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Essays by Karen Anderson: Coming Into Focus

Illustration by Kacie Brown

I make an appointment with my optometrist, thinking I might need a new prescription for my glasses. I can still read but maybe not quite as easily. The changes are so gradual, I hardly notice.

Then, when he moves his big machine in front of my eyes and turns the knobs, the changes are obvious. Suddenly, the chart across the room comes into focus and I can even read the bottom line:

Ah, such clarity! I didn’t know what I was missing and now I do. “Yes,” the doctor says. “I think a new prescription will be helpful.” And as I sit there watching him write down the revisions, I wish there was such a correction for my mind, for my heart! They sometimes get blurry, too, without my noticing.

I need a big machine with knobs I can turn that can erase the distortions, falsehoods, prejudice, ignorance that get in my way. Suddenly, the world around me will come into focus and I will know what to think, how to feel.

I will have clarity at last, a lens through which I can see the chart of my life and make corrections.

That’s the bottom line.

Karen Anderson contributes "Essays by Karen Anderson" to Interlochen Public Radio.