Dani's Niche

Family history. A novel idea.


Peering through Great Great Grandmother’s Eyeglasses

GGGrandma Catherine Humphrey Horn 1802-1871, eyeglasses

I didn’t know what to expect when I opened the metal container. It was very small as were the reading glasses inside. They belonged to my great great grandmother Catherine, born in 1802.

The side bars were straight so they wouldn’t hook over my ears. A brown ribbon was attached to the holes at the ends of the bars. I still haven’t figured out how it was meant to keep the glasses on.

Viewing the hymnbook and glasses together in the photo gives the impression that both are larger than they seem. Actually, the book is only 2 by 4 inches so the print inside is tiny. No wonder people in the 19th century needed reading glasses.

The Past
I lifted the lenses to my eyes. Blurry. Yet I was able to see through them.What if I could view the past through Great Great Grandmother’s glasses? What if I could see what it was really like back then?
As a writer of historical fiction I look at old photographs and other artifacts, read stories handed down through the generations, and research culture and historical events. It’s like looking through old glasses. Not a clear view but enough to get a feel for life long ago.

The Future
What if I could view the future? God gives us a peek at the future in his word, the Bible, especially in the books of Daniel and Revelation. “Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.” (I Corinthians 13:12 ) My view now is dim; I have limited understanding, but one day I will see clearly.

The Present
My vision in the present isn’t perfect either. It has diminished with age. Some of my younger friends are near-sighted or far-sighted. I am thankful for corrective lenses which help us see more clearly.

We all lose focus at times, become short-sighted or too far-sighted, even blind. God offers his word for correction. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) He can also make the blind to see. “Then Jesus put his hands on his (the man’s) eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.” (Mark 8:25)

To keep a clear focus I need to continually“look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

Be Thou My Vision
This traditional Irish hymn is my prayer for perfect vision. Is it yours?

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true Word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my treasure thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

(lyrics attributed to 6th century poet Dallan Forgaill, later translated to English)