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Opening Our Gifts

A sign in my mother’s eye doctor’s office says this:

I opened two gifts from God this morning. They were my eyes.

Today we return to that doctor to find out if the latest retina surgery was successful. I’m sharing a letter I wrote on the eve of the first surgery in hopes that if you read it you will breathe a prayer for us on behalf of my mother.


A Letter to the Original Manufacturer of Right Eye of Frana Louise Richardson Hamilton

To Whom It May Concern:

It has been brought to our attention that an article made with perfection in 1931 has become defective. Allow us to outline the myriad of ways in which this object has become an essential part of life as we know it and the value which we place upon it. I recount the following scenes from the life of Frana in explanation.

It was with this exquisite eye, being at that time unaware that this was to become her dominant globular organ, that she first looked upon her mother, Elinor Louise Richardson, quite possibly one of the most gentle mothers of her time. This early bonding led to a profound connection and further influenced Frana to repeat the trait of gentleness with gusto as she became a mother. Yours truly has been the grateful recipient of this gentleness as have her three other children. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. We relish your patience in this opportunity to reminisce about the beautifully formed wonderful blue eye (one of a matched set, actually) which were bestowed on Frana in perfect working order at birth.

As a child, Frana had no greater joy than to play in the woodlands around her house with her beloved older brother John, and the creek near the house was a favorite feature. Watching the water flow over pebble and sand provided many hours of peaceful calm that were essential for a child born into the middle of the Great Depression. In early adolescence, Frana recalls (indeed as the Maker of the eye, you are aware as well) a life-changing moment when looking at a flower (with the very eye in question) and seeing its beauty she placed her faith in the Maker of that flower-forever directing the energy of her heart and soul to Christ.

In school Frana discovered reading. That eye has read more words and sentences than we can count. The love of reading is next to Frana’s great love for God, and along with great literature she reads her Bible and has done for eight decades.

After the war Frana’s eye served her as well as her fingers. She became a typist of no small skill. Even as the pads on her fingers wore out rendering her fingerprints unreadable, the eye soldiered on in perfect working order. As a child, Frana had longed for glasses as an accessory she’d admired on others, but to no avail. Both her eyes were in perfect working order and required no glasses.

As a lovely and eager young woman, her eyes sought the favor of a certain devilishly handsome and equally eager young man in the ministry of the gospel at the Navigators. Their eyes met with mutual admiration. I am the first fruit of that marriage. My mother’s beautifully sharp eyes were the first thing I saw. Her gentleness was the first thing I felt.

There were four of us in all. This eye of Frana’s assisted her in caring for us all, feeding us, bathing, clothing, and reading us stories before we could do any of this for ourselves. We all love to read and without Frana’s eye, well, am I belaboring the point?

A family of six required thousands of meals to be made,  clothing to be handmade and mended, visitors to care for, church matters to attend to. In these years, busy as they were, the eye was a silent partner, doing its job while she did hers.

It wasn’t until she became a grandmother that Frana got her wish. She needed glasses. With a little assistance from a pair of what she called ‘dime store’ glasses, she could go about the business of being a grandmother. The eye was still doing a fine job.

These years brought ministry of a different kind. She became a business woman. In truth, her business has always been mankind. Throughout the time she’s been at Community Business College, just as before, her gently prodding questions have brought many an eye to tears as inner conflicts were broken up inside like ice floes, bringing healing and restoration.

Frana is a miraculous success story of cancer survival. Her body has been healed completely of cancer. No doubt, You, the Original Manufacturer are to be credited for this. It is to You that we owe a debt of gratitude for Frana’s strong constitution!

Now, for the final plea:

We have been born into a modern age, of which the previous generations could hardly have dreamed. Physicians are able to assist in healing and restoration on levels heretofore unprecedented. Still, we are humbly aware that man is only a crude copier of the original Maker. Frana has been born into this age. We ask Your assistance in the attempt of a very skilled and kindly eager doctor to piece back together the part of Frana’s eye that has come disconnected. We know that connection of vital fluids is essential for life, just as our connection with our Maker is vital for life.

It is for this we ask.

Sincerely yours for all time,

The family of Frana Hamilton


Artistic specialist, wonderer, idea maven, mom of four, and two more. Words and notes are my media of choice.

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