The Man With X-Ray Eyes!

luis

My eyes! My eyyyyyyes!

This is a little blog about prayer and small miracles. Many readers--and rightly so--don't give a damn about miracles. I recommend you go to one of my other postings about nature or writing or my neighborhood wild turkeys. (Those big fat suckers have taken to sleeping on people's porches now--you look up and see them squatting at front doors as if they're out distributing Jehovah's Wintess magazines.) But you Hummingbird's Daughter fans will appreciate this small tale as a further example of Teresita's (and Huila's) attempts to make us see the sacred in the daily mud and muddle.

I have bad eyes. Bad. When I did the missionary-type work written about in Across the Wire and By the Lake of Sleeping Children, I wore old, almost preshistoric, hard contacts. I got 'em when I was a college student, and the U system helped me through the health center. But they were way out of date, and I was too poor to replace them or get new glasses. They were non-permeable, too. So they were like bad shoes on tender feet. And we'd be out on the road for long hours--so long I'd wear the lenses 22 hours on some days. My eyes were killing me. Or I was killing my eyes. As soon as I could, I'd pop the lenses out, and my eyes were so sore I'd rub them like a fiend. Eye surgeons all over America are saying NO! right about now. Well, that dire combination deformed my corneas and made them wobbly and unstable. I found out later, when I escaped to Harvard in '82.

Years later I got the sugar! The Type 2, like every other Mexican in the world. My eyes started to bleed inside, and the retina swelled up (or swoll up as my cowpoke pals out West say). My vision went way out of whack, and I had to go in for ghastly eye tortures and laser cauterizations and have been pretty sure for the last five years that I am going blind. Or at least facing eyeball surgery.

Now, if you know my writing at all, you know how ironic it is that a writer so obsessed with seeing (the act of looking, watching, paying attention is one of the central pillars of my writing/theology--right after TRUST), that eye-writer is losing his sight. You might have noticed in my 2,187 appearances over the last couple of tours that I sometimes have trouble seeing the page to read to you. That's why.

You have already figured out, knowing me, that this li'l story is also about Trust. Ahem.

So I was confessing to Mike Poage, my pastor-poet-pal down there in Wichita, that I was revving up for a return to the eye clinic, certain that my eyes have rotted further, afraid they might be bleeding again. Dreading the cornea operations I have been told I'll need to see again. I prayed, as we all do--(insert wheedling and panicky voice here) God, I need your help!

I have to explain to you that this is in direct violation of my new rules for prayer. You see, I was one of those Spiritual Giants who collapsed and begged for all kinds of crap--when I was in trouble, need, a bad mood, in greed, in lust, wanted to get a job, get a book published. Thinking about it makes me sick. I was like those idiots praying for a Superbowl win in the name of Jay-sus!!! Amen and amen-ah!!!! No, no, no--my own soul was telling me this had nothing to do with Trust. How can you be a heroic wayfarer in this world begging for a constant bail-out? This is not the medicine-way, certainly.

So I had to teach myself this Trust bidness, starting with God. First, of course, you have to trust that there is a God. I aint preachin at ya, my homies. I'm just saying, you have to trust that part first. Then you have to trust that God (or Goddess--I'm not excluding my Wiccan friends here) is not only listening, but interactive. You get the picture. So I start to trust God, abandoning all my requests and whining and simply Showing Up for Duty. Yes, I prayed the deadly Thy Will Be Done prayers. And that's it. Flinching. Sure God was going to lay the smack-down on me like a WWE heavyweight at Wrestlemania.

What happened? Well, I started this new process of Trust right before The Devil's Highway came out. You can chart the results right here for yourself.

Again: no preaching. This is a story, not a sermon. This is what happened to me.

So I confessed to Poage and felt foolish because I had said I Need Your Help in my prayer. Even though I knew, almost as if from outside myself, that I did not need anything at all. What was happening was that I wanted help. But how can you say, God--I want it, and I want it now!

If you're a parent, you know how your six year old "needs" an Easy Bake Oven as badly as anything has ever been needed by mankind. Get me a Barbie Fairytopia, stat! But I had to be honest and say to God (the universe? the cosmos? Spirit? myself? I'm open to interpretations), I want help. Take it or leave it, help me if You see fit.

Guess what. Eyes are better. In fact, eyes got better by themselves. Eyes better enough, in fact, that I will get a fresh perscription today and be seeing almost perfectly. Imagine me almost falling out of the chair when, after all the tests, the eye surgeon told me: "Your eyesight is pretty good, actually." You mean, you mean, I'm not going blind all of a sudden? You mean I ONLY NEED NEW GLASSES? I can probably get inmto new contacts soon and have even better vision. No surgery. The bleeding has not come back. The retinal swelling has vanished. The wobbly corneas are calm.

I can see, I can see, I can see.

You better believe I don't care if gasoline will be $3 a gallon this summer, I am DRIVING MY ASS OFF so I can look at everything! I am going to gobble America through my eyes! I am going to suck up the aspens and the trucks, the coyotes and the cedars, the snow pack, the geysers, the freeways, the Stuckeys, Devil's Tower, marmots, elk, cement dinosaurs, Wall Drug, little tiny creeks, crows, buffalos.

I'll be looking for you. In Trust.

Trust is the homeground of Joy.
Joy is the gateway of Grace.
Grace is the vector of Awe.
Awe's harvest is miracles.
Dig it, Jack--I never lie to you.

Mr. X

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Book club members have been some of my most enthusiastic and careful readers. I’m thrilled to share my work with you, answer your questions and tell you some of the stories behind the stories. This is our spot, just for us. Here, we can chat:  If I’m nearby, I’ll come and visit your club. Otherwise, we can Skype, talk over the phone or email. Sometimes, I’ll send surprises or hold contests.

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