Thanks For Asking

People keep asking me how I am doing.  It’s not asked like a normal, casual question, but more with an intense, worried concern.  Sometimes, after I answer that I am doing well, they follow up with a “No, really, how are you really doing?”  I appreciate that people care about me and I am glad for their support.  But I don’t know how to answer them.  I thought that maybe, if I write out what I am thinking, it might be easier to answer the next concerned friend.

I am doing great.  I have accepted the fact that I have low vision.  For the most part, I have integrated deteriorating vision into my identity.  In a strange way, it fits me.  It feels almost like I’ve come home.  Does that make any sense?  Maybe it’s because I worried about my eyesight my whole life and now the worst is happening and so I don’t have to worry any more.

I was thinking about my situation the other day and I decided something that is significant to me.  While having these vision problems is a cross (and I am not going to minimize that fact), as crosses go, it is not a very heavy one.  My low vision is a cross that fits me.  If I were given a choice, I would not trade it for any other cross.

Some of the results of my vision loss are unpleasant.  Having to give up my youth ministry position is a prime example.  But I have learned many lessons through this process of losing vision.  I have found many blessings.  I have good days and bad days, of course.  But I had good days and bad days before my vision problems began to escalate.  My bad days are no worse than they were before.  My good days are some of the best days I have had in my life.  I find myself laughing a lot.  My marriage has grown stronger than ever.

I think my expectations for myself are more realistic.  I don’t beat myself up anymore for the things I do badly or don’t get done.  I accept myself.  I love myself.  I love the grace I find working in the world.  I focus on the good instead of dwelling on the bad.  I look at new paths that are opening up to me.  My good cheer is not fake.  It’s not an act or a cover-up.  It comes from a real, true, deep-down happiness with my life right now.

That’s how I’m really doing.


12 thoughts on “Thanks For Asking

  1. I have Retinitis Pigmentosa, too. Recently diagnosed. I can totally relate to what you all are saying here. I can still see OK, and I see that overly concerned look on people’s faces when they ask me how I’m dealing with the news, or how I’m doing…
    I still get really sad to think that I wont be able to paint one day. (I’m an artist, acrylics and oils mostly, but some watercolor and sketching too) But I also know that Monet finished his Waterlilies series after becoming legally blind, so I don’t think that RP will stop me, I will just find new ways to paint. That’s what it’s all about, right? Adapting and changing. I refuse to let this get me down, and for some reason, a lot of people can’t understand how I can tackle my impending blindness with humor and a positive attitude. It’s the only way I can think of to approach it.
    Anyways, I’m glad you shared, and I’m really glad I found your blog.

    • Hi. I am so glad that you wrote this comment. You have such a great attitude and that will make all the difference as you deal with RP. Adapting and changing and finding new ways are, indeed, what it’s all about. There are so many joys and blessings on this journey that it makes up for the deteriorating vision. I hope that you will write again and keep me updated on your journey and your art. Thanks, Belinda

  2. I have had so many people feel sorry for me as my vision deteriorates. I am not yet at your point but they get very sad and are unbelieving when I say I would rather have this problem (vision problems) than others. I have a way of telling people that it is okay. I tell them that it is life limiting not life threatening. It limits some things that I can do in life but it does not threaten my being. I too have good days and bad days and see so much of me in your blog postings. And I am one that will definitely tell someone exactly how I am feeling (chuckling). I guess I am not one to mince words according to my family and friends. When something bothers me you will definitely know. I get inspiration reading your blog and it is as if you are leading and guiding me down a path I may soon be following. Some things I have already or am currently experiencing in one way or another. But of the crosses there can be to bear I would take this one also over so many others. I am so happy I found your blog ((hugs))

    • Thank you, Pam. Your comments always make me feel so good. Maybe I should take my cue from you and not mince words with people. I tend to get tongue-tied and then later think of things “I should have said.” It is nice to have you as a companion on this journey. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Cool! and I agree with Eva, she said it perfectly. But for myself, if I seem “intensely concerned” it’s because I’ve had some times in my life when my vision was starting to give me problems and I wonder if the time comes I’ll be able to do what you and Theresa’s aunt have done to treat their vision problems. I guess the “worried concern” is selfish terror, not knowing if I can be so patient and follow through on what must be done. For now you’ll have to be content with being my hero and if I ever have such a cross to bear, I’ll be thinking of you to gain some strength.

    • Jim, I guess I should have been more specific about people expressing concern. I was not talking about you and Theresa or Eva or, actually, any of the youth group parents. You all seem to understand and accept me. There are people who refuse to believe that I am okay and keep pressing me to be “honest.” I feel like I have to defend my positive attitude to them. I very much appreciate your support and friendship.

  4. Hey I have Retinitis Pigmentosa and I am going through the same stuff you mentioned here. Things only get better when you accept them in your life!
    Life is meant to be enjoyed and is most done when we overcome the challenges we face 😉
    I am glad you shared what you feel, I can totally sync in with you. Cheers and God Bless 😉

    • I am so happy that you commented. It is nice to find someone who is in a similar position. I appreciate your positive attitude. Do you have things that you do to stay positive? My writing really helps me to find grace in every day. Perhaps we can continue to share and support each other. Thank you for your comment.

  5. Wow! I have Retinitis Peigmentosa too and This is exactly what I am going through as well. I can totally sync in with you! I am so glad you shared this. It is truly a Positive Insight to all Rper’s. God Bless 😉

  6. Belinda,
    I am very glad you are happy in your life. I am glad you are at peace and deeply in love. and I am honored to call you friend.

    • Thanks, Eva. I am sort of amazed to find myself so peaceful at this point in my life. Just when my future is so up in the air, I realize that I have everything I want and need right here and now. For the first time in my life (that I can remember) I am not afraid. I appreciate your friendship.

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