Surviving

Feeling the warmth of the sun on a cloudy day. A glimpse into a blind billy goat's unique, ever changing perspectives.

2015 03 26 Can’t Get It Out of My Head March 26, 2015

Can’t Get It Out of My Head

I have written before of how much I love music.

Let me rephrase that.

I have written before of how much I love different kinds of music. I admit that I don’t like all music, and I’m not going to tell you which genres I like and which ones I dislike. So there! I will tell you though that when I hear a song and the chills run up my spine, there’s a good chance that it’s struck my fancy, and there’s not many feelings that can match the experience. Nope. Not many at all.

I’ve also written how I always have a song playing in my head. No matter what time of day it is, no matter where I might be, there’s usually something bouncing around in my noggin noodle, and until I hear another song, or concentrate on another one, whatever is playing between my ears, stays there. I used to hate it back when I drove all around the state. I would go into a customer’s store and there would be a song playing on the radio from one of those genres that I didn’t care for, and if the radio in my truck was malfunctioning, my brain would be singing that song all the way until my next stop. I suppose it wasn’t all that bad, except if I heard the song in Rangeley, and my next stop wasn’t until I drove one hour, all the way down to Rumford. I’m cringing just thinking about it.

Listening to music though, is a pleasurable casual stroll down a sunny sidewalk in May that I have always looked forward to and am always searching for. It’s an unmistakable high that’s either chasing me, or I’m chasing it.

I have about 100 full albums on my iPod Touch, and when I hit the shuffle, I hardly ever skip ahead to the next song. There are certain albums that tell a story, albums that describe a familiar experience, albums that lift you up and slam you back down, and albums that grab you by the arm and just take you away.

I guess I started becoming fond of music back in my early childhood. I can remember the first time I heard songs like Paul Revere’s Cherokee People, or The Monkee’s Last Train to Clarksville, or how about a song that took me by storm, Alone Again Naturally by Gilbert O’Sullivan. Man how that song grabbed me and didn’t let go. To tell you the truth, I just did a Google on it and played the YouTube link for it. I remember dancing with my first real girlfriend, Mary Beth Mann, to that song back in 7th or 8th grade. I feel a little silly saying this, but while I was listening to it just now, I got all choked up as I was transported back through time, back to the gymnasium at Gorham High School, swaying back and forth to one of the greatest songs I had ever heard, my arms wrapped around the prettiest girl I had ever seen, my head resting on her shoulder as I inhaled the sweetest smell I had ever known.

Other than that, it was just another song.

Ya, right! Are you kidding me?

Music has always had similar effects on me, and I hope it always does, because to tell you the truth, like the truest of old friends, music never lets you down.

My tastes have changed over the years, from pop, to rock and roll, to folk, a little techno for a while, back to rock and pop, never forgetting my old friend, folk. When my feet start thumping on the floor and my fingers start tapping on whatever I can find to tap them on, music is usually the culprit. Mix in a little swaying of these old bones and you have instant addiction, billy goat style. No instructions necessary, no 30 day trial period, no parental warning, well, never mind. It’s all 100 percent natural and the experience is absolutely free.

Certain melodies, surrounded by a relentless back beat are magic. Just the right combinations of a few choice ingredients and, well, I just can’t control myself. The feet, the fingers, the shoulders swaying, the head bopping, and there you have it! An instant hit, surrounded by an instant, impressionable imagination that can recall, cue up and play those unforgettable classics in my mind at any moment, at any time. Why I have even been known to click or grind my teeth to the beat as well. Those are the real good songs I guess. Grin

As I said, my music tastes have varied over the years, sliding from one genre, to the next in an effortless and seamless melting pot of rhythm and grace. The music, not me.

Ok, ok, ok! I admit it! Uncle! Uncle! I even found my feet annoyingly tapping once or twice to disco. Yes, it’s true, but please, please, please don’t hold it against me, ok? grin

As for the more modern music, from Ray Lamontagne’s Repo Man, to Anders Osbourne’s 47, to Big Head Todd’s all the Love You Need, the blood pumping and circling around through my body is always trying to keep up with the beat and searching out the rhythm of a never ending, timeless tradition known as music. It never stops evolving, it never stops developing, it never relaxes and it never ceases to amaze.

Thank heavens for those who are talented enough to create it, and thank God for giving me the senses to experience the complete joy of it all.

I guess I really do love music. There are things in my life that I might love more, like my     family, my friends and yes, perhaps even my chocolate, but music will always rank right up there with them all.

How could it not?

Chocolate? Really?

 

2015 03 20 O & P March 20, 2015

A lot has been written through the years about the winter months and what a toll they can take from, or add to the human spirit. From different points of view come different perspectives that look at the glass as being half empty, or half full. I can tell you first hand that my own perspectives have changed over the years. I’m not sure if this had anything to do with having to shovel the driveway a thousand times or not, but however I look at it, I know that I have changed how I look at it.

I was talking with a dear friend of mine the other day, and we joked about being a pessimist or an optimist. She is a very busy individual, and found herself up against a workload full of deadlines that left her with less time than what the work demand called for. Her mood was sort of low, and although I tried to lighten up the moment with my usual brain dead attempts at humor, I could really tell that she was frustrated and most of all, tired. I then pondered on my own situation and came to the realization that whatever I had been frustrated with on that particular day was hugely insignificant to the overall picture of the day, of my day.

In this crazy, mixed up, shook up, tumbled up world that spins around underneath us, it’s all too easy to look either too far ahead, or further on back the road. The biggest issue with whatever it is that I don’t know what I’m trying to say is that far too many days, we completely forget what it is we are doing right here, right now. We worry about what’s around the next corner more than we worry how we’re actually getting to the corner. We set up our up to the minute calendars, our reminder apps, our digital alerts and end up finger tapping or three finger swiping our day away. Before we know what hit us, the day is gone and the hours have drifted into the past. Where’d it go? What did we miss? Why didn’t someone tell us? Fact is, they probably did, but we weren’t listening.

The older you get, the faster the time goes. Is that really what happens? Is it a mind game that Father Time plays on us?

Do you think I have an answer for that one?

Optimism and pessimism are an either, or an or. Either you do this one, or you lean towards that one. Sometimes, just maybe, you do both of them and get away with it.

I, myself, tend to think that I fall under the pessimism category. My cup is half empty. Oh, it may look half full, and I might even tell myself that it’s half full, but while I hold it in my hands, without even thinking about it, I’m thinking that I already drank half of it and there’s only half of a glass left. I know that this has been a stumbling block throughout many events in my life, but I have always found a way to work towards the finish line. One thing that bothers me now as I write this is that being a pessimist has sometimes robbed me of being able to fully enjoy things in my life. While I might have been holding a trophy in my hand, I was probably already thinking how on earth I would be able to win the same thing next time. So much worrying and fretting and contemplating, and nowhere near enough relaxing and relishing the amazement of the moment. God knows I have had many things in my life to celebrate, and there will probably be a few more.

I’ve been hurdled towards a few roadblocks and obstacles these past few years. Wait. Let me rephrase that.

I’ve had quite a few trying times in my life, and these past few years have piled more onto the, umm, well, I suppose you could call it the pile of trying times. I have been blessed with a huge amount of support, encouragement, devotion and “don’t you dare stop now’s”. I have come through these shadowed bits of my life and found strength to move towards the next set of moments with what I can only describe as optimism. How on earth would I ever find the strength to keep moving forward if I didn’t have some faith that I would continue to find those moments in my life that were enjoyable and worthwhile? How would anyone dare to go forward if they didn’t believe that some goodness was heading their way? Without optimism, how on earth would the human heart ever keep beating?

With the promise of another sunrise tomorrow morning, it’s with optimism and a full heart that I look towards my future with that “o” word. I do so, not forgetting where I am and how I got here. I do so realizing exactly where I am and what’s around me. Well, maybe not exactly, but it’s the attempt that counts, right? Right? With all my bruises, jammed fingers, busted toes and lumps on my empty noggin, how could I possibly not.

It sure has been a long, cold, snowy winter, and here in the wonderfully frozen state of Maine, it seems like we’re still smack dab in the middle of it. Not the beginning, not the end, exactly right in the middle of it.

I’ve always had a habit of picturing the whole year as a clock. Hi noon is January, 5 o’clock is June and the start of summer, and fall starts around 8 o’clock. I know, I know. I’m off by an hour or two, but then again, it’s my clock, right?

Happy Spring to you all, and thanks for stopping by!

 

2015 03 11 Digital Mileage March 11, 2015

Digital Mileage

Through my 25 year career as a regional sales rep, I drove a lot of miles, as I did along with the rest of my life. I took the time one day, a couple years ago and figured out in my head a rough estimate of how many miles I have driven during the course of my life. The total I came up with was roughly 2.5 million miles. Yup! You heard me right. Two and a half million miles! From my home, wherever that was, to the store, or the vets, or the doctors, or the coast, or the mountains, or one of our favorite lakes, or Boston, or Portland, or Lubec, Skowhegan, Oquossoc, Kokadjo, Mooselookmaguntook, The Height of the Land, Campobello Island, Belfast, Old Orchard Beach, Buffalo, Kentwood Michigan, Dorr Michigan, Hamburg New York, Niagara Falls, Charlotte, Frostproof Florida, Davenport Florida, Disney World, Galusha’s Variety, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, or any hundreds of other places, the miles added up.

Between personal and work related driving, the split was just about half and half. Who’d a thunk?

From here to there, wherever I went, the scenery chased me around, and right along side were some of the most breathtaking looks at what Mother Nature has to offer. Oh my, what a sight to see. Trouble is, as the miles and years roared by, the scenery seemed to matter less and less. I guess when you grab a glance at it a few hundred times, it becomes less and less of an image, and more and more of an imaginary state of mind. I hated to see the scenery get lost in the shuffle, but that’s exactly what it did.

That is, until I bought a digital camera.

On the second day of April, way back in 2006, I experienced the gift of a lifetime. My grandson Jack was born, and with him came another uniquely different state of mind. I had become a grandfather, and I just couldn’t get enough of him. He was, after all, a part of me, and along with him came an undeniable piece of mind that I had never experienced before. I had always thought of grandparents as senior statespeople who performed as only grandparents could do. Along with my personal stereotypical grandparent vision though came other things that I wasn’t prepared for, such as the other stereotypical things like gray hair, more gray hair, old Buicks, am radio, funny smells, granola, fiber, more funny smells, twelve pairs of reading glasses, bran muffins, bran cupcakes, bran cereal, bran flavored bran, things to make you go, things to make you stop going, things that just can’t be explained, and yes, the other things that I refuse to write about.

A grandfather? Me? Are you kidding me? You sure you got the right address, or did I fall into one of those stereotypical categories and forget where I live?

And yes, here I am, a grandfather of a nine year old grandson. Well, he’ll be nine next month. Grin.

Shortly after he was born, I took a chance and dove into the modern realm of new age technology, purchasing a digital camera. I had climbed onboard the twenty first century almost a decade late, but I was onboard none the less.

Oh how that little digital camera changed my life and my world. In the first couple months alone I think I took a couple thousand pictures of my grandson. I learned how to crop and paste and sharpen and resize and manipulate the pictures I took into what I considered to be masterpieces of modern technological marvel. I used to love to get home from wherever the picture taking of my Jack Jack took place and slap the sd card into the computer, and as the pictures graced the pc screen, one by one, I realized that these instantaneous little tid bits of my day, of my present, of my future in the making were just the thing that snapped me out of my hum drum days. The hop hopped back where it belonged, the pop returned to the snap and crackle, the sugar mixed in with the spice, and my little grandson was captured forever, right there in front of me.

For the next four years, I snapped more pictures than I could ever imagine. My grandson grew and grew, and although I was having the time of my life capturing everything about him that I could, I was also reintroduced to another lost friend. As my Jack Jack picture folder grew and grew, I started realizing that this state, this wonderful, beautiful state of mine had been there all this time, waiting for me and my digital camera. Slowly and surely, I rediscovered the beauty that was flying by me every day. I took my foot off the gas pedal, and as I slowed down, I started to look again, and this new found imagery made it to my pc screen at the end of the day, one picture at a time. It was almost as if I had been reborn again, or like someone had pulled the blindfold from my unknowing state of constant daydream.

When I had vision, I used to love visiting my parents. One of the treasures included sitting down on the sofa and rummaging through boxes and boxes of pictures with my mom. Her and I would sit and look and reminisce for hours of how things used to be and who they used to be with. Boxes of small black and white pictures, you know, the ones with the little date stamp, or the ones with a penned descriptive caption on the back of the pic. Boxes of treasures, loaded with feelings, emotions and purpose. It didn’t matter if I had looked at the pictures the year before. No sir! I would sit right down and paw through the still images as though I hadn’t seen them in a lifetime.

I’m thankful that I had four years of vision with my digital camera. I’m thankful that countless hours were spent going through each and every picture that I took. I would crop and sharpen and rename the ones I saved, and the ones that I deleted? Well, I would gaze tirelessly at those before they reluctantly made the trash bin.

With those hours upon hours of sorting ,renaming, resizing, doctoring and cradling thousands of digital delights, I was unaware that I was building a mental photo album that would grace my memory, for what I’m hoping is a very, very long time. I can still see the rivers, the mountains, the winding roads through the amazing country side, the smiles, the colors, the fascinating changing of the seasons and of course, the incredible poses of my one and only grandson, Jack. His first four years captured a place in my heart and mind that will be with me until the day I die. A gift like that can never, ever possess a price tag, because it is absolutely priceless.

One picture at a time. That seems to be how I work my way through my days, these days, and each snapshot holds a memory of how things used to be. I suppose that no matter how much time goes by, the present will exist as it did in my mind, my past, my experiences, and from the pictures that I have seen and taken.

I’ve always loved taking pictures. I fell in love with it from 2006 to 2010. I will never give back those amazing times, those amazing trips, those incredible moments in history.

In my history.

The digital mileage seemed to pile up pretty quick in four years. From Rockland, to Rockwood, from West Quoddy, to the Western Mountains of Maine, from a family named Lyons, to a grandson named Jack, it’s all there, and it’s all mine.

Do me a favor? Go get yourself some of your own, ok?

 

2015 02 24 Constructiveness February 24, 2015

Constructiveness

Hello. My name is Deon, and I’m a writer. I haven’t always considered or called myself a writer, but these days, it’s fairly apparent that most of my constructiveness is done so using a keypad and a screen reader. Is constructiveness a word? If it isn’t, it should be.

I’m still not used to the sound of calling myself a writer, and I’m certainly not used to the feelings associated with it. Fact is, I’m a rather shy person, and whenever I receive praise for my writings, or for anything, I can sense my ears getting red. Yep. You heard it. My ears get beet red whenever I get embarrassed, brought on by my pathetically shy state. I suppose I’m not as shy as I used to be when I could see, but characteristic traits have a habit of sticking to us like glue, and stuck to me it has.

I am a writer, and before that, I was a regional salesman, which is a glorified name for a truck driver who sells stuff to people who need the stuff and have money to buy the stuff. I was pretty good at it, and was the top salesman for my last company a couple years in a row. The company had over thirty regional sales reps, so once again, I was pretty good at it.

I’ve always done well with things that I have taken part with. I suppose I owe that all to my folks and my siblings. My brothers and sisters all excelled in whatever they tackled, which provided me the inspirational drive that has stayed with me to this day. Always try to throw faster, run faster, swim faster, jump higher, and if you don’t, keep practicing until you do. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be done? No blue ribbons or trophies for just trying. At least not back where I came from.

Like I said, I’m a writer, and I love to write. I have written long stories, short stories, poems, essays, stuff I don’t know what to call, and I have enjoyed every second of it. It was a little slow in coming, that is after I lost my sight. You see, I had to learn how to touch type, which was something I used to cringe at whenever I heard my wife suggest I learn. Finger cramps, wrist cramps and hand cramps weren’t anything I looked forward to, and the four fingered, hunt and peck system I used up to then seemed to work for what I needed to do.

Boy did that mind set change.

With a rehab and independent living skills program opportunity dangling there in front of me, I had to learn how to touch type, and learn I did. Within a couple weeks I was banging away like a finger tapping, key punching fool. I was actually surprised how easy it was to learn. I suppose that my mental attitude had a huge part to play in the learnings, but either way, my life as a writer was born.

I have written a few miles of text in four plus years. Around corners, up hills, down across bridges, and it all ends up right in front of me on my pc screen, with JAWS hollering out the detailed adventure.

One other thing I’m not used to doing, and feel totally uncomfortable with is critiquing of others writings. Unless it’s a very familiar material matter that the writing is about, then I will add my advice with details that transpire with the writing. As far as writing styles, formats, and anything to do with the English language, count me out. Sorry to say it, but I have never liked the learning of English. Sentence structures, nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and the likes have twisted my mind up like a butter pretzel. I know the language fairly well, and I do ok with the writing of it, but to try and tell you that this should be over there, and that shouldn’t even be here, well, I’ll just quietly sit and listen, while I try to learn.

The first time I had one of my writing pieces critiqued in a constructive manner just about destroyed me inside. I felt like someone had broken into my home and robbed me blind. No pun intended. I felt as though everything I had ever written wasn’t up to standards, wasn’t appreciated, wasn’t, or shouldn’t ever be displayed in any public forum again for as long as I lived.

But then again, that’s just me.

It did take some time to be able to look past the criticism, the critique, the painful experiences, and find the lessons that were hidden inside the critique. Once I was able to step back from my emotions and approach the critique from other’s perspectives, I was able to grow and evolve. I like to use the phrase, absorb, adapt and advance. That’s what my writings, along with being blind, have taught me. Almost as a prize fighter does, we absorb the blows, learn how to better shuck and jive our way through the situations and take control of said situations when and if they should arise again.

As I said, I am no critiquing noble or anything, and I probably will never lay claim to such a thing, but I do know how hard it can be to receive at times. I do know how much we put ourselves out there when we write. I know how deep into spirit and soul our writings come from, and with such strong emotions wrapped around those amazing penned words, I know how cutting the critique can be at times.

I hope that with each incident, I will grow and become more aware of the lessons that are inside each well thought out comment made towards my writings, and I will always try to take advantage of each situation and make the best of it.

From a truck driver’s writing perspective, I hope that I’m able to keep on writing for the rest of my life, as it has brought me riches beyond belief.

No matter where you go, there you are, so please, please, take full advantage of it.

Thanks for stopping by, and God bless all of you. Take care.

dp

 

2014 02 10 Poetry: Canvas February 10, 2015

Hello again and how are you doing?

It’s true that I am blind, and with my vision loss comes a plethora of absorption, adapting and advancing towards a future full of tomorrows. One of the best things that have emerged among my vision loss has been the rebirth of my lifelong passion for writing. The magnificence of the pen has shown me things about myself that I never knew, and didn’t care to learn. How time and space can change a person.

I have written a lot of my vision loss, and it has proved to be a huge stepping stone as I make my way through this next chapter of my life.

The following is a poem that I wrote a year or so after my sight loss of 2010. I have written many poems about entering my dark world, and I chose this one because it ties in closely with my last post.

Thanks for dropping by, and here we go.

*** *** ***

Canvas

The sights are gone, but I still feel the visions.
They are forever firmly engraved into my searching mind.
Reaching out into the darkness, the memories of yesterday guide me into tomorrow.
Picture by picture, the snapshots that still remain, vividly run through my mind.

One by one, colorful canvases pull me back into my past, and remind me how to feel.
Faintly, I see the day unfold, as the foggy colors come sliding by.
Faintly I work my way through the shadows, and recall what once was.
Faintly I muster a vague smile, as I silently cry inside.

With echoed sound replacing familiar sight, I listen to the view.
Foggy colors tell their story, as endless days tell their tale, one empty canvas at a time.
Slowly, I start to understand the sounds of the colors.
Slowly, I begin to understand the harmony that constantly plays inside my head.

Chaotic concerts fill my imagination, as a single lullaby rolls over the horizon.
Blending the two as one, I slowly fill the canvas with colored sound.
Strokes of vision glide across the empty white of my mind.
Pausing, I step back and take all of the beauty and breathe in deep.

Darkened nights come alive with the palette of the day.
Oh how I wish to wrap the starless nights with those lighted colors of sound.
They soothe and calm the anxious child inside.
They wrap around and hold tight the true meaning of this endless story.

The grays turn to gold, as the blacks turn to blue.
I am the artist inside the painting.
I am the conductor staring down at the strings and horns.
I am the director of the soaring saga.

I color the page with a scheme of sserenity, promise and hope.
So many familiar things seem so distant and alone.
So many memories replace the present.
So many feelings touch my soul.

So many times I hear the laughter of the loved, and the cries of the innocent.
So many doubts and emotions and questions play out in front of childhood dreams.
The canvas is empty, except for the colors from within.
The canvas tells of a tale long forgotten, but quickly remembered.

It is empty, but for the colors that I hear inside.
It is empty, but for the call of the colors.
It is empty, but for the visions that come alive with the strokes of brush.
It is empty, but for the comfort of the memories.
It is empty, but for a few hints of what eludes me.
It is empty, but for the darkness that bursts alive all around me.

**

Thanks again for stopping by, and always remember to color the canvas with the colors of your day.
Take care and keep warm
dp

 

2014 02 09 I May Be Blind

I may be blind, but oh how I can see.

Although the darkness has crept in from all around, the colors continue to push it out of the way. A pinch of this, a memory of that, a recollection from way back when, it all becomes what I see, and sometimes, what I can feel.

With these memories comes the smells, the sounds, the feelings that instantly sweep me away and take me back to those specific dates and times when vision shaped and molded a young man.

As these pictures from the past keep me company, once in a while I seem to acquire the exact feelings from yesterday’s experiences. As though I’m right there, living through the moments again, a shiver runs up and down my spine. A feeling exactly from my past, from my moments, from my existence knocks on the door to pay a visit. It doesn’t last very long, but when it occurs, it’s almost like a déjà vu, a second helping, an instant replay of the senses.

During my initial vision loss, everything went black. I had what I call tracers, floaters, teases of visions running here and there, but they were just mental sparks showing me things that weren’t really there. As the next months progressed, I reclaimed a tiny portion of vision, but only the right outer peripheral, which I was told was a temporal vision condition that was a normal occurrence from the type of vision loss I experienced. Some of my colors started to creep in, like yellows, greens, reds and my favorite one of all, my Wal Mart Blue. I called it this because when my wife and I would go to the box store, I would see it all over the place. I truly thought my vision would come back.

It never did.

Over this past year, the colors have faded, the edges of the shapes have softened, the sun has grown dim and the features of the most beautiful creature on the planet have slowly and sadly drifted into the shadows of my memory.

I imagine that it won’t be long before I am totally blind, but I’m hanging on with all that I’m worth. My perception of light seems to be holding on, and for that I am grateful. I’m also grateful for having been given vision for fifty years. One of the ophthalmologists I visited back in 2010 told me that with my infancy retinal cancer, in his opinion, it is a miracle that I did have sight for those fifty years. His words brought it all into a totally different perspective for me. My outlook for my future changed then, and I try to hold onto his insight as I place one foot in front of the other.

Vision is the key to so many things in life, but the vision comes in so many different forms. The eyes of the world have the bulk of the sights, but the heart takes what the eyes see and shapes it into a complete experience. One by one, the recollections that are connected between the mind and the spirit set the heart pounding and the blood pumping. True vision, true sight, true glimpses of what we were, what we are and what we might some day become are the most important things that we will ever encounter. Of course, this is my opinion, as it is also my own personal vision.

I am only four and a half years into this new journey, and as a toddler does, I learn with each step. I see new things every day. I live different emotions every day. I feel frustration every day, but as I have throughout my life, I grow with each opportunity that I come face to face with. A lot of what goes on around me eludes my sight, but I sense so much more of what used to elude me.

The colors will always shine brightly within my day, and the bursting palette of memories will help fill one empty canvas after another with a vivid artistry of life. Like an artist looking for something to paint, I’m a feeling, an emotion, a memory waiting to happen.

I am blind. I am vision impaired. I am a member of the blind community, and oh how I am learning how to see.

dp

 

2014 02 08 Blessed February 8, 2015

Blessed

I’m blessed, or at least I feel that I am blessed, but how can I really tell? How would I know the difference? How on earth would I know blessed from unblessed? Is unblessed a word, and if it is, does it mean what I want it to mean? Am I rambling through the brambles like a billy goat usually does?

Back on track, or close enough to count, I truly feel blessed, and I’m not ashamed to say that some days I overlook those things that I should always recognize as blessings. It’s fairly easy to do you know. I mean, with all the commotion that some days have a tendency to shovel at us, it’s normal to forget the simple things in our lives as we are totally consumed with an abundant amount of things we call life. Coming at us this way, and that, we forget as we remember, and then we remember the things that we sometimes forget. Add it all up, and the blessings are endless, infinite.

I was talking with my folks this morning on the phone, and I told them how grateful that I was for having crossed paths with such an incredible amount of inspiration within the blind community. I told them how blessed I am with having such an amazing family. They both responded with similar feelings, and as we reminisced over the past, the feelings inside rose like a Quoddy tide, completely consuming my emotions with love, faith and hope. I then realized how these three things can get the human heart through almost any obstacle, any situation, any detour or road block or happenstance that can cause a spirited soul to stray off course.

I am blessed. This I know, and as I believe it I live it.

My mom said that with all of the situations out there, with all of the compelling stories of personal woe and torment, she felt extremely fortunate that for the most part, our immediate family made it through the years relatively healthy, and as we have grown older, we are still all together, as a family. Through the years, we have grown closer, even though the miles have pulled us further apart. Home truly is where the heart is, and our hearts are all clustered together, as one, strengthening our ability to overcome, to endure, to absorb, adapt and advance our way, together.

There are many different ways that the blessings in my life take shape. I am blessed that I am able to pray to a God every day of my life. I am blessed with support, with guidance, with opportunities abound, and as I recognize them, I am blessed with insight and strength to live the experiences and learn from the outcomes. I might be blind, but I am blessed with vision, with sight that for the most part had always remained unseen.

As the darkness of 2010 closed in on me, a light from inside grew. I’m sure that I have only scratched the surface of this light, but I suppose that recognizing its existence is a huge step towards each new chapter of my life.

I am blessed, and for that I give thanks. With the blessings comes inspiration, which until a few years ago, also remained for the most part, unseen and unnoticed. Taking notice of inspiration was very important for me, but being able to take it and utilize it to better myself is something completely different. As a child, I was always trying to catch up to my siblings, for it was they who were doing the inspiring. I idolized them all, and with an open mind and heart, I soaked up as much from them as I could, without even knowing it.

As we all learned from our parents, so have I learned from others I have crossed paths with. The family of the blind community has been alive and well long before I took my first steps, and it will remain vibrant long after I’ve taken my last breath. This amazing collection of inspiration has cascaded down into my life and shown that no matter how insurmountable, no matter how bleak, no matter how hopeless it seems, there are those who have gone through the same, lived through the same, grown up and through and out of the relentless grips of despair and pulled together as one to rise and live life to the fullest, taking advantage of, here we go again, those opportunities that disguise themselves as barriers.

I am who I am because of what I have become, and with a pinch of this and a dash of that, my ingredients, if mixed and blended correctly, will continue to offer up what I hope is some of the same as I have been handed. Passing it on, so to speak, is life, never ending. Paying it forward is a privilege, and for myself, is an obligation I hope that each of us takes pride in taking part in.

I am blessed, and for that, I give thanks to everything involved.

Blessed are those who live, who love, who learn and who give back what they have themselves been given.

Have an amazingly incredible day.

dp

 

 
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