I received a comment on my blog site this evening. It was on a blog post that was from back in July, 2011. It was from a woman who apparently is going through some significant vision loss struggles. In her comment, she asked me what I kept telling myself as I was in the midst of losing my sight, and how I managed to get through those first few months of change.
I haven’t received a comment like this before on my blog, and it spun me around in my computer chair and positioned my fingers on the keys. It also got my head churning and smoldering, and so, I went back and read the post that she was commenting on.
Two and a half years have gone by since I wrote that post, which concentrated on those thirty days in June and July, 2010 when I lost my sight, regained it, then lost it again. It told part of the story of a man who faced adversity head on, and without blinking, started his new life. It told of a frightened soul who gained so much, after losing so much. It was a single post, from a single moment in my life. A single moment that I will never forget.
My life became instantly new back in the summer of 2010. My life changed directions, and I held on for dear life. My life became something that I had no idea what to do with, but grabbed it and did it anyway. My life became my own, to do with as I chose, to have at it with all of the courage I could muster. It was my life, after all, and it presented me with so many possibilities and choices.
In the blink of an eye, I went from a 25 year regional sales rep, pounding away in a delivery truck for sixty hours a week, to a confused, petrified billy goat who couldn’t see his hand in front of his face. I changed, and everything around me changed with it. Probably the thing that changed the most was my attitude, my perceptions, my outlook and my determination. The change I went through actually handed me several options and asked me to choose which ones to stuff into my pocket, and where to go with them.
That’s all life is, really. It’s a myriad of choices, surrounded by their consequences and outcomes. With each comes opportunity and yes, with each also comes struggles. Character building if you will.
What did I tell myself back in those days? What did I do that helped me get through each day? How on earth did I manage to pull myself through some of those early days of vision loss? I sure as hell wouldn’t like to have to go through those days again, but I am fortunate that I did. You see, I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had not. I wouldn’t have met some of the most amazing individuals I have ever met. I wouldn’t have rediscovered the importance of my family and friends. I wouldn’t have built my inner core of strength and determination as I have. I wouldn’t have been re-introduced to one of my life long passions, writing.
There are so many things that have happened to me since losing my sight that probably would have never happened. I have written a few times that I am right where I am supposed to be, right here, right now. I have written how it appears to me sometimes that it was necessary to lose my sight, so that I would gain my insight and learn how to see. I have written of so many things, about me, from inside me, and it has helped me to get to know so much about a guy that I hardly knew.
For anyone who is going through the struggles of vision loss, try to keep it inside today. That’s all you’ve got really. Not tomorrow, and surely not yesterday. Just today. You will grieve. You will struggle. You will cry and shout and holler and pound your fist and ask why oh why did it have to happen to you. You will try to figure out why it happened, and you may even think about making a deal with the devil himself to regain your vision. You will ask forgiveness, and you will pray for strength. That’s another thing that helped me so much. I needed strength, I prayed for strength, and I received enough strength to handle the torment and pain and questions that never stopped.
I told myself back then, as I still do today, that this new life path came to me, and no one else. It was all mine, and it was my choices that have brought me to this point, today. I struggled with the mind set of, “Why me?”. I wondered and pondered and contemplated all of the reasons why it might have happened to me. But then, a clear thought entered my mixed up mind. I began asking myself, “Why not me?”. I asked myself why something like this shouldn’t happen to me. Why should this happen to someone else, other than me?
I raced back and forth, around and around with so many queries and questions back then, and I still do today. I pray and I question and I find a way to realize the blessings that I have. Through it all, I have so much to be thankful for, and although I sometimes forget the reasons, they are all still there, at the end of each day, waiting for me as I lay my head down on my pillow.
I was fortunate to have folks around me that instilled in me the belief that I would be ok. They kept telling me that everything was going to be ok. No matter how close to the end of the world it seemed some days, as long as I kept moving forward, everything would be ok.
I have moved forward. I have pulled myself through some of the most difficult days I have ever known. I have also found inspiration, faith, determination, drive, and love.
I hope that by living my life, by meeting the challenges head on, by continuing to keep moving my feet forward, I am able to give a little bit of it back.