""You're going to be blind someday." The doctors say it with all the tenderness and compassion they can muster. When you're the patient though it feels like someone is asking you to walk across the Pacific Ocean.
Now that I'm missing my eye sight the prospect of strolling onto the sea shouldn't be so bad. Being blind should keep me from being distracted by the lapping waves. However, walking on water is still a challenge I struggle to face. Walking into the darkness isn't so different. darkness has a texture like smoke. Somewhere beyond the grasp of my fingers. Acrid in my mind as it drifts unseen. Invasive as I shiver in its clutches. The darkness itself is innocent of any harmful intentions, but the prospect of being trapped in it with out something solid for an anchor turns a docile creature into a toothy monster in my mind.
When I first lost my sight, it was only a piece of it. I wasn't absorbed by the blackness, only irritated by the limitations it put on my life. I tripped, drove like a drunk, and needed extra light to read while I searched for a way for the annoyance to clear up.
When I was finally able to accept that I would find myself in a world of complete darkness it was too much for me to dwell on. I let it cross my mind occasionally, when I lay in the dark falling asleep. When I looked at one of my kids faces, or stared into my husband's eyes.
I let my thoughts and imagination fill in what my eyes couldn't for a long time, as a barrier against the fingers of blackness crawling into my world.
I finally embraced the darkness one day, or I started on this day, when a friend asked me to tell her what being blind feels like. Once I'd let my fear of being trapped without sight wash over my mind, I cried. I imagined never looking at another sunset. Never seeing the colors of spring, or the icy blue of my husband's gorgeous gaze. I closed my eyes to let the loss overwhelm me.
When the tears stopped and the quiet of the afternoon settled around me, I felt hollow somehow. I let my mind reach out for the heat of the sun on my feet as I shivered. I smelled the grass being mowed next door and I heard my boys laughing as they ran through the sprinklers with their cousins. A smile crept onto my face then. Sitting in the light, with my eyes closed and engulfed by darkness my world was filled with the things that were real, though unseen.
I realized, the actual experience of being blind is not what we fear. It is the prospect of what being blind will take away
Is that so bad? I don't have to worry about being distracted by appearances. I don't make judgements of people because of what they look like. There is no ugliness in the world. There is only the emotion I pick up on. Like anyone who collects coins, or stamps, or jewels I collect what I choose to pick up. I can collect the anger, doubt, fear, and frustration that comes along with a world cowering in darkness, or I can tune in to sunshine, laughter, love and joy as I fill it back up.
It is not the absence of sight that is frightening, it is the prospect of what you will fall over, run into, or encounter in the darkness. We all live in that world. When you walk out the door you feel safe because your eyes will warn you of the dangers to you and those you love. The things that will take our hearts and souls and crush them can't be seen. What can be seen will distract you from tuning in to the sinister, destructive, damaging darkness that hides in plain sight. Losing your sight means focusing on what is important and casting aside the prospect of our limited sight keeping us safe.
You will not "see" grief, depression, loneliness, or betrayal coming, no matter how good your sight is. You will "see" faith, light, love and the hand of God holding you up in the face of darkness if you close your eyes.
Feel His hands in your hair as you cry. Sink into His arms when your afraid. His embrace surrounds you if you aren't looking for flesh. Bask in the warmth of His love, or the cool breath of His relief as you stand in the sunlight or dance in the wind. Its all him, don't let your sight convince you Your Father isn't there, because you can't see Him.
The prospect of losing one of your senses is always going to be terrifying. I'd like to be the sort of person who has enough faith to just step out onto the surface of the water and walk as if the depths of the sea don't wait below my feet.I don't know how to do that though. I'm working on stepping out, so I can let my vision of The Savior beckoning to me take my mind off the water. Someday, He will be all I see. Today I still find my self looking down every once in a while. I think that's Okay too, as long as I remember to lift my eyes back to Him.