-blind people that enhance colors so that they can be differentiated.  One downside is that you have to ‘relearn’ your colors, and rely on someone else to tell you “that is red, that is blue, that is green”.  As we joked about who in the family he’d trust with that task, he said, “I'm not sure if that or the $700 price tag is the bigger drawback!  It would be fun to try out once, but I think it’s more fun to just live without.”  Yes, his choice of words was FUN.  He’s learned that being different is OK.
Experiencing sight thru Cameron’s eyes has taught me several things----what I think I see isn’t necessarily the same as what you see, it’s fine to ask for help, and we’ve all got “issues.”  And that’s OK!  Maybe sometimes I need to try to see things thru your eyes to gain your perspective, because what you call blue, I call yellow!  And maybe sometimes you need to see things through my eyes.  I don’t ask you to do things a certain way JUST to make your life difficult, and I’m guessing you aren’t trying to make mine difficult, either.  We can work together, we can laugh together, and we can all grow together.  So what if my yellow and your yellow aren’t exactly the same?  As long as we’re both calling them ‘yellow’, does it really matter?
2 Corinthians 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

No comments:

Post a Comment