Sometimes I just can’t hold back the frustration. Sometimes I just can’t seem to keep my uneasy feelings at bay. Sometimes, the thoughts that spin around in my head catch me by surprise and shake my spirited core back and forth in disbelief, and then, sometimes I remember how lucky I am, I remember how much I have, and I remember how far I have come. In the blink of an eye, I am reminded of the people in my life, the faces that I see smiling back at me, the faith and hope and inspiration that I feel all around me, and then, everything seems to be ok.
It doesn’t take long to go from one extreme to the other. It doesn’t take long for my day to go from cold, grayed gloom, to a warming ray of sunshine, then back again. My mind, some days, is a moldable mess of confused agitation, hollowed out distress and barely manageable disarray. There are though, those days when everything seems to fit. There are days when no matter how much I lose my balance to the right, or stumble to the left, it feels strangely ok. Even though my bubble is off center, I can find some sense of gratitude with what ever the day throws at me.
I realize these days that I am still in the early stages of this new portion of my life. I’m like a kid caught between kindergarten and first grade. So much behind me, but yet, so far still to go. Sometimes, it’s overwhelming to think what might lie in front of me for the rest of my life. That was one of the toughest parts of the first few months of my vision loss. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the rest of my life and what it would be like going through it as a blind billy goat. I grieved and cried and fought and surrendered and fought back again and struggled and gained and fell behind and pounded my fist and finally came to understand that like so many other times in my life, I would have to find a way to absorb, adapt and advance.
Becoming blind, like any other challenge that life throws at you, brings with it a multitude of situations and circumstances that constantly remind you just how vulnerable you are. How vulnerable we all are. Precious little pieces of amazing existence, surrounded by life. What an amazing combination of things our lives are made up of.
As I was saying, with each of my days comes a torrent of emotions, swirling and flooding in on my ever expanding portfolio of life. Some times I don’t know whether I am coming or going. Some times all I can do is stop, try to take it all in, then move another foot forward. My wife tells me it’s better if I grab my cane first, but the old me insistently and quietly screams “No!” from deep inside. Fact is, I still don’t like my cane very much. I respect it, and understand its importance, but I just don’t like it very much. You see, it keeps reminding me that I can’t see. It keeps whispering in my ear how foolish it would be for me to try walking around unfamiliar places with no vision. It keeps poking me and informing me that walking into telephone poles in Newton Mass isn’t really something you can put in your resume. It reminds me, and as stubborn as I can be, I listen anyways.
Losing vision is two words that mean so much more. Losing sight is one of those things that you always take for granted that it will happen to someone else. Becoming blind is a state of mind that unexpectedly enters an innocent life and unpacks its bags before anyone knows what’s going on.
I’m pretty sure that I don’t process information the same way that I did back when my vision was good. In those first few months, I don’t think I could remember how to count to ten on most days. My head was so chock full of clutter that I couldn’t move around up there. It was like moving day, and I didn’t have anything packed yet.
Sometimes I get confused. Sometimes I get agitated. Sometimes I don’t even realize I am blind. Sometimes I can’t forget it. Sometimes there seems to be direction in my life. Sometimes, it feels like I am walking up the down escalator. Sometimes I scream inside with self pity and confused doubt, but all times, I am blessed. I have as much now, as I did before. I’m talking non material things, like family, friends, faith, hope and love.
It’s not that I have gained so much more since I lost my sight, its that I have opened up my eyes and noticed what was always there. I say this and think this from time to time, it’s as though I lost my vision, so that I could learn how to see.
Oh, I’ll probably continue to get annoyed, frustrated, angry, confused, agitated, spun around and knocked back, but with it all comes a new insight, a new perception, a new way to approach situations and a different way of maneuvering my way through my day.
Sometimes I can feel the inspiration all around. Sometimes I’m told that I’m the one doing the inspiring.
If by being, I inspire, then I have found purpose. Who would have dreamed? Who’d a thunk? I wonder what I could have done with my life if I had this mind set back when I could see. I wonder what paths in my life might have changed course if I had these perceptions back then. I wonder, but then I remember that I am here, I have experienced, and I will continue being me, no matter what comes along.
Sometimes I have to stop and figure out where I am. Sometimes I have to look for the light to find my day. Sometimes I have to reach out and feel my way through the doorway. Sometimes, having no vision, is just another way of being.