Recently, in our Senior Scribblers Zoom meeting, I made some reference to my being a low-vision person, and when no one asked questions or mentioned it, I wondered for a moment if I had done the right thing.
These kind people in Franklin, Massachusetts, allow me to participate in a weekly romp in literary joy with my peers. I mean, what could be nicer? We share our humble written words with stories of our growing up years or what is going on in our lives that we can share with others who understand our words, no matter how archaic, and those who listen intensely without judgment (at least openly). Then, if suggestions come after reading, we take it like the champs we are and move on.
So, the thing I had been dreading, the mentioning of my deficient vision, went without a hitch. I sighed with relief, both happy not to have to explain and get it out in the open so that the others would know the reason for my squinting and sometimes reading at a halting and (for me) embarrassingly slow pace.
I want to share with them and many others that I do not consider this eye thing the most important thing in my life. If anyone asked me, I would say this is the most critical change and challenge I have had in a long time, and when I realized that it is a blessing in disguise, I wanted to shout to the world, ” I am not disabled, I am nudged by God’s divine will for my life!” Now, that would take many people aback. First of all, they might wonder why a loving God would throw such a monkey wrench into anyone’s life, especially someone in her seventies, who had newly let go of a career for which she has a passion, who just came out of a series of health challenges and then …this?
Suppose you think I did not believe some of those things. You are wrong because the little pea-sized Zenobia entertained the thought of shaking her fists toward the heavens, screaming, “Why me?” The universal reply smacked me again like a gob of wet paper towels. “Because out of your trial, you will find triumph,” “There is a blessing in this lesson,” AND, as usual, “You will encourage others with your new testimony .”I always hear from God, and I never waste my time trying to explain to others what God sounds like. You know that you know that you know, and you get moving with the message and open a whole box of surprise strength you never knew you had.
I began utilizing my “condition” by wondering what I could do for others by sharing the resources I came into contact with. So I researched and banged at the door of organizations set up exclusively for the sight-impaired or blind. I was amazed! See, if you do not need certain services, you never think about them, but wow, as soon as you are in need, you do your research and homework, and you (hopefully) become hungry for more! Not just for yourself but for others who may not share your ambition and will sit in a corner and grow cobwebs on their bodies, afraid to reach out or try to get help.
I joined a few groups on social media but found the discussions repetitive and geared towards the “poor me” (sorry) crowd. I have always been a doer! After my poorly attended pity parties, I have been thrust right back into what it takes to get stronger, not surround myself with weakness and grumbling. I don’t know; it is just my way. Some say that sight loss is even worse than amputation, but I beg to differ.
The loss of some of my sight has pushed me to complete assignments, start new projects, and dig into my creative side. I am placing the finishing touches on a long-awaited memoir. I started up a new group on Facebook called Praise and Prayer and kept up daily devotionals on Facebook. I attend at least three Zoom meetings per week that have to do with uplifting communities and inspiring women of all ages to invest in themselves, health-wise, spiritually, and mentally.
I am thankful EVERY day for this life God has chosen to extend for me, and I am learning to do things with younger women, which I avoided for so many years. I am finding value in opinions other than my own and speaking life into dead situations. I am Learning to say no if it will cost me compromise and loving and receiving love (the latter has always scared me).
With the loss of some of my sight, I have gained further insight, and my inner vision has outdistanced my 20/20 limitations.
I have always enjoyed audio books, but I find them now to be essential since I cannot (for now) read 12-point font and am donating some of my books, except those signed by authors or gifted to me by special people in my life. Going to the library is so cool because I am accompanied by my friend Kiri who always advises the sweet young librarians that they need to make space on the shelves for an upcoming book by their newest local author, indicating yours truly. I always smile and say little, but I am so grateful for her friendship and faith in the writing I am diligent about. Did I say faith? I will not elaborate because I have made my stance clear.
I have great faith that all will be well. If my sight remains or improves, I am thankful. If one day I rise and my world is totally dark, I will adjust, much as I have the way things are, seeing things with furry, blurry circles around them. Some days are terrible, and others are almost clear, so I do not consent to the popular belief that once the doctor says it, the thing is written in stone. I have seen and been made privy to many miracles in this life and do not doubt that the giver of such has many more in store.
For anyone interested in audiobooks authored by blind and sight-impaired folks that will lift your hopes and your spirits, here is a small list:
Writing Out Loud: What a Blind Teacher Learned from Leading a Memoir Class For Seniors By Beth Finke
Losing Sight-Finding Vision- The author is Sheridan Gates
The Beauty of Dusk- Frank Bruni
Other resources for help are through https://Hadley.edu (A wealth of resources and classes we take online)
NLS (National Library Service for the Blind and Print impaired. I am hooking up with them, but I will give a full report of their services. I am a woman of prayer and will be praying for all who are still falling through the cracks, settling for basic help, or have no knowledge of what is available.
My email is ZisSAVED@aol.com if you want to know more about my services or my journey! Be Blessed until next time!
Psalm 119:105 KJV Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
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