My blindness is nothing! The small patch of vision that remains is enough for me to function in familiar situations without most people knowing that I have vision loss. Recently, I met a young man, totally blind and brave enough to take on the world, by himself.
I was on the campus where my niece was finishing up the last weeks of her senior year. It was an amazing day and I was walking around the beautiful campus while she was in class. When I first saw this young man, he was leaning against a light pole. The first thing I noticed was his stick. Then I started watching him.
He was intently listening to something on his phone. I walked on by, totally impressed. Then I heard him start walking. I stopped, pretending to check my phone, as if he would have known. Truly, I wanted to see how he faired. I noticed that he was trying to turn left from the sidewalk. He managed to avoid tripping on the the curb a number of times. I wondered if I should offer assistance. I saw a young man walk by and hesitate to see if he need assistance but walk on. Then he found the area to step off the sidewalk.
He walked across the parking lot straight toward a car, so I figured that was his destination, since he was walking straight toward it so confidently. Then, he ran into it. Well, his stick ran into it. He turned back around and retraced his steps to the sidewalk. It was then that I could not stay uninvolved.
I asked if I could help him. He did not hear me at first because he was concentrating on hearing what he was listening to. So I asked him again. He asked if I knew where a certain building was. I did not. I know where the science buildings and the library and student center are. I tried to tell him where we were standing, but that did not help him. He thanked me and said his app would reroute him in a moment or two.
I apologized and told him I was sorry I could not help him, that I was a visitor, there with my niece and did not know the campus very well. He laughed and said, “I’m a sophomore, I should know where things are by now!” I walked with him a way and introduced myself. He told me his name and with dry humor, told me he would shake my hand but his were kind of full. I told him about my partial vision loss and that I was amazed at what he was doing.
I was and am amazed. I can see what is right in front of me, through a haze, but am hesitant and anxious in new situations and unknown locations. If I was in this young man’s shoes, I probably would be a coward to venture out of the house, let alone be in my second year of college.
I walked with him until our paths split. I wished him well and kept turning around to make sure he was doing OK. He was. He was back on the track he was familiar with and eating up that sidewalk with his head high and back straight.
Why didn’t I walk with him? I would have loved to have known his full story. Yes I got him back on the sidewalk going the right direction, but why didn’t I continue to walk with him? It would have just been an extra walk for me, not that far from where I was going. I know I missed a blessing from not continuing our conversation (…and not making sure he got where he needed to be.) He wasn’t afraid. If anything, he seemed confident
There are so many people out there that are frozen in place by fear. I am not afraid, but neither am I fearless! I step out and do a lot of things that surprise others that I am willing and able to do. I don’t want my vision loss to define me. It is just something that is there. I accept it as who I am in this season of my life. I want to use it to bring glory to my God. I have every confidence that if it was meant for me to be healed, I would be. But for now, I will be who I am without fretting about what is gone.
There is so much life left to live. I want to tackle it head on, without fear. God’s Word tells us, so many times, not to fear, not to be afraid. It is not always easy, but if you will lean into Jesus, He will make ways that you could have never dreamed possible.
So on this last day of 2021, as you begin 2022, look your fears in the eye and tell them that Jesus has already won the victory over fear!
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel:’Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.’” Isaiah 43:1
“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.” Isaiah 54:4
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27