Visual impairment is a challenge I have had to deal with for all my life. Kjers Optic Neuropathy is a hereditary degenerative eye condition that makes me very near sighted. I am considered legally blind (although, you wouldn’t be able to tell it by looking at me). Because the problem lies in my optic nerve and not the eye ball itself glasses do not correct my vision. And so, my whole life I have learned coping mechanisms to try to make me look and act “normal.” I look people in the general vicinity of their eye balls when in conversation. I comment on paintings in waiting rooms. I always drive the speed limit. (Just kidding—I don’t drive.)
Through the years, concerned people have developed technologies that have greatly improved the safety, independence, and overall quality of life of the visually impaired. Tools such as the white cane, braille, speech to text and voice over, and bump dots have aided people who are blind to achieve great things—or some semblance of “normalcy.”
For the first three decades of my life I tried my hardest to just fit in, to look “normal.” I used magnifiers from time to time, but, other than that, I never fully embraced the tools for the blind. The heart of the problem was a problem of my heart—I wasn’t happy with the way God made me. I wasn’t honest about who I am. I got tired of the struggle of not being “sighted” and not being “blind.” I had to acknowledged that I was a person that was blind and that God had a plan for me. Once I was honest about who I was I could accept the tools God had graciously inspired to help me gracefully live my life for His glory.
In April of 2016 I began my crash course in Orientation and Mobility with a local O & M Instructor. The white cane and I became well acquainted over a year’s period of time. And then, I got a call from Guide Dogs of the Desert in Palm Springs, California. They had a match for me. In April of 2017, I navigated my way through Denver International Airport with a white cane to go to Palm Springs. A month later, I navigated my way back through DIA with McQueen, my 80 pounds of Chocolate, to go back home.
McQueen has been a wonderful guide, companion, assistant “pastor”, and friend. He is not a tool but a living, breathing creature that God has gifted to guide me through my days. In months to come I will post “Lessons from McQueen” as illustrative anecdotes on living life for God. But for starters, here are a few thoughts from my personal journey:
1. We all need to be honest about who we are. Just like I was born with a physical hereditary eye condition, we all have been born with a spiritual hereditary condition.
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
2. We all need to accept what God has graciously provided for us to have a grace filled life. Just as I had to accept the help offered me for my physical limitations, we all must accept God’s gift for our spiritual limitations.
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
3. We all must follow our Guide—the Word of God.
John 5:39 “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
2 Timothy 3:15-17 “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
I told you that I can get through any day with my God and 80 pounds of Chocolate. Good news! You can navigate through life, too! With Christ as your Saviour and God’s Word as your Guide you can make it through any day for ever!