What describes your eyes? Brown, blue, nearsighted, 2020 vision?

I’ve been challenged lately trying to find the correct eyeglasses prescription. It seems I need two different prescriptions-one for computer and one for reading. If I grab the wrong pair, not only is vision blurred, but my head spins. Discovering I can’t have two progressive lenses in one pair of glasses was a journey. My focus was fuzzy, and I was frustrated. It’s been an ironic path to struggle with 2020 vision in 2020.

I’m not alone when it comes to eye examinations. There were several seated at a designated distance in the waiting room at my doctor’s office. I snapped a photo on my phone showing my spot in a corner. I sent it to my daughters, “I feel as if I am in a time out.” We often focus on changes and what we are missing from our former lifestyle.

Focus has been a challenge these past few months.

While traveling last week, I focused on a sign taped to a store entrance stating a local ordinance required I wear a face mask. There was no option—it was the law! That focus changed my behavior. I didn’t want to be reprimanded or issued a citation, so I pulled a mask from my purse.

I’ve observed rolling eyes from people and words accenting the eye roll, when they focused on exasperation at inconveniences–schools changing from in person to online, standing on red lines to keep distance, and disappointments at cancelled special events.

In recent weeks, some have focused on political narratives and arguments at the expense of interpersonal civility and even friendships.

Focus in the wrong places–or lack of focus in the right places—can be disastrous, cause us to miss out on what we have, and like my lens prescription, the waiting room, and the sign on the store entrance, change our life.

Facebook memes loudly proclaim focus. “Yay! We’re turning the calendar page and one month closer to the end of 2020.”  Is that focus wishing our life away too?

One friend posted she would stay up at midnight on December 31 just to make sure 2021 came in and we didn’t have an extension of 2020.

Aside from a few humorous memes, one suggestion caught my eye. “On each day in November, take an item from your food pantry and place it in a box. On the first of December, take the box to a food ministry or shelter.”

A change of focus: from irritation about a designated distance to observe in stores, to gratitude for my full cupboard and the opportunity to share with others.

What other ways can change our focus?

What have you missed in the past few months that you have decided you don’t miss after all?

What have you learned through our pandemic that is a valuable lesson?

What practical ideas can you offer us for expressing gratitude this month?

The proverbial phrase and rhetorical question, “Is the glass half empty or half full?” can be convicting. Our answer can also change our focus from rolling eyes or a search for the right corrective lens prescription to spilling over in gratitude. I’d prefer to say, my cup is running over and I’m starting to fill my box of food to donate. .

Well into the first semester, here are 15 Timely Thoughts to Encourage College Freshmen

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