I have been on several heavy-duty medications for several years now. Normal people who have the surgeries I have had do not need the medications after the surgery. The new lens, or the shunt, or the tube fixes the problem. By now you know that nothing is normal with me. For me the surgery just makes the medicine work again after it has stopped—for awhile anyway. Not even the new devices can keep up with the problem on their own.
Eyeballs are fragile organs. The sclera, or skin of the eyeball, protects the inner workings, but when the sclera is compromised due to chemicals, even those especially designed for a human eyeball, things become difficult. My sclera is drying up. I use saline drops copiously to fight this, but it is not enough. At night especially, when I am asleep and cannot pour in those drops on a regular schedule, the dry factor is multiplied. Eventually the eyelid sticks to my eyeball.
The first time this happened and I tried to move my eye in my sleep (all that REM sleep, you know) the pain woke me. Then I could not get my eye open. Not realizing the problem, I just yanked it open. If you can imagine what it would feel like to have Velcro eyelids, that’s what it was like. It just “ripped” open. I thought I even heard the rip, but it might have been me screaming, “Yeow!”
What happened? The doctor said I ripped off the surface cells of the eyeball. I have learned to wake up completely, put saline in the corner and turn my head so the drops seep under the eyelid and loosen it before trying to open my eyes in the middle of the night. This happens every couple of hours. As you can imagine, a good night’s sleep is no longer possible.
And they say that this little method of mine is not enough. That just the eyelid rubbing on the surface of this chemically dried out eyeball is causing ocular erosion—or erosion of the eyeball, you might say. What to do? Nothing. I need the medication and I my eyeball needs its eyelid. If either were missing, worse things would happen.
God designed his church that way. We are supposed to need one another. We are supposed to have such a close relationship that if we were ripped apart the pain would be unbearable. You know why discipline doesn’t work? Because we wait till the sinner has moved so far from us he doesn’t even notice the separation we make, much less hurt enough to yell, “Ow!”
Paul told the Corinthians that the next time they were together they were supposed to withdraw from the adulterous sinner. He didn’t say, “Wait till everyone has had a chance to go see him.” You won’t find that command anywhere in the New Testament. The reason we think it’s there is because we misapply that discipline. It is supposed to be medicine for the sick. We wait so long it becomes burial for the dead, and then of course we want everyone to go see the person—we wouldn’t want to bury him alive by mistake. If you were sick and about to die, would you want everyone to have a chance to come see you and tell you to take the medicine before anyone actually brought it to you?!
Then there is the problem of “privacy.” No one wants to be as close to his brethren as those first century Christians were because, “It’s none of your business. It’s my life, not yours.” We need to get over that. If we were as close as we should be, as close as an eyelid to an eyeball, we would know when people need help before it’s too late. We would be taking care of one another’s needs. With extended family living arrangements a thing of the past in our mobile society, it is especially important. More marriages would be saved if we all knew when the problems started, not when they reached the point they could no longer be hidden. Every sin works that way.
Even physical needs are to be met by our brethren when there is no family around to do it. I don’t know what we would have done without our church family carting me back and forth to doctor appointments, as many as five a week, picking up medications, bringing us meals and cleaning our house after all these procedures. Keith couldn’t take that much time off work, and we had no one else nearby. I learned to stifle my pride and accept help, to be willing to tell people what I needed when they asked, and I learned that God’s plan works when we let it.
We are supposed to be close to one another. We are supposed to help one another. We are supposed to know each other’s needs, even those private ones we don’t want others to know about. It is supposed to hurt when we are ripped apart, not only from God, but from each other. That’s why we stay close, why we don’t leave, why we ask for help when we need it and take help, and advice, when it is offered.
Let God’s wisdom work for you today.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers…And all that believed were together and had all things common, and they sold their possessions and goods and parted them to all, according as any man had need. And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, Acts 2:42,44-46.