I have been thinking lately about all the pieces of my life and how they fit together to make me just the person that I am, with my particular faith and sense of humor and insights and weaknesses and worldview.
One piece of my life that has really changed me is my journey of deteriorating vision. It has impacted my life on so many levels. On a physical level, obviously, my eyesight has diminished and that has been a loss. But on other levels, I think it has helped me to grow and has been a blessing. Here are three ways that having low vision has helped me to see.
- On an emotional level, I am more balanced and secure. I no longer look for drama or make big problems out of small inconveniences. In the past, I would allow small hurts to overwhelm me. I would cut off relationships with people rather than work through hurts, as if being alone was preferable to feeling pain. Since my vision began to diminish, I see the emotional world much differently. If I am going to live with low vision, I am going to have to be secure in myself AND willing to trust other people. From my new perspective, I can give other people the benefit of the doubt instead of jumping to conclusions. When I make mistakes, I am gentle with myself. When I feel hurt by something someone else does, I try to be just as gentle with that person.
- On an intellectual level, I am interested in exploring – learning new things and learning new ways to do the things I have done in the past. My curiosity has been awakened by my disability. I am more open to new ideas, less quick to judge and dismiss other people’s opinions. I want to know what is happening and why. I want to see and learn and explore and know the world and all its beauty. I want to learn to use all my senses to understand the world in new ways.
- On a spiritual level, I “see” in new ways. Divine grace is everywhere and I try to find it in every person and place and experience and obstacle that I encounter. I trust God. I know, now, that I do not have access to the big picture. I love to watch the action of grace in my life and all around me. I am in love with the mysteriousness of the way God works. I love people. I try to love more unconditionally. I listen. I pray differently than I did before. I feel connected to God in a new way now.
In a strange way, I am much more whole now than I have ever been in my life. I am more centered, more mindful, more connected with the divine, more loving, more free, more myself. If it took losing my vision to get me to this place, then I am grateful for my vision loss. If I had to choose, I would not trade where I am now for a life with perfect sight.