Selective Hyperopia

by teresalaynebennett

photo of a man comforting another man in despair

Big boo-boo, but his friend is hyperopic today.

How many friends do you have? Not just Facebook “friends.” How many real friends: people you regularly interact with in person?

I’ll bet I have as many as you do, if not more, since I’ve had 65-plus years to accumulate them. While I’m guessing your friends may well have this condition, I know for a fact that all of my many friends have selective hyperopia.

I know they do because they’re still my friends.

If you’re not an optometrist or ophthalmologist, you probably call hyperopia by its more common name: farsightedness. The kindergarten explanation for this state is “able to see things clearly far away but having difficulty seeing things up close.”

When friends vaguely look off in the distance when I misbehave, they’ve decided to have selective hyperopia. They’ve decided not to pay attention. That selective part makes it a bit like the selective hearing my spouse maddeningly practices. But unlike my reaction to hubby’s selective hearing, I’m ever so grateful when my friends practice selective hyperopia since, quite often, my behavior doesn’t bear close scrutiny.

How about you? Are you grateful when friends avert their eyes and kindly decide not to pay attention* to your boo-boos from time to time? In certain circles, this is called grace. Regardless of the circles in which we run or what we call it, we all crave it. But if we expect to receive grace, we need to learn how to extend grace – how to practice selective hyperopia.

Hmm. How, indeed?

Some Humble Suggestions
for Practicing Selective Hyperopia

  • Consider what we know about the person’s current circumstances. Given her current situation, she might be doing as well as anyone could reasonably expect.
  • Consider what we know about the person’s background. My mother-in-law used to say, “Everyone’s carrying their own bag o’ rocks.”
  • Consider we don’t know ALL about his background or circumstances. Regardless of how transparent and open we try to be, each of us keeps some things hidden, usually the ones that are too painful to expose to others – or even to ourselves.
  • Consider we might well act the same way if we were in his shoes. This hearkens back to that Indian walk-a-mile-in-another’s-moccasins adage.
  • Consider our own most recent unfortunate and unbecoming behavior episode. Ick! That should make us a whole lot more hyperopic, eh?

Whether you call it not paying attention, grace, plain old good will and courtesy, or my newly minted term of selective hyperopia, aren’t you glad when your friends decide to practice it? And aren’t you equally glad that on your best days, you do, too?

I’m looking for more ideas for practicing selective hyperopia. Got any?

*Yes, yes, I know. I’m shamelessly advocating NOT doing something that I harp on in every other blog post. Even the best rules should be broken sometimes and when our friends need us to cut them a little slack, that’s the time for NOT paying attention.

©2014, Teresa Bennett

red box with white text: "The meaning of life. The wasted years of life. The poor choices of life. God answers the mess of life with one word: 'grace.'" – Max Lucado, Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine

God gives us grace. Shouldn’t we give it, too?

red box with white text: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Jesus, Luke 6:31, NIV Bible

We can’t go wrong taking our cue from Jesus.

red box with white text: "Grace isn't blind, just selectively hyperopic." – Teresa Bennett

Late to the party, but in very good company.