Some days you’re the person, and some days you’re the mobility cane. Some days your arm stops at your hand, and some days it extends all the way down to the rolling marshmallow tip of that same mobility cane. Some days the world comes to you, and some days you have to go to the world.
Lately, it seems as though I’m having to go to the world. Lately, everything seems to be two inches to the right. Lately, I’m about as blind as you can be, and being blind is the last thing I want to be.
I was down in sunny Florida with family a few weeks back. It was the first time I had seen my little brother in 9 years, as well as the first time since losing my vision back in 2010, and although I couldn’t see his face, when he spoke, I was flooded with memories of him, his smile, his eyes, his nose, his mouth and chin and ears, and I never actually felt sad that I couldn’t see him, because I felt as though I could. When he saw me, he came up to me and hugged me, but he didn’t let go, and neither did I. I felt closer to him at that moment than I ever had, and it was pure medicine.
Thinking back, a smile a mile wide just crept across my face.
I’ve often talked about how my other senses jumped up a couple notches since losing sight. There’s a lot more going on than just those heightened senses though. There’s an inner awareness that I can’t put a finger on. I don’t really know why, but I get these emotional waves crashing through me that fill every nook and cranny of my being. From the simplest things, to the more complex, when these moments grab hold of me, there ain’t nothing I can do except try to remember to breathe.
My wife and I were walking down an aisle at a grocery store a few days ago, and from a couple rows over, I heard a young child’s boisterous voice booming out to her mother. This little person probably couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4, and she had no idea just how precious she was, or he was. Anyway, as has happened to me a few times, when I heard this amazingly innocent tone, another one of those emotional swells rose up through me, and I couldn’t breathe, or swallow. It was wonderful. A true gift of the soul, and as I grabbed hold of the shopping cart, I shook my head and just tried to enjoy the moment, for what a moment it was.
I can tell you that my emotions have gone through quite a bit these past five years. I have felt grief beyond belief, but I have also felt a remarkable joy from time to time that perhaps I had felt before, but never paid mind to it as I do these days. What I can’t see, I can surely feel, and what my eyes don’t gaze upon, my heart gathers in and observes as never before.
When I was in Florida, our family clan got up one morning and set off for our daily attempt at taking on the day. I did my usual morning get ready stuff, which ended by putting on my favorite chocolate sneakers.
Thanks D. I love ya!
Anyway, later on that afternoon as we arrived back to my sister’s home, one of my siblings walked up to me and asked me if I knew I had my sneakers on the wrong feet.
Of course I didn’t, and of course I felt like a blind billy goat on a mission to confuse the enemy, which I more than likely did.
The room opened up in a round of laughter that lifted my spirits up past my overflowing humility.
Right foot, left, or something like that.
It’s hard to believe that I’ve gone more than five years without vision. It’s hard to think of how many miles I have walked on the moon. It’s hard to imagine how many words I’ve typed since those summer months of 2010.
I’m fortunate for having been afforded the things that have graced my life these past five years. I’m blessed for the people I’ve met, but mostly, I’m grateful for the inspiration that’s helped me to find the strength to keep sweeping my cane back and forth. Moving forward. It has a nice ring to it, don’tcha think?
Without the determination and motivation that I hear within the voices, my chocolate sneakers wouldn’t have many places to go. There’s only one direction that ever proves beneficial, and that’s forward. Not backwards, just forward.
Can you imagine a blind goat like me trying to walk backwards with a mobility cane?