Sharp Shooting

The sweetest blue eyes I’d ever seen were in the face of my newborn firstborn.

Those precious little eyes somehow recognized mine and when the dark blue lightened to the shade of the sky over the next days…

…it was like they’d forever been a part of my life.

The eyes of my firstborn.

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I could sink into the coolness of their blue and they’ve seen three siblings added to our family.

I look at those eyes sometimes and wonder how they’ll look one day when he weds the one who’ll become part of him.

They’ve sparkled with the stars as they’ve seen animals born.

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They’ve leaked pure tears of sorrow when they’ve seen animals die.

They’ve seen his mama be angry and happy and cry and they’ve seen years of his Daddy being a strong and good man.

They’ve seen countless words on countless pages and though they fought the learning, they soon learned to devour ink on the page and every day they bring other worlds and big ideas and solid truths to the mind of my boy.

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If there’s a shiny trout swirling beneath the hole in the ice, the eyes of my firstborn will lock onto the iridescence and won’t leave the murky depths until he’s got the fish on the end of the line.

The blue eyes will take in the colors God made and they’ll watch the fish swim off in a rainbow flash after gently being released.

His eyes detect the jump of a salmon across a wide and roaring rocky river.

His eyes tell him whether a fish is hooked in the mouth or snagged in the body before it even breaks the surface of the water at the end of his line.

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His eyes can spot a spruce hen in a treetop before anyone else has even seen the tree.

His eyes have a knack for bringing the target close and a bulls eye stopped surprising me a long time ago.

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It doesn’t surprise me when he delights in bringing home food to provide for his family and he was young when his eyes, and his hands, saw that a man of the family will do just that.

I wouldn’t think he’d do anything different than what he does with his little animals…teach others the goodness God gives when he gives us critters, and my boy’s eyes have a knack for seeing just who needs to know that the most.

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What did surprise me though, was yesterday after his routine eye exam, we learned that my firstborn is visually impaired.

As in, he has no vision except for peripheral in one of those big blue eyes of his.

Mechanically, his eye works fine. Visually, that eye just doesn’t see.

All this time…

He can only see out of one eye.

All this time…

He’s been sharpshooting with one eye.

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We went on with our day, just another blurb in the blurbs of life and our morning went into afternoon and our errands split us all up before coming back together and we didn’t get much of a chance to talk about this thing that will be with my boy now until he leaves this earth.

But stretched out over the afternoon busy, I’d think on it here and there.

A fishing hook in his good eye could render him completely blind.

A fragment from a misfire could take his left-eye dominance and end any shooting for the rest of his life.

His driver’s license will always say RESTRICTION.

He will always turn his head a certain way to take the whole sight in.

He may not be able to serve in the military.

He’ll never be able to be a pilot.

But aren’t those eyes still the sweetest blue and how many eyes do we need to see goodness?

How well do we need to see to see love?

If both of my arms didn’t work, could I still hug?

If I was missing a leg, would the steps I take still matter?

His blind spots on the freeway might be a little bigger than normal-sighted drivers and his normally-cautious self will have to be even more cautious now and he’ll always have to protect his eyes, but more than the blue seeing the green of the world around him, I want the eyes of his heart to always see the LORD and to see the good and to see the love…

and for those things I pray he’ll never be visually impaired.

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I pray my vision will never be so restricted that I don’t teach him to see you and to see love and may we all always have a heart to see.

The news from his morning appointment could have been terrible.

We’ve stood up under cancer and we’ve said goodbye to loved ones and there are mothers right here on this planet, right now, today, who’ve had to turn loose of their babies’ hands and somehow go on and let their heart keep beating even while it’s being ripped clean out of their chest in agony.

Today’s news wasn’t bad.

It’ll just change how we see some things.

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My boy will be fine.

And last night as my husband tells me how our child, this firstborn boy with big blue eyes, how he has such a great attitude about it. He told me how, before dinner, they set up the new bow our boy got for Christmas and they put a target out on a bale of hay in the front yard so they could play with the new toy and do some sighting-in.

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Our boy was casual about the whole affair.

He’ll just wear his glasses, he said.

He’ll make sure to be mindful of where his fish hooks are.

And he took up his bow and he loaded an arrow…

It’s no big deal Dad, he said.

I can still see fine.

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He brought the target into his line of vision…

…and he shot a bulls eye.

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 Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.   Psalm 77:19

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