Test Tomorrow

I have an exam tomorrow. I’ve taken this exam over and over, since I was five years old. The test administrators have peered at me from their squeaky rolling stools, and their faces change, but the questions are always the same, the material never alters. . .

and yet this is a test I feel I always fail.

Tomorrow, long overdue, I go for my eye exam.

The condition that rendered me legally blind is ocular albinism. Before I carried my own name I carried it, twisted and broken in my optic nerve even in the sightless semidarkness of the womb.

The sort I have is a double-recessive trait. There is nothing of blame or censure that my parents both carried this gene, unknowing. And thus I have borne two eagle-eyed sons. For this I am grateful.

Most of the time I am entirely rational about my condition. I hold my books and needlework close to my bifocaled face. I enlarge font sizes and bless the late Steve Jobs for the 27 inch screen of this imac. On a deeper spiritual level I have come to even feel gratitude in how my visual limitations have shaped our family life, landing us in a home-centric, wide-margin existence. I experience wonder and worship when I cannot account for the images my camera and I produce.

But the moments I spend in that exam chair, when the lights are dimmed and the spotlight shines on that chart I’ve struggled to read since I learned the alphabet itself, these ordinary truths of our life, the reassurances of both my own mind and my loving, servant-hearted husband, fall away. The despair of never having accurate answers to what lies in the hazy distance, and the panic as I try to detect acuity between choices of new lenses make me again that bewildered kindergarten girl, a thousand stories in her head but unable to recognize her teacher’s face across the room.

In those moments I am flooded with all the images I’ll never see clearly, the soccer practices and piano lessons I’m never going to drive our sons to, the Saturdays consumed by errands and what will be my lifelong dependence on others. I imagine resentment my beloveds do not feel, myself a burden hung heavy on their freer lives.

But in the morning, in the creak of the vinyl chair and all my guesses and wrong answers, I’m going to try to remember that this is always the lie–  that our particular brand of brokenness makes us unlovable. That without our defects and flaws we would somehow be more worthy.

I can’t see those little letters, all the way across the room. But I can see John’s smile over our morning coffee cups, Sam’s art and Joshua’s wide, earnest eyes. I can see the mist fly up at the base of the waterfall, and the velvet of moss carpeting a fallen tree. I can see the path of my life beyond that dim chair and a slip of paper with a set of numbers. Those aren’t me. But the wide world the Maker has given and the love lavished on me help me remember who and Whose I am.

And those are the notes I need to be studying, to prepare for my test tomorrow.



21 thoughts on “Test Tomorrow

  1. Trish

    Missy, it was so good to see your post come in my email this morning!! I wish I could give you a big hug! I know I say this over and over but you have such a beautiful heart. You have eyes to see things that most of us never see. Regardless of what the doctor tells you, you’ve already passed the real test – not giving in to those lies. Yes, hang on to whose you are. I know He is delighted with you, just as you are!!

    1. adailyportion Post author

      Kristin– it has taken me most of my almost 40 years, but yes, I am starting to see that this work of becoming is most often fashioned by the things I’ve spent a lot of energy wishing were different.


  2. Raymond


    I’m so very glad to call you my friend and to know that you recognize yourself as His child. One day, when you behold Him face to face you will see more clearly than ever just how wonderful His grace has always been even through all of our dim eyes.

    I treasure your creative spirit and am reminded of it every day when I look at the picture on my office wall.

    “And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”


    1. adailyportion Post author

      Thank you so much for your kind message– we do all see through a glass darkly– I am feeling in touch with that verse this day.

      I am so glad to know a piece of my work is with you– the Bible study I found myself in, that you co-led on a campus long ago, is a signpost of grace in my life.

      Many blessings,

  3. Aimee

    this made me all teary…you SEE beauty every day and offer it continually to your family and friends…thanks for your authenticity here…always so encouraging and refreshing.

    1. adailyportion Post author


      I think of you as a fellow noticer of the true the good and the beautiful– thanks for coming by here, and for all the close-up instigram pictures of baby Henry on FB– those pop right through the screen to me!
      Love to you on this ludicrously lovely February day. . .

    1. adailyportion Post author

      Just thanks for loving me so long and so well– teaching me so much as I have received being really SEEN and really HEARD by you. . . here’s to lots more years doing life together

      love you too

  4. Mollie

    my sweet friend. I love your heart. I love that in life you have chosen to cling to Him rather than harden in bitterness. The irony is that you have the most insight to see life clearly and I know that is a gift of the Father. I pray for His Comforter to whisper to you tomorrow. Your sweet family has been blessed beyond measure to have you as their wife and mother and you have blessed us all with your friendship. You are our bright spot.

    1. adailyportion Post author

      Oh, Ms Mollie– thank you. {tears in eyes} The real miracle, of course, is that it is all gift– the soft-enough heart to receive the good, and then the good itself.

      Your words ministered to me tonight, and the knowledge of your prayers for tomorrow blesses.

  5. Jill

    I love reading your words and I will keep you in my prayers tomorrow as I know it will be hard for you. You even made me a little teary and that doesn’t happen much. You are a beautiful and amazing person and I am so lucky to call you my friend!

    1. adailyportion

      Jill– thank you so much for your words and prayers. Your friendship– our conversation and laughter and creative time together is SUCH a blessing in my life. Have a beautiful day!

  6. Stephanie Horn

    My prayers will be with you tomorrow. May our PERFECT father go with you – even to the vinyl chair! Thank you for sharing your perspective..it sharpens mine so often! God bless you!

  7. tonia

    Oh Missy. I have my eye sight (behind a pair of glasses) but there are other things that have made our lives home-centric and smaller than other’s lives. I could feel the little squeeze of guilt when I read your own confessions and fears. I’m so thankful that the smallness of our worlds still includes the crazy grace of a country-wide friendship.

    Others have said it before me, but there is more than one way of seeing. You have an eagle-eyed sight for the beautiful and the spiritual. You have pointed the path out to my dim eyes more than one time, friend.

    love you.

    1. adailyportion Post author

      Oh, Tonia, yes to the crazy-grace. Thank you for your kindness– and what wide perspective and lavish love you have sent me from your own small space.

      That house– yes– can we share a cup of coffee in its walls?

      Love you T.


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