I never spend a lot of money on sunglasses. The last expensive pair I got was some Ray Ban Aviators in the late ‘80’s that I still have. Since then it’s been cheap pairs, including several $8 Ray Ban copies I got in China.
But, I’ll confess, I like nice things. I care about brands. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I have ever since I got my first Alligator and Polo shirts in high school. (Yes – alligator shirts. Now known as LaCoste. They were a lot cheaper in the ‘80’s.) My dad is the same way – maybe I got it from him. For the last few years one of the expensive things I’ve really wanted but couldn’t bring myself to buy was a pair of nice sunglasses.
When my birthday came around last year, I decided to go for it. My present was a budget from my husband and a trip to the outlet mall so I decided to splurge and get some nice sunglasses. They were still from an outlet and they were Michael Kors (not the Ray Bans I wanted but still couldn’t bring myself to buy), but they were the most expensive sunglasses I’d ever bought. And I loved them. When I put them on, I couldn’t believe how much better they really were – how much easier it was to see through them! It was like my awakening after a Sephora makeover that expensive makeup really is better.
One way I rationalized my expense was that I never lose anything. Or at least very rarely. When I was in college, the running joke with my roommate was that I could always find what she had lost. So I figured since I was responsible, it was OK to splurge. And that went fine until March.
One day I couldn’t find my nice MK sunglasses. Not anywhere. I retraced my steps in my head and realized that they had to be in a certain area of the yard. I usually wore the Chinese Ray Bans when I did yard work, but that day I wore the MK ones. I vaguely remembered taking them off and sticking them in the neck of my shirt. I figured they must have dropped out when I bent over.
So I went to that part of the yard. Now our yard is a little crazy – kind of out-of-control around the edges. And this was one of those parts. I anxiously walked around, looking down, looking everywhere. I kept thinking, “I love those sunglasses.” And then what came to mind was the story of the widow looking everywhere for her lost coin. I was looking furiously for something that was important to me. And then the thought came to me – “Do I look this hard for lost people? Do I look for them and think of how I love them like I am these sunglasses?” It was convicting to say the least. That was the first thing I saw through my sunglasses.
Fast forward a few weeks. I kept looking around that area when I could but still no sunglasses. Then one day I was out there with my electric chainsaw cutting limbs off the tree/bush thing that was growing there. It had completely gotten out of control and now was in the cable line and part of it was even touching the power line. So I was doing what I could to get it under control.
My next door neighbor was driving by and stopped. “Do you want all of that stuff out of there?” she asked. “Yes,” I replied, “All of it.” She then said that her husband had some free time and would do it for me. Of course, I will take any help I can get with the yard so I said, “Sure.” And, lo and behold, he did. That day he chainsawed all of it down. Every bit. And for weeks he just kept working on it. I am still amazed at how God provided for me to get something done that I thought would take a lot of time and expense.
Of course, this whole time that we have been working out there, I kept thinking about my sunglasses. I’d look down and look around. But I figured that even if they were found, they had to be stepped on and broken by now with all the work we had been doing. So for my birthday this year, it was another budget and another outlet mall and another pair of sunglasses although not as nice and half the cost of the lost ones.
Fast forward two weeks later to Mother’s Day. We had gone to graduation at UNC, but my husband came home before I did. When I got home that afternoon, my husband asked me if I had seen what was on the kitchen counter for me. My neighbor had been working in my yard (again!!) and found my sunglasses in the mud!!! I couldn’t believe it! I looked at them in amazement. They were muddy and one side was slightly bent, but they weren’t cracked or broken and there was barely one scratch on one lens. Unbelievable.
My mind immediately went back to the woman looking for the lost coin and my conviction. And the guilt that came with it. But then the Holy Spirit asked me why I had to associate those glasses with something bad. Why didn’t I look at them and associate them with something good? And the something good that I saw was the goodness of God. Sunglasses are really inconsequential in the long run, and you may have already thought by now that I was kind of crazy to love them so much. But God cared. And He not only provided a neighbor to clear out part of my yard, He also provided my sunglasses. And that is the second thing I saw through my sunglasses – the goodness and grace and kindness and provision of God.