The Gospel reading this Sunday is the story in John 9 about the man born blind. About a year ago, when my blog was still very new, one of my first posts was a reflection on this Gospel story. I was thinking about this story tonight and decided to go back and look at my words from a year ago. this is what I wrote:
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Bible story of the man born blind in John, chapter 9. I am intrigued by the opening passage.
As he passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”
As a person with a disability looming at my door, I often question what I have done to bring this about. In both a physical sense and a spiritual sense, I wonder if I deserve to have low vision. I examine my life with questions reaching from “Have I not eaten enough leafy green vegetables?” to “Am I stressing my arteries by carrying this extra weight?” to “Is God trying to teach me something?” to “What sin have I committed to deserve this?” Everything I have learned about the divine mystery has taught me that God is loving and generous, but my self-blaming mind sometimes wonders if this low vision is some kind of punishment. Like the disciples, I attribute this oncoming blindness to sin, my own sin.
To ease my troubled conscience, Jesus’ answer to the disciples reassures that blindness is not due to sin. Jesus deepens the reassurance by giving a purpose to the blindness of the man – so that the works of God might be made visible through him. What a glorious purpose. This man’s disability is going to be used for the glory of God. When I translate this to my own life, my spirit is awakened. My low vision is not because of my sin or because I deserve it. Going even deeper, I understand that my low vision could have the power to make the works of God visible. This problem, this inconvenience, this disability is really grace in disguise. I believe that God can use me, through this journey into low vision, to reveal something of the divine glory to the world.
When I was a teenager, I thought that this revelation of glory could only come about by restoring my sight. Like the restoration of sight to the man born blind, my renewed sight would be the miracle that would show God’s glory. Now I understand that the miracle can be lived out in a different way. There are many paths through which God can use my low vision to reveal glory. For now, I believe that one path that is essential for me to follow is to try to look at the world with loving eyes, with eyes that see beauty. If I can learn to do this, I believe that God can use me – the works of God may be made visible through me. Not in spite of my low vision but because of it. This is just amazing to me and I pray and yearn for it to become reality.
Back to present day and I am amazed when I read my resolve to be positive and to look for beauty in the world. That decision has really impacted my life over the last year. Having a positive attitude has become more easy for me. When I am feeling down or when circumstances seem less than fortunate, I look for blessings and believe that I will eventually find them. I am thrilled again by the words of the gospel
it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.
I have been so blessed over the course of the past year to have people tell me that my writing and my positive attitude has helped them. I feel happy that I have been able to help people come to terms with their own vision loss by telling my story. I hope that I am helping people find some peace and beauty in their own journeys. I no longer question why I am on this low vision journey. I believe that I am making this journey so that the works of God might be made visible. If I can keep looking for beauty and finding grace, I believe that this dream will be accomplished.