My dear young friend,
It is kind of you to enquire. Yes, my sight of late has declined; my letters
are getting larger, I suppose. Things at a distance have long been a fog; now I
find that things at hand require more study too. I do not think it blindness,
just my age.
You are mistaken, however, about my reaction to it. There is no thought in me
that God has been harsh or unjust to me. Indeed, my thought is quite the
opposite. But behind that there is a tale to tell. My children have heard it too
many times, but I now have a new audience.
As a young lad I was a clumsy lout. I took it into my head that there was
nothing I touched that I would not break. My father, God give him peace, often
lost patience with his son in this matter. It became so bad that I sought the
aid of a priest, thinking to enter a monastery. My thought was that I was doomed
to punishment, but that perhaps God would accept me if I took up the cowl.
Of course, I would have been miserable as a monk, too. I thought that the
difficulty was with God when it was with myself. I need not tell you how we
talked, or how God spoke to me in dreams. You need merely know that I was soon
convinced that it was not my lot to suffer greatly for God. God gives his
spiritual gifts as He sees fit, and a tolerance for suffering is not one He gave
me. Can you imagine me as a monk? As our priest pointed out, even the Apostles
did not choose their own place of service. I had visions of doing great things
for Christ. It seems Christ had visions of me doing plain things for Him. The
Divine Carpenter knows the tools of his hand. I am a dull chisel.
The result has been almost embarrassing. God has been too good to me. I have
received long life, a loving wife, fine sons and beautiful daughters, the wealth
of this world in good measure and many other things beside. Should I then
complain of my trivial sufferings? The decay of my sight is nothing compared to
my blessings. Indeed, it is a lesson in humility as well.
To all this you may add the blessing of peace. For I know my Lord is
faithful, and at the last day I shall see him face to face—with clear eyes. In
this life we see things as in a play, not knowing what ending the Author
intends. But He sees it as the playwright, knowing every line. In the last act
all shall be renewed and we shall see Him.
On that day we shall meet. It will be a large crowd, but do not fear. We will
have all of eternity to meet. I shall enjoy hearing of the marvels of your time
from your own lips.
Until then, I remain,
Isaac the alchemist