A Bit about Blindness
By Mila Nataliya A. Govorukha
I woke up this morning and, without opening my eyes, felt how dizzy I was. My early morning prayer will be much longer than usual, I thought to myself disappointedly. I prayed for my health, against dizziness, then for health for my kids, my mom and sister, then for all kinds of issues, big and small, and finally against dizziness and weakness again. It won’t stop! I will not be able to get up as fast as I usually do.
For the fifth morning in a row I’ve woken up with strong dizziness: everything spinning wildly and a drum orchestra marching in my head, bombarding my ears from the inside. Every tiny move seems to take forever. I make my way to the toilet, making sure I hold tightly to the wall and that I feel both of my feet straight and sturdy on the floor. A distance of a few meters takes an effort.
Then a few minutes putting on the kettle, unable to light the matches easily. I’m slowly becoming angry, first with myself and then with the situation. I wash my face. By accident I bump my head slightly against the water tab. That’s it! It is just the first hour of the day, but I’ve already lost it.
What is this? I was a good girl, I was! (“My Fair Lady” is echoing in my head.) I remember to pray every morning and spend some time with Jesus. I also went to see the doctor. She prescribed some medicine and a series of massages for my neck and upper back. She also recommended that I attend a group session at the clinic for special medical exercises, which will help my blood to flow freely from my heart to my head to my brain and back. I started all of that right after the prescription.
But now, a few days later, the dizziness is still there. My knees are weak. Everything goes round. I can’t even read, because it is difficult to focus my eyes.
Making tea, I spill some water. At this point my pity party starts in full sway. I feel so sorry for myself, all miserable, imagining the worst possible scenarios, starting with no food in the fridge, then going to shortages of income, then proceeding to ambulance and hospital, etc. And I am not even fifty!
This number somehow brings to my remembrance that there are millions of people on this planet who deal with the same type of problems, not to mention countless cases that are so much worse. And many of them are five, ten, or twenty years older. Not all of them look shaky, with nonstop rumbles and grumbles. I have to get myself together somehow. Shame on me!
I was reminded of a physiotherapist I recently met who is in charge of my massage sessions. I’d seen him before a couple of times, never paying much attention. He was the typical doctor, with neatly cut hair, white medical scrubs, a low voice. The only thing I noticed once was his strange eyes.
The last time I met him, I needed to register for the massages, so I had to go into his office and talk to him. He comes out from behind some curtains, comes very close to me and asks if I have a therapeutist’s referral. Then he asks me to read it aloud. I am surprised, but I start reading. Maybe his hands are oily from a massage and he doesn’t want to stain the paper.
He invites me behind the curtain, sits at his table, and pulls out a strange-looking notebook and a thin aluminum plate with many symmetrical square holes. He asks my full name and starts “writing,” making designated holes with something like a pencil in those tiny squares. Gosh! He is completely blind! I am shocked. Never in my life have I seen a blind person this close. And of course, I’ve never seen someone writing in Braille right in front of me. I watch carefully, perplexed. He had to ask my surname a second time. He filled in some more data and put his journal away.
I am now on the massage table. He massages my neck and chats nonchalantly about the weather and informs me that he will be absent for two weeks on vacation. I didn’t know that blind people could travel for vacations! I didn’t know anything about blind people.
After my questions about other types of massages, he explains in detail about his private massage office in another building. Why do we call them handicapped exactly? He works on a muscle near my shoulder that I didn’t know about and smartly but simply explains some details about the problems I am encountering. Who decided to call them disabled? Feeling disabled myself, I admire this successful man, completely blind, who, while called an invalid by others, saves me from my pain and helps my body to function.
This short scene from a few days ago snaps me back. I am ashamed of my faintheartedness, I feel guilty for my self-pitiful state. It would be so good to have a “delete” button or a “replay” key.
Let’s revise the plot of my morning.
I woke up this morning and without opening my eyes felt how dizzy I was. Oh, today my dizziness is not as bad as yesterday! Thank God! I have no pains in my head or neck. I am conscious. I have gadgets to check the time and the weather. The day will be warm and sunny! Praise the Lord!
I prayed for my health, against dizziness, then for health for my kids, my mom and sister, then for all kinds of issues, big and small. I am so privileged to know that God Himself hears my prayers and answers them, having my best interests in mind.
Everything is spinning, a drum orchestra is marching in my head. Okay, the good news is I can still see quite well, even without glasses, and I can hear the neighbors through the open window of my own tiny cute apartment with nice colors and pretty plants on the windowsill.
I make my way to the toilet, making sure I hold tightly to the wall and that I feel both of my feet straight and sturdy on the floor. Wait! Let me put some music on. Thank God, I have a tablet and the Internet. Now I can pretend that I am dancing on my way to the bathroom. Isn’t it great that I am able to do all that?
I put on the kettle and remember my encounter with the blind doctor. Being spiritually blind is much more dangerous and disheartening than physical blindness. Help me, Jesus, to see Your presence in every little thing that surrounds me.
Having a cup of strong hot tea, my favorite type, with a nice piece of chocolate completes the start of my morning. A bee flies in and makes a small circle over my blossoming coral-colored geranium.
Dear God, please fix the disabilities in my heart, mind, spirit, and body! “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”1 Open my eyes, O Lord, so I can see! “Open my eyes so that I will observe amazing things from your instruction.”2