It has been interesting, in the last few months, to watch our baby boy develop. One thing that has fascinated me is how drastically his attitude toward us has changed. When he was a newborn, of course, he didn't understand the concept of a person, let alone a parent. If he looked at us, it was with unfocused, unseeing eyes.
Gradually he became able to focus on us, and then, as time went by, he began eagerly looking for us.
Now, at just over five months, he doesn't just look for us; he also is very much aware whether or not we are looking at him.
If we're not paying attention to him, he knows it. Often I'll be playing with him, and he'll be giggling and smiling and laughing, but if I so much as turn my head so I'm not looking at him, he begins to cry. Now, from across the room, he can tell whether or not I'm looking at him, and it matters to him whether or not I see him. What a change that is, in just a few months of development!
It made me think of that verse in Psalms:
The "apple of the eye" is the pupil -- the small opening in the iris that lets light through to the retina. Metaphorically, it means "someone who is highly treasured." But more than that, it could be more literally translated as "the little man in the eye." It's the tiny reflection of yourself that you see in someone's eye when you are looking at them, and they are looking at you.
In other words, when David says, "Keep me as the apple of Your eye," he is asking God to never take His eyes off him.
My son, even as an infant, has already developed the desire for me (and Laura) to "keep him as the apple of our eyes" -- to keep looking at him. I think it's innate -- I think we're born with the hunger to be at the center of someone's attention. Of course, I can't always have my eye on him, and even Laura, who spends much more time with him than I do, can't have her eyes on him all the time.
But I look forward to being able to teach him someday about One of whom it can be said, "He always keeps you as the apple of His eye."
And in the meantime, I need to remember that the "little man in the eye" only appears when two people are looking at each other. So if I'm asking God to keep me as the apple of His eye, I'd better do my part, and not take my eyes off Him.