Sometimes I read something and, even though I like it, it leaves my mind the second I finish reading and I never think of it again. Sometimes, though, words that I read stay with me and I keep returning to them, over and over, in my mind. A couple of weeks ago, I read a post on the blog RyanRecites that has been on my mind ever since. When I read it, I cried. It resonated with truth and touched something inside me. It speaks of my experience in a strange way that makes me feel both peaceful and uncomfortable. I have found that my compassion and ability to “see” people has increased tremendously as my vision has deteriorated. When I could see, I was mostly blind to people’s pain. Now that I am visually impaired, I am beginning to see the feelings that lie under the surface, to pick up on things that are not visible to the eye. I’m not trying to say that I am a better person now, just that I have exchanged one kind of sight for another. I have been aware of this new insight and have tried to deal more kindly and patiently with people that I come into contact with, but I have been unable to articulate this new grace. Ryan puts my experience into words so beautifully that I wanted to share what he wrote:
May 16, 2010
I’ve been blind for most of my life.
Sometimes people ask me about it, and I always tell them that the hardest part about my blindness was not my inability to see, but my sharp and delicate sense of hearing.
Whenever I went outside, I was attacked by quivers of insecurity, cries for belonging, and desperate screams for hope and love by the people around me. Everyone sang the most horrible song of pain day by day. Often, it was too much for me to handle.
When I was given sight, my hearing diminished. I wanted to see the world, but I was terrified to go outside because of what I heard. When I finally gathered enough courage to step out the door though, all I saw were a bunch people walking around with smiles.
It was the strangest thing.