DB Ryen - Fridge Blindness.jpg

Fridge Blindness!
D. B. Ryen

 

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. 

– Psalm 146:8

“Where?!”

“Top shelf, behind the pickles, like I told you already.”

“I’ve already looked there twice! I swear the ketchup isn’t here!”

At this point my wife comes over and magically makes that elusive red bottle appear behind the pickles. She shoves it into my arms and walks off shaking her head.

“See, right where I said it was.”

How did I not see that?! I swear it wasn’t there a moment ago!

Turns out, I’ve been suffering virtually my whole life with a medical condition that prevents me from seeing things that are right in front of my face. My friend, an optometrist, diagnosed me instantly when I explained my symptoms. 

“It’s called Fridge Blindness,” he said in his Spanish accent. “I’ve got it too. I look all through the fridge for the leftover empanadas and Theresa comes along and finds them in half a second.”

So it’s not just me! 

This debilitating condition – yes, it’s a really medical condition – affects much of the population worldwide, but especially men. It must be attached to the Y chromosome or something. It has been causing grief in marriages since the dawn of time. But, although knowing the diagnosis is reassuring, Fridge Blindness is sadly untreatable. In fact, it soon progresses beyond the confines of the kitchen.

“Honey, have you seen my wallet?”

Big sigh and eyeroll from the next room. “Your left coat pocket.”

“Ah, right you are. Okay, see you soon.”

There are even biblical references to this sort of thing. When I try to help my son find something in the fridge or closet or pantry, it’s a perfect example of “the blind leading the blind” (Luke 6:39). Woe to us!

I rely on my wife to see things I cannot. Such things are not always in the fridge. She has gently helped me see many of the ways I fail or offend others, or when I let fear or anger guide my decisions rather than love. It doesn’t always feel good, but as the Bible says, “wounds from a friend can be trusted” (Pr 27:6). Those who are closest to us are able to see our sin the clearest.

There are many examples of blindness in the Bible, but the greatest disability tends to come from spiritual blindness rather than physical. Jesus talked about the hypocrisy of nit-picking another’s small faults while being oblivious to the major faults in ourselves.

Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but do not notice the plank that is in your own eye? (Matt 7:3)

Such arrogance is like a cancer growing on our face that others can see clearly but we are oblivious to. In fact, the worst thing we can do is claim we can see just fine!

If you were blind, you would have no sin. But since you say, “We see,” your sin remains. (John 9:41)

Such is the value of a good friend (or spouse). The accountability they provide is not always pleasant, but it’s priceless. I’ll never forget when my brother called me out on drinking more than I should have during a poker game, which likely had negative implications on another’s fledgling faith. It didn't feel good but I needed to hear it.

Nobody can see everything, so we rely on others to see things we’re blind to. This is one of the many reasons we should “not neglect our own assembling together” (Heb 10:25). As “iron sharpens iron” (Pr 27:17), my closest friends have helped me be the kind of man I want to be, far beyond what I could do by myself. 

We’re all blind to something, whether in the fridge or in ourselves. There’s no shame in needing help to open our eyes, that is, unless your wife has to get up from the couch to find it for you.

© D. B. Ryen Incorporated, March 2021.