John and I had the most thought-provoking discussion tonight. A Facebook friend posted on his wall that he was very angry. A couple of strangers stopped him on the street and told him they would pray that his sight would be restored.
I understood right away, on a visceral level, why this made him angry. John did not. As John and I talked about it, I said that I have a lot of things I would rather that people pray about for me than regaining my sight.
I have learned so much since my eyesight began to deteriorate. I am more happy and peaceful now than I have ever been in my life. My spiritual life is deep and powerful. I am more loving and caring and less judgmental toward everyone. My journey to low vision has been filled with many, many blessings. I don’t know if any path, other than low vision, could have brought me to this place.
So, the question is, do I want people to pray that my sight will be restored? My initial answer is “no.” John can not believe it. He reminded me that there are many people praying for me. I am very grateful for their prayers. But, I guess I never thought about what they are praying for. Are they praying that my sight will get better? I actually hope not. I don’t know that I want anyone to pray for that. I hope that they are praying that I have the strength to face whatever my future holds. I hope they are praying that I see the beauty in the world, with whatever vision I have left and with my heart. I hope they are praying that I become the best, most loving person I can possibly be.
As our conversation went on, John asked if I am hoping that technology improves so that I can regain perfect vision. I have to say, I don’t know. Even I am surprised by this answer. I have to think long and hard about why I would not jump for joy if offered this opportunity. And maybe I would, if the chance was right in front of me. But maybe I wouldn’t. I am not saying that I want my eyesight to get worse, or that I am going to stop the treatments that keep it stable, but I don’t long for my vision to improve.
Our conversation made me think of a Buddhist story.
An old farmer had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. His neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“We shall see,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “Such good luck,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“We shall see,” replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his bad luck. “We shall see,” answered the farmer. The next day, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. “We shall see,” said the farmer.
So many good things have come from my vision deterioration that I can not see it as a bad thing. In my mind, I equate those who would pray that my sight be restored with the foolish neighbors who judged a situation as good luck or bad luck based on one day’s occurrences. Unless someone can see my whole life’s path, how could he possibly know whether I will live a better life if I am fully sighted or if I have low vision?
I have to think about this whole subject a lot more before I can articulate my deepest feelings and thoughts about it. I do know that I would not give up the lessons I have learned from this journey, or the blessings that have been poured out on me, for anything. I hope that I will continue to grow and learn, no matter what happens to my eyesight. If I am going to pray for anything for myself, it will be to gain wisdom, not eyesight.