I had sorrow walk—no, wait, not walk, but rather race–into my life this spring: A small death of sorts. After weeks of being ill, I ended up in ER and spent a day of being sent from one specialist to another. I could tell by the tone in the specialists’ voices and the escalation of their education and conversation it was not going to bode well for me, and I was right: I have been diagnosed with bi-lateral glaucoma. In my right eye, I have what is known as acute right angle closure—now that’s a mighty big series of words, to me anyway, but it all simmers down to I have 7% vision in my right eye and everything else is black (well, black with hazing figures of dancing paisley in lava lamp grays). If I were to close my sighted eye and looked from it, and you were standing right in front me, it would be a good day if I saw the tip of your eyebrow, for perspective’s sake.
The bi-lateral part is that I have it in both eyes. Obviously, it can be swift, because along with the flu, cold and tonsillitis, I thought I had just contracted conjunctivitis. But it wasn’t the flu, it was my eyes putting pressure on my optic nerve and making me fluey and it wasn’t conjunctivitis, it was glaucoma. So I am not particularly pleased about this diagnosis, but I can see out of my left eye and I can drive today, and we will be working hard to keep it vision worthy. Only time will determine when it tires of our childish antics, for there are rarely signs. At that time, I will make my peace with darkness and find my miracles as I see them.
So THAT is the tough news, but here is the better news.
It’s crazy to look forward and understand, my future will probably be in darkness. With one eye blind, I am noticing a significant difference in my sight. Anything in any shadow disappears and the other night I actually got lost in a 10 foot-long hallway… couldn’t tell if I was coming or going. I had never experienced any moment like it in my life. Yes, it scared me. Not because I was in the dark, but because it was so new to me—the feeling and the experience. I noticed in the fear of that moment, I wasn’t afraid by what was happening, but more by what I felt as a result. And to my amazement, I found thoughts surfacing which were the miracles that have already been lived in another’s truth and with that one simple realization, I understood these miracles were already in me—not to mention the ones I will find my way to unearth or find their way to me: like stones being tumbled in the seas and then land at my feet, as if the sirens were washing gems ashore for my pleasure.
We all live in some kind of shadow, someone else’s glory that we believe we deserve but have not yet attained; an accomplished brother or sister or a best friend who moves on without us. We live in shadows of fear of one kind or another almost every day. Today, we live in a world where much of it is run by tyrants or tyrants who work very hard to be “rulers of us” but don’t quite make the grade and so even in that example, make a mess of many lives—still we live to cry about it; write about it and finally come to see it in our rear-view mirror. We stumble; we get back up. We fall out of boats and resurface a champion’s swimmer—though we’ve never swam a stroke before that time. Our brains won’t let us add things up, but it lets us see in a Technicolor where we are driven to paint in a way a whole world must see us; and will travel far to do it. A poet does not know the difference between who and whom, yet when using it incorrectly, seems not to matter for she touches hearts where grammar becomes secondary. A musician changes lives by cleverly putting awkward fingers over some strings. A dancer: a person who is scolded his or her whole life for walking through rooms breaking Mama’s finest things out of clumsiness, one day floats across a stage like a swan. We have composers; musicians; singers; completely blind—and yet, we do not see them as blind; we do not feel them as blind; nor do we understand how on earth they can even be blind, when they bring such greatness to the hearts of others. Examples are endless. Overwhelmingly so.
And this is what is deep within my heart and what I want to make sure you find in yours, if you have not already. To KNOW that what you have as a human being in its physical make-up is secondary, possibly pedestrian at best. It is physical much like the computer you are looking at now. But what is in your heart; your dreams; your soul… is to be used as your compass for your choices and gauging the power of what comes to you. Whether it is being a Mama, to inspire your children in love and through nourishment or take them to all of the dance classes they can fathom, because that is their dream. Or Daddy, to remind his child, you’ve got this—you cannot fail. You may not win this one, but you cannot fail. I have come to learn, sometimes our calling is to help another rise—I find that amazingly noble, worthy, and every breath that person takes, should hold their head high. And then there are those who choose to rise on their own—I get that, but don’t squander, keep trying, keep doing, all the time—being.
It isn’t funny as to what is going on with me today; I take it very seriously and in an extraordinarily surprising manner, it has created an about-face in my nature: yet, another facet cut perfectly. I see more clearly today than I’ve ever seen in my whole life.
As a result of these jam-packed realizations; the constant re-discovery of the glue which holds me together—I give thanks. In some romantic way, events have re-forged my piece of the puzzle: the way I stand up and take my place in the community of life.
And so, as luck would have it, I am joyfully aware: As swiftly as sorrow can race into my life; it can race right back out, just as quickly. It’s our human magic; the will and intuitive reasoning to embrace what’s in front of us: whether friend or foe; storms or peace. We can’t always make it good—but we can make it right. Personally, I couldn’t ask for more.