Let the World In

I got new glasses.

When I tried them on in the store, I was lovestruck. They were hefty, thick, black-framed cellulose acetate. The buck, unquestionably, stopped with them.

I ordered them. They have arrived. And I am a pig in clover. I look forward to putting them on in the morning.

I can see fine print and pine needles and actors on the stage better. I like the weight of these glasses on the bridge of my nose. The press of them on my temples. And then there’s this:

When I see the world now, I am undeniably seeing it through my glasses. I notice them out of the corner of my eye. Feel them on my face. They constantly remind me that they are – if you’ll forgive the unfresh phrase here – framing my reality.

Which is the thing about reality, isn’t it? We all have our own individual frames for it. And still we’re tasked with going through the world alongside seven billion neighbors and their seven billion individual frames of the neighborhood.

It’s no wonder we can feel so disconnected and so alone so often.

But these glasses have me noticing something else.

I feel the least lonely, the most caring when I open up my own frame of reality and let the world in. “The love of our neighbor,” Simone Weil wrote some years ago, “simply means being able to say, ‘What are you going through?'”

Glasses, I know, won’t bring an end to our loneliness. But perhaps open frames could bring more love to our neighborhood.

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