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Why I care?

So maybe it’s time to share why I care about eyes and saving vision. I’m asked fairly often why I decided to be an eye doctor.

Why do I care about your eye care?

The biggest reason is that I can empathize. I have walked in many of your shoes. Many doctors genuinely care about their patients but they can never know what is like to not be able to see. I’ve read about how some physician’s attitude toward their patients completely changed after they were seriously sick and scared about what was going to happen once it happened to them. Then they understood and were more empathetic, not just sympathetic.

Well I’m as blind as a bat with a blindfold. (Bats are really not blind, that’s a wives’ tale but you get my point.) I’m one of my own worst patients as far as being nearsighted. Glasses like the metaphorical “bottom of glass coke bottles.”

Trust me. I understand what it’s like! Spending a few days being totally blurry on summer vacation at your grandma’s house with broken glasses is not fun. Not when you could be playing in the creek or exploring the woods. It’s not very fun being teased about being “four eyes” and all that. Not very reassuring to your self-esteem as you enter puberty either. Wearing contact lenses changed my life so I will try everything I know how to try to get people to wear contact lenses successfully if they want to. Perhaps sometimes I don’t know when to say often enough, “Contacts are not going to work for you.”

Being rendered visually impaired is very motivating to make sure it never happens again. It’s one of the reasons I’m always harping on patients about having spare pairs of glasses, especially contact lens wearers. It’s like backing up a computer. It’s not if but when it crashes and you need to be prepared. An eye infection or having broken glasses always happens at the worst times too: weddings, funerals and vacations.

After doing a research paper in my 9th grade health class about a possible career, I picked optometry as a career. I knew deep down in my knower that this is what I was born to do. So much so I started studying eye terms and anatomy that summer. I mapped out what college courses I would take each year to get me to optometry school. I was like a missile locked on it’s target and had only one goal: getting into optometry school to help other people to be able to see. I will always be grateful for one of my mentor’s and coaches, Joe Pat Mowery. Teachers, you can make such a difference in the path of a student and help change the world. Thank you.

The other reason is I care personally. I care about you as a person. It’s something that God put in me. The need to help others especially those that can’t help themselves and to give grace and show compassion and love to others.

One of the verses from the Bible I claim for myself is Jeremiah 29:11-13. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

God has plans for me and for you. He gives us certain gifts and abilities to help that plan He has for us. Looking back, He opened so many doors and kept me from taking lots of wrong paths. I haven’t always done what He wants and I’m sure I’ve disappointed Him at times by my actions but His grace is sufficient and covers my sins, past and future. I know He wants me to be here in Dumas, where I ran from after high school, like the Jonah and the whale story, and as in Esther “for such a time as this. Paul says “for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29

Yes, there are patients that aren’t always so loveable and hard to work with. Any business has that. But we still want to please them as a customer and try to do our best to help them when they aren’t always pleasant. It reminds me of when Paul writes in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Despite how bad we are, how “unloveable” we all are, Jesus died for each one of us in order to make a way to have a real, living relationship with Him. (click here for more about how to have that relationship)

If He can do that for me, surely I can try to look past how a person behaves and still love and serve them as a person. Once you experience God’s agape love (love without conditions) you have to pass it on. Despite all the headaches of insurance paperwork and regulations, I know I was born to do this. And while someday I may slow down a little, I plan to practice optometry until the day I die. Who says I have to retire if you love what you do?

So, in the end I guess, eyecare because I care. I care about you and I know how what it’s like to not see.