True vision is one of life’s greatest gifts

What is your first memory, the first thing you remember seeing that you have never forgotten?

I was a baby, crying in my crib, all alone in the dark. Suddenly, through a window, I saw the moon. And the moon saw me. I smiled and the moon smiled back. Then he bent down to wrap me in his long arms of light. And I fell into a deep sleep.

Did it really happen? I do not know. But I think about it every time I see the moon or I’m scared. It always makes me smile.

True vision – the ability to see with more than our eyes – is one of life’s greatest gifts.

As a child, I used this gift to find my way through a troubled world. One look on my mother’s face would tell me to leave her alone. A path in the woods would lead to a place of peace. A dog chasing me told me I had a friend. And a sunset on the mountain would sing the beauty of life and promise me better days.

When I was 4, my mother presented me with what looked like a sack of potatoes wrapped in a yellow blanket.

“What is that?” I said.

“He’s your brother,” she said. “Call him Joe.”

She didn’t say he was a prophet, but I could see it in his eyes. When Joe was 6 months old, crawling like a box turtle chasing a beetle, my mom told me he was blind.

“He can’t be blind,” I said. “He always smiles in my face.”

“He smiles at your voice,” she said. “He will never see your face.”

Since that day, thanks to my brother, vision is a gift that I never take for granted.

Joe taught me to see and hear. It opened my eyes, my ears and even my heart to sights, sounds and feelings that I had never noticed.

“Sister,” he said, “what does it look like?”

And I tried to describe the wind in the trees or the ticking of a clock or the color of a cardinal’s wings, all pieces of life’s beautiful puzzle that I had never put into words.

He said, “Hey, listen! Mom is home!

Then our old Ford parked in the yard. He knew each car and its driver by the clank of its engine and the rumble of its tires on the road.

Singing to him to sleep was a chore, but it was easier to sing than to argue. When he finally fell asleep, he would keep my thumb in his fist. Some chores are worth doing to feel useful.

Joe and I lived our adult lives thousands of miles apart, but somehow we stayed close.
We were both married (Joe for 10 years, me for 30 years) to great people. Losing them to cancer taught us to grieve, a lesson we never wanted to learn. We also lost our mother, stepfather and younger brother. And with each defeat, we got closer.

Our worldview is never complete without insight and imagination. We have to imagine everyone and everything, not just with our eyes, but with our minds, hearts and souls.

We can choose to seek the best in life, in strangers and loved ones (even those we don’t love); finding hope in despair, courage in fear, joy in sorrow and gratitude in need; be kind and offer forgiveness and grace, even to ourselves.

True vision is an unshakable belief in better days to come.

When my children were born, I wanted the first thing they saw in life to be love. So I held them in front of my face and waited for them to open their eyes and look into mine.

Then I smiled and said, “I’m your mom. And I will love you forever.”

Now they have children that I consider mine. Every day, I close my eyes and imagine each and every one of them in their healthiest, happiest, and best state. I hope they imagine it too.

My totally blind brother is blessed with real vision. He lives alone, can barely walk, but rarely complains. Instead, he talks about the good he sees in life, the kindness of the people at his church, and how much he loves the Clemson Tigers.

If we seek the best, we will find it. Just close your eyes and look around you. As Joe likes to say, even a blind man can see it.

Sharon Randall is the author of “The World and Then Some”. She can be reached at PO Box 922, Carmel Valley CA 93924, or www.sharonrandall.com.

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