One of the very first things you learn when you lose your eyesight, if you find people like The National Federation of The Blind, is the importance of independence. I tell people all the time..."I appreciate your help, but unless you're going to follow me around for the rest of my life, teach me. Don't do it for me."
Often it is easier and makes the sighted person feel better, if a blind person just takes their arm and is led around. I must admit, if I'm not learning a new place or working on my independence skills, I'll gladly meet someone new, or hang out with a friend instead of doing it myself. Not because I can't, or don't want to be independant, solely because people have always been more important to me than anything else. I am, however, an extremely independent person. If I can do it alone, I will. Try telling me I can't.
I've spent nearly two decades of my life earning the right to be independant though. I fell down, broke bones, dodged on-coming traffic, crashed my bicycle, and walked a thousand miles to earn the courage and confidence it takes to do the things regular people take for granted everyday.
We live in an affluent society with blessings and benefits people in other parts of the world can only imagine. We didn't get them from the government or from a president. We didn't even earn most of them ourselves. We stand on the shoulders of men and women who suffer seperation from their families, physical and psychological wounds, and the loss of innocence. They see the horrors so we don't have to. They take the chances so none of us do. They sacrifice so we live in peace and comfort.
Independence is a fight. It's earned through hard times, blood, sweat and tears. When our lives get harder than we want we cry, allright, but not over lost loved ones or the ravages of war. We cry for the price of gas, for the broken air conditioner or the annual percentage rate causing our bank accounts to bleed. What are we fighting for?
For the government to 'fix' the economy so we work less? For politicians to give us more tax breaks so we can go on more vacations? For the price of fuel to be lower so we can stay in our air conditioned cars longer?
A time will come...very soon, when we must fight for our right to worship God, to raise our children in safe neighborhoods and for the right to feed our kids.
Pretending the toughest thing we'll fight for is a greener lawn or better gas mileage is foolish. Independence will come when we fight for families, peace and freedom from evil. Don't give up the fight!