A lazy eye incident reflects impact of words

A lazy eye incident reflects impact of words

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Lazy eye

No one can argue that an eye patch brings unwanted attention, but an incident involving a patch reminds me of the power of words.

Pushing my grocery cart with my five-year-old son, Isaac, sitting in the front, and my two older sons following behind, I perused the shelves looking for some obscure item. Isaac wore a blue patch over his right eye because he had a lazy eye we were correcting.

Lazy eye diagnosis

At his pre-kindergarten physical, we discovered he had this lazy eye. Looking back, I could see that he favored one eye, but I didn’t know anything was wrong. When he watched television with one side of his face resting on the back of the couch, I thought he relaxed that way. I didn’t know he couldn’t see right.

The ophthalmologist recommended patching many hours at first which meant that Isaac needed to wear his patch in public at times. I reassured him, but until that’s you with the patch, I guess you don’t get it. Not really.

Getting singled out

Since I failed to find the elusive item at the grocery store, we maneuvered down some of the aisles more than once. I peered at the shelves, maybe nodding acknowledgement at another mom we met. Her own young children examined the passersby and zeroed in on Isaac.

Concentrating, I must have missed something because when we met up with this family again, her little guy said, “Look at the pirate, Mama,” and my son lunged up in his seat ready to strangle the other kid. I grabbed Isaac so he wouldn’t fall and get hurt. The other mother apologized while I consoled my son, saying that the other boy didn’t understand and meant no harm.

I doubt he meant to inflict pain, but then some kids are spiteful just to get a reaction. This moment sticks in my memory because it reminds me that no matter our age, we don’t want to be seen as different from others. What people say to us makes an impact to lift us up or bring us down.

It also highlights the sensitivities that arise when we sense others see us in a way we see as unfavorable.

Everyone has a difference

Society isn’t kind to differences, so most people play down differences in exchange for acceptance, something everyone desires and needs. Our words play a significant role.

Somehow, we’ve been conditioned to think that being different is a bad thing, when it isn’t. God created each of us as special, unique individuals. Standing out rather than blending in is what we were created for. Just as they say there are no two snowflakes alike, there are no two people alike. This is a blessing not a curse.

Considering the feelings of others and posing questions or sharing comments in a positive light cause more favorable reactions.

Resolution of lazy eye

Before I conclude with the story, I want to share how the lazy eye situation resolved. Time passed. We spent a lot of time getting glasses adjusted for a busy, little boy. Because depth perception was a problem, my poor guy had some near catastrophic accidents like the time he moved too close to a swinging golf club to see a goose and almost got clobbered, but he learned his way around these situations. He has one near sighted eye and one far sighted eye. He uses both his eyes, though sometimes he does go without his glasses or contact lenses. For someone with my prescription, I don’t see how he can see without them, but he can.

Each of us have traits that set us apart. God knows why we have them and for what purpose. Perhaps Isaac’s lazy eye taught him patience with others and taught others to see that just because we might be able to see a patch or a crutch or a wheelchair—whatever—we all share more similarities than differences. We can look past the differences and find valuable friendships.

End of story

With a sigh, I found my item. Exasperated, I prepared to leave. Another shopper paused to say, “You’re doing a good job, Mom.”

I appreciated that because sometimes in the moment, you wonder. Sometimes you can see someone’s patch. Other times, you can’t.

One set of words brought anger. Another offered encouragement. One little trip to the grocery store illustrated the power of words.

Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. –Proverbs 15:4, NLT

Will you share your own story about the power of words?

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10 Replies to “A lazy eye incident reflects impact of words”

  1. Because I came to use assistive devices as an adult, I was more prepared to handle comments and curiosity, but, on more than one occasion I spoke to a clerk or teller and they addressed the person I was with instead of me when they answered as if being in a wheelchair made me stupid. Of course I quickly put a stop to that. Lol. I’m not the shy and retiring type. Like Isaac, I wanted to rip them to pieces. 😂

    1. Words definitely hurt. I relate as well as I was picked on when I was a child because I was super shy. Thank God for all the people who loved us through those painful journeys. Thanks for sharing, Melissa. God has used you to touch many lives.

  2. I was not in good health when I was a child. Therefore, I was painfully thin. I wore long-sleeved shirts to hide my skinny arms. When I was in grade school, the kids called me “Skinny Winny.” I ignored them, but it still hurt.

    1. Words definitely hurt, Donna. I’m sorry an adult (like the teacher) didn’t step in and address the problem. Years later, these memories can still cause pain and reactions in us. Know that you have lived a full life, loved by many. Such experiences make us all sensitive to the feelings of others. May we, in turn, be kind and love others and be the encouragers people need. Give your burdens to Jesus. He will give the desired peace. Thanks for sharing, Donna.

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