There is something in my eye now that appears to be a small gnat. It is a floater, a tiny dark spot that sometimes crosses right in front of my pupil and I can see it. It is not static, but “floats” slowly across different parts of the cornea.
My eye-doctor uncle told me that the body responds to this speck in two different ways. 1. it gets re-absorbed by the body, or 2. it is there for the rest of my life and there is nothing I can do about it.
As it turns out, what I am seeing is not the speck itself, it is actually the shadow of the speck (which is debris that is caught in the eye somewhere and the light I am perceiving elsewhere reflects on it). Fascinating.
My uncle and I agreed, “at least it’s not a log!” I smiled and said the log is in my right eye! This is from the Biblical passage about the ease of judging others when introspection of one’s self is what is needed. In the Jesus’ ethics manifesto (the Sermon on the Mount) at Matthew 7:3 he mentions the ridiculousness of trying to get a speck out of your neighbor’s eye before recognizing that there is a log in your own eye.
So, now when I see my friend the floater I think two things. 1. that my shadow side is out there with my bright side, and it is important to be attentive to both, and 2. that when this gnat-speck blocks my direct vision (which most often happens when I am reading something important on a computer screen or printed sheet) that I have the opportunity to notice the importance of seeing what i want to see from another angle…taking a moment to wait for the gnat’s shadow to pass.
It’s an opportunity for a deep breath, a recognition that I’m getting older and my vessel is mortal, and the invitation to be present with all that is going on in my body as I am externally focused.
This may be the first of many floaters (one of my sheroes Laura has quite a few in her left eye) or it may be the only one that ever exists. Either way, I’m yet again grateful for this moment of life and little reminders to be introspective, and the eternal dance of light and shadow in this universe.