As a four year old child my family sought to teach me how to swing a baseball bat so I could hit the ball they would pitch to me. They soon discovered that my inability to hit the ball was connected to the fact that I couldn't see it. My father suggested that I turn around and swing left handed and sure enough I hit the ball. To this day I continue to swing left handed which only caused my family, at the age of four, to ask the question, "... what's wrong with Al's left eye?" That question was soon answered after an appointment to see the ophthalmologist. I was diagnosed with an eye condition called amblyopia better known as lazy eye.
Soon it was decided that I would enter the hospital to have surgery to correct my vision. After surgery and for the next ten years I experienced therapy related to strengthening the muscles associated with my left eye so it would work in tandem with my dominant right eye. I have worn glasses all my life and every time there was a prescription change in my lenses I would have to get my eyes dilated. Nowadays it only takes eye drops for dilation to occur. Back in the late 1950s and early 60s it was accomplished with eye salve that once applied took two days to reach full dilation and two more days for the dilation to subside.
This condition affected everything. I had to do eye exercises while wearing a patch over my right eye. I absolutely hated these exercises. I had to wear this patch to school while I was in kindergarten and first grade. Of course I had to sit on the front row so I could see the black board. My classmates made fun of me because of the patch I wore daily. Did I mention that I hated to read? My mother would order the "weekly reader" and make me read it. It was a condition I had to meet before I could go outside and play. Little by little my left eye began to improve and soon I had reached the point that I didn't need therapy any more!
The surgery I had received at the tender age of four was explained to me like this, "... the muscles associated with your left eye were so strong that they were pulling your eyeball in toward the bridge of your nose. The surgeon clipped these muscles making them weaker so that the eyeball would eventually return to its center position so your vision would return to normal." For a while that is what it did until sometime in the year 1986 at the age of thirty-three the sphere of the eyeball began to rotate further and further away from the center causing severe double vision. What I discovered about double vision was a total surprise. The more my left eye tracked further away from its normal position the more my left eye's line of sight looked the opposite direction. My real challenge came while driving my car. It's strange having two images of the same car coming at you and just before the car passes you the images come together. I tried to train myself to only look at what my right eye saw but the double vision was driving me insane.
I was serving a church in Augusta, Georgia at the time. There were issues that surfaced during my tenure there that was very disturbing to me. My feelings were hurt due to these issues as they affected my family as well. To say the least I was holding quite a grudge toward those who I felt hurt my feelings. All of this occurred while trying to find some remedy for my double vision. I had visited an optometrist to hopefully discover what, if anything, could be done for my vision. He told me that my eyes were so bad that his machine couldn't even measure them. He suggested that I make an appointment to see an ophthalmologist. Upon that visit he informed me that my left eye was moving out.
I was devastated by such news about my eye but I was equally devastated because of the issues associated at the church I was serving and the grudge I was holding only became bigger and more pronounced. I did not know what to do. As I look back on this experience the amazement regarding the movement of the Holy Spirit was unmistakable. Not long after my doctor's appointment I was home watching the 700 Club on television. I had never watched the program very much. To tell you the truth, I'm not really sure why I was watching it at the time. At any rate what I experienced during this particular broadcast has brought such a sense of clarity. Perhaps it will for you as well.
I recall the host of the 700 Club that particular day was an African-American by the name of Ben Kenslow. As I joined the broadcast he was talking about holding grudges. He indicated that to hold a grudge toward someone really didn't hurt them at all but it really would hurt the one holding the grudge even to the point of destruction from within. I recall doing some soul searching and decided to release the grudge I was holding toward those who had hurt my family and my feelings. What happened next nearly blew me out of the water.
As I sat there listening to Kenslow having what he termed "a word of knowledge" meaning he would identify someone in the television audience regarding some kind of physicial or spiritual malady and if they would claim their healing it would be done for them. This was not something that I was accustomed to let alone ever participating in. Then all of a sudden I heard these words from Kenslow,"There's someone out there with lazy eye and if you will claim your healing it is yours." My skepticism kicked in saying to myself that surely there must be numerous people in a national broadcast that suffered from lazy eye. However, it did get my attention. I recall the host went on to other areas of need but just before he closed that segment he said the following, "Oh by the way, that person with lazy eye, your eyeball is moving out and if you will claim your healing it is yours!"
I did not claim the healing at that moment. I rather chose to sleep on it while giving thought to what I had experienced. On the way to the church office the next morning I made the decision to lay claim to the healing of my lazy eye. To make a long story short, my doctor paved the way for a new surgery that had just been developed and after that surgery I was cured. But the biggest healing that I witnessed throughout this experience was the "moving out" of the grudge I held and the freedom I have received by letting it go.