An Unexpected Gift
In 2011 I joined a couple writer’s groups. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what to do. The only thing I knew was that I loved to write, and planned on writing a lot. You see, losing my vision and then learning how to touch type brought a purpose to my life that seemed to take up the slack of so many other things that came to a sudden and abrupt halt. Writing filled my days, my nights, my dreams and reinstated a passion in me that had always been there, but over the years had been suppressed by other things that I convinced myself I needed more than writing and more than living.
Through the years of growing up and becoming a man, I didn’t really do much growing up. With all the wreckless attitudes and behaviors that entangled my existence, even though I found the love of my life and held my baby son in my arms, there wasn’t much growth inside me emotionally. The suppressions of addiction put a stop to my journey, and although the years passed, there were less and less of life’s happenings that defined me as a man, as a person, as something I could have, and should have become.
I always toyed with the idea that if I stopped my addictions, I would instantly be transformed into the man I might have been. I convinced myself that with a little sobriety, everything would just, happen. The only person I fooled with this train of thought was myself. I never achieved growing up, because I never learned how to grow from the inside, out. I never really listened to the learned experience that those mentors of the halls tried explaining to me. I didn’t understand how a person needs to listen to their heart, to their inner being, in order to be able to start the transformation. Although this process doesn’t really stop until the day we take our last breath, the journey that transpires is something that the human spirit should always have the pleasure of experiencing.
Something happened inside of me in 2010. All that I knew, all that I was, all that I thought I had figured out was swiftly swept away by the winds of change. What I was left with was dramatically unfamiliar and completely unexpected. Although I couldn’t see the man staring back in the mirror, I felt his heart pounding, his blood surging, his emotions rising and falling like the tides of West Quoddy. I truly believe this is when I started taking my first steps forward of life’s progression in a long, long time.
At a recent meeting of one of the writer’s groups I take part in, we were asked to talk about a gift we had received, or given to someone that had something to do with writing. I thought and thought about what I would present, but I couldn’t think of anything that I had received or given that had anything to do, even remotely, with writing. Yes, it’s true that my passion for writing had begun at a very young age, but I never really told anyone about it, and had never known anyone else who loved to write. I was left with a dilemma that had me searching through my database of memories, but kept coming up empty.
A few hours before the meeting started, I remembered something I had written of a few times, and had also spoke of while talking about my writing these past four years. I decided that this was the only true gift I had received that had anything at all to do with writing, so I chose to use it for the meeting’s discussion.
My turn finally came around, and I was asked to describe something I had received, or had given as a gift for the purpose of writing. I spoke of the days in early Summer 2010 when my world suddenly went dark. I spoke of a life changing event that turned the tables of my life and spun me towards a direction that at first frustrated me beyond belief, but as time went by, opened my eyes to a new path of existence. I spoke of how becoming blind presented me with a new opportunity to explore parts of myself that had been at the tips of my fingers for my whole life. I spoke of how becoming blind presented me with the gift of the written word, and all that surrounds the possibilities that writing presents.
The forum of writers was quiet as I tried to convey the message swirling around in my head, and when I finished, these writers remained quiet for a few more moments. The ensuing response I received was poetically positive, and actually took my breath away. I’m not sure if I caught everyone off guard, and perhaps I even caught myself off balance, but as my heart started to return back into my chest, I knew that every word I spoke was indeed from my heart and meant everything that it could.
I don’t know if I’m finding the proper words right now to describe the moment, or the feelings, but after the meeting, I felt a cleansed awareness that stayed with me for a few days.
It was true. I had received a gift the day I lost my vision, and the gift was being reintroduced to my lifelong passion for writing. It was there all the time, but from those early days of Summer 2010, I slowly came to the realization that it had suddenly become a source of growth for me. Writing helped me get through a traumatic experience, and with it came an opportunity to heal, to grow and step towards the man I may someday become.
I am blessed for each opportunity I have encountered since then, and have tried to take each situation head on and make the most of it. With opportunity comes growth, and these past four plus years have given me more of an opportunity than any other period of time in my life. Mix in the love of my wife, my son, my grandson, family members, friends, and others in the blind community I have come to admire and love, and how can a man go wrong?
My vision loss, my gift of losing sight has given me new experiences, new direction, new purpose and a new beginning. It has given me countless writings that have taken me away and brought me back. It has given me more than I realize, but it has also given me more than I could ever say.
I am blessed today, and I’m just beginning to understand why.