Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One Eye At A Time

I can’t recall its name and probably couldn’t pronounce it if I could. I was born with it, learned to live with it, and was close to thirty when an optometrist in Houston told me the name of the predicament. His only advice was that I shouldn’t take up flying. I wouldn’t have any difficulty taking off or staying in the air. The problem would occur in landing. Touching down would tend to be a little bumpy.

The predicament is that I don’t look through both eyes at the same time. It’s not something that’s obvious to people. As a child, however, I spent a lot of time with one eye closed, usually my right eye. Some folks thought I had a lazy eye. Kids in grade school made fun of me. I gradually trained myself to keep both eyes open essentially to avoid lessening the social rejection and abuse that I received in school.

I go about my life and live in the world with both eyes open but the truth of the matter is that, despite appearances, I’m only looking at it with one eye at a time. Corrective lenses address other vision issues. This particular predicament does not lend itself to correction. There’s really nothing to correct. It is a matter that is just the way it is.

Perhaps the matter is something genetic. I am not an authority on that but it is interesting to consider, especially in light of the discoveries related to the mass of genealogical archaeology of late regarding my mother’s maternal and paternal lines.

It is true that we possess the potential to make ourselves into anything that we choose and put our energies to. It is also true that, despite what we are able to make of ourselves, or, for that matter, fail to make of ourselves, we are still inherently the product of our genetic chemistry.

One eye at a time. Perhaps the matter is integrally related to the irony inherent in my own divided historical Northern Alabama maternal lineage, a heritage that has, where I am concerned, for too long been buried in neglected cemeteries and shallow unmarked graves.

The ancient proverb teaches to “incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding.” For all my efforts to learn and to do, for all my successful and failed efforts at carving out a life in this world, I think I’m finally beginning to discover and understand something of the ancestral human spirit residing within and motivating this human carriage.