Windows

Maybe it’s the need for cataract surgery that has me thinking about windows although, truth be told, I just really like windows. Who doesn’t? As we age our lens become like dirty windows, as if our glasses are always smeared. But no cleaning will do it. The lens have to be replaced, thus surgery. I’m so looking forward to being able to see clearly again.

But, yes, I do like windows. The first thing I like to do when we enter a hotel room is to pull back the drapes and see what’s outside. It could be a beautiful garden, distant mountain slopes, a sandy beach with surf rolling in. Or it might be a view of the interstate or another building not far away. Whatever the sights, almost always there’s a view of sky, blue and bright, gray and threatening, or suffused with sunset color. The view outside the window is almost as important as the comfort of the bed.

For some the view from a window may be all they have. As a youth I read a book titled Eight Panes of Glass. An invalid lady told the stories of people in her community as she viewed their comings and goings through her eight panes of glass. The lady was confined. But she had a window.

In the first prairie houses, the soddies, there often were no windows. Through the dark cold winter months it had to be so dreary inside those little houses. Families were protected from the wind and warmed as they made quilts by candlelight. But–no windows?

At Stone Gables washing windows was a pretty big deal. Every spring and whenever there was to be a wedding, Mamma set us to work washing windows. It was a real challenge to wash the outsides of upstairs windows. I remember clinging to the stone wall while standing in a swivel window trying to reach every pane. But I enjoyed cleaning the hundreds of small lead-framed panes so the beautiful outside world could come into focus.

Sometimes no amount of elbow grease and glass cleaner results in a clear, bright window. Whether using greatly acclaimed new cleaners or old-fashioned ones, like vinegar applied with newspaper, the finished job can be very disappointing. Our kitchen window needs washing often, on the outside and in. It can seem so clear after a good cleaning, almost as if it weren’t even there. Then the sun shines in and suddenly I can see smears and smudges on every pane.

Aside from real, physical windows, God gives us windows into the world through the written word and other media. What we see outside our windows can be affected by our mood, whether expectant or bored, thankful or stagnant. We might see a whole story develop like the author of Eight Panes of Glass or we might see a lovely little wren clinging to a tree branch.

When our own windows, our eyes, even the eyes to our souls, become smeared with worry and fear, God’s sunshine will show us we need a window washing, more than just cataract surgery. Prayer, scripture, interaction with other Christians, a lot of singing–all these can contribute to a good dramatic polishing of our “windows.”

Yes, I’m looking forward to seeing better after cataract surgery. I also have the very real hope that in heaven I will have perfectly clear sight. Our vision will be so good then and we will be amazed at the wonderful sights before us.

For we now see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known. I Corinthians 13:12

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