We went to hear the RPO last night.  They were performing Verdi’s Requiem, so I knew that it would be a wonderful evening.  I had a little trouble seeing as we walked from the parking garage into the theater, but I held John’s arm and made it without incident.  The real trouble began as we entered the theater and I looked around.  I realized that I can not see.  At all.  It was a horrifying, shocking realization.  Somehow, when I am home in my own environment, I feel like I can see.  Maybe it’s because I know where everything is.  Maybe it’s because it’s a smaller space.  Whatever the reason, when I walked into that theater and looked around, everything was a blur.

I clutched John’s arm.  He, also, has been fooled by my ease at home into believing that my vision is not that bad.  John led us to the usher, who took us to our seats.  I sat down, feeling safe now that I was in my seat.  I looked around, testing my vision.  I could see the people in the row directly in front of us.  They were clear enough that I could make out their faces, their clothes.  Two rows ahead, the people were already a blur.  Three rows ahead, I could just make out that one man was standing.  I turned my eyes toward the stage and saw…nothing.  A complete and total wash of darkness.  I knew that the musicians were up there – I could hear them warming up.  But I could not see them.  I leaned over and whispered the news to John, “I can’t see anything.”  He understood my words, but I don’t know whether he grasped the depth of my despair as I came to terms with the truth of my visual impairment.  I sat in my seat as the theater darkened and tears rolled down my cheeks.  I felt sad, confused, desperate.

It is a blessing that the RPO was performing Requiem.  As soon as the musicians began to play, the music transported me.  I was no longer a sad woman grappling with vision loss.  i was a participant in an experience of grace.  Last night, the death that Requiem was offered for was my old life, my vision, my expectations.  The music allowed me to grieve, entered into my grief with me, soothed my soul.  My desolation was replaced by consolation.  During that 90 minutes, it did not matter that I couldn’t see, because my entire body became a vessel to hear and contain Requiem.

I return to work at my part time job today, then at my full time job tomorrow.  I am scared to death.  I know that people with visual impairments and even blindness have jobs.  But working with this limitation seems an insurmountable barrier to me.  My experience last night gives me both fear and hope.  Desolation and consolation.  My old life is dead.  I can not reenter the world of the fully-sighted.  But I have grieved that death.  I have celebrated its Requiem.  Now, it is time to begin a new chapter, a new life.  I can have hope.  God will provide the grace I need.


12 thoughts on “Requiem

  1. I am hoping when you read this you have finished your job today with a feeling of utter accomplishment! I know the struggle and may be in that position again soon also. Going to Johns Hopkins next week for my third opinion. Vision has stabilized but I keep reading your posts for encouragement. You are a guide to those who CAN see (smiling)


    • Yes, Pam, I do have a great sense of accomplishment (and I will celebrate right after I take a little nap). Good luck at your appointment. I hope they can give you the answers you are seeking.

  2. Belinda,
    I have enjoyed reading your blog. When I was reading about you not being able to curl up with a good book, I remembered something. When Ryan was younger, he had a hard time reading. I came across the New York State Talking Book and Braille Library, when we were at the library in the mountains. I thought I would pass this on to you, just in case you haven’t heard of it.
    The phone number is 800-342-3688 and their email address is The paper I have says it has an adult section. God Bless!

  3. Great post Belinda.

    The level of anxiety and helplessness when entering a new area can be incredibly scary.

    It is something that gets easier with time, but I wont lie to you I am still anxious in new environments.

    I do try and push myself continuously and my current life goals are a testament to that. Anything is possible we just need to adapt in new ways everyday.

    • I am really blessed that my husband constantly encourages me to step out of my comfort zone. Sometimes I resist, but I know that the benefits of pushing through the fear always outweigh the risks. Thanks for the affirmation.

  4. Belinda –
    You’re courage and willingness to share your thoughts and fears is very inspiring. You will never be alone. I’ll be praying for you as you begin work this week. Thank you for writing your blog. I look forward to reading it.


  5. I know God will provide you with grace and the necessary patience to move into this new deminition in which you will thrive and have purpose and being.
    Ask and he will hear…..
    Thank you for giving voice to so many of our struggles and joys. Peace and Love,

  6. It was a wonderful concert, wasn’t it? You will be in our prayers this week as you go back to work. You will never be alone.

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