My aim is always to be as transparent and as real with you, my students, as possible.

So here goes:

I have been dealing with a problem with my eyes, dating back to childhood, which has resurfaced in the last year or so.

My drifting eyes: Technical term is "strabismus."

Please excuse me for the times when I am apparently not seeming to look straight at you. I can't do anything about it on my own. It is most embarrassing to me, I assure you. It is probably also awkward for you.

For various reasons, eye specialists have concluded that any operation would be too risky at this point in my life. I will just have to deal with the situation as it is.

I often take comfort from the Bible verses in which the Apostle Paul speaks of a "thorn in the flesh" afflicting him. That "thorn" may have related to an eye problem. For him, and for me, the problem does keep one humble.

Galatians 4:13-15 NIV

"As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn.

Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself.

Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me."

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 NIV

"Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."