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Is Today the Day I Go Blind, Lord? 

Coping with Ongoing Vision Loss

blurry screen

For someone with an incurable eye disease like Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) ultimately resulting in near or complete blindness, there’s fear and grieving along the vision loss journey.

For me, it happens when I realize that I can no longer do a certain activity because my vision has worsened.

Or because it’s changing, and not for the better, which happened again a few days ago.

When I was looking at a link on the computer screen, the screen went all blurry.   It was so blurry that I couldn’t even see where to x it out.

Of course, I thought it was the computer. I spent a couple of minutes trying to fine-tune the screen so I could locate the x on the top left hand side.

Then I looked at the computer table.

Blurry.  

I stared at my hand.

Blurry.  

Suddenly, it hit me … it wasn’t the screen. It wasn’t an opt-in form that invaded the site to make it blurry.

It was my vision.

Oh God, no, please no. Please, please, no. I’m not ready.  

I felt my heart in my throat. The longer the blur remained, the more the panic came.

Although I’d been losing my vision over a twenty-five year period, suddenly,  it was too soon.  Too much too soon.

Stinging tears wet my eyes.

Is this the day I’m going blind, Lord? 

My eyes locked onto the blurry screen as I tried to absorb that shocking thought. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, swiping at the tears rolling down my face. Oh brother!  I closed my eyes.  A couple of minutes later, I opened them.

 I could see my fingertips again! I could see the table top! A few seconds later, the computer screen had re-asserted itself.  My vision had returned!

It took a few minutes for my heartbeat to return to normal.

Lord, maybe I’m not going blind today after all! 

But what the heck just happened? Was it one of ‘those’ days? 

Yes, I’d asked myself that question more than a few times over the years, especially at the start. But things had never gone completely blurry before. Sometimes my loss is so gradual, I don’t know what I’ve lost until it’s gone.

As I thought about this recent experience, the memory of a photo taken with a group of my female students in the Arabian Gulf came to mind. We were to use it as a cover photo for a magazine we were producing.

“Oh ladies, it’s all blurry!” I’d cried. “We’ll have to take another.”

“No teacher, it’s good this way.  We no want all the people see our faces,” one girl explained.

“But the photo is supposed to be the main cover focus .” I protested, letting out a big disappointed sigh as I frowned at the blurry photo. “No, we’ll just have to re-do it,” I said decisively.

“No Miss Amy, please, to listen me,” another girl said. “Photos of ladies very bad. Not important.” She slapped the photo over face down.   “We can using this one. It not necessary for it be clear to say  our message. In our culture, it’s better. We agreed the picture for you, not us. We are moving forward–graduating–and the words we write in the life is important more than the picture.”

A grammatical disaster after two years of English. But I understood the students’ intended point to me that day. And I realized that the blurry picture would have to do.

The out-of-focus photo
The out-of-focus photo

I remember this conversation well and how it impacted me, the perfectionist. I was at the end of the second semester in my first year of teaching in the Middle East. I tried hard to understand a culture in which women preferred their words to an image. To me, the photo was concrete proof of their success.

But apparently,  they didn’t need that kind of proof.

Now as I think about that brief interlude of totally blurred vision I experienced, I wonder if I don’t have the wrong focus once again.

My understanding is still focused on the concrete. I’m not familiar enough with the culture in which God operates.  Or do I really know more but don’t want to apply it?

I stubbornly choose to see life from my perspective — not His.

But isn’t the culture that God operates from my real culture?

I know my words and actions are important but are they more important than what I see?

Maybe.

God doesn’t always take away our struggles. He didn’t take away my sister’s struggle. She glorified Him throughout her sickness never stopping even at her death.

She lived by faith.  

When I was grappling with trying to see her shrunken form, she was probably grappling with, “Lord, is today the day I’ll go to meet you?” Yet she radiated a quiet joy.

Lord, help me to trust and rely on You.

When I  look at the photo now, and read the words “Our Story,” I wonder why I scanned that part as well.  I just read something this morning about how stories stay with us and are planted in our hearts.

My story is what God is doing in and through me.

God placed me here for His purposes. To honor and point others to His eternal culture.

This is not the first time I’ve thought about why God is not stopping my vision loss.  Why I have to lose something so precious. Why I have to constantly battle my environment to achieve my goals. Why?

Will I always fear and ask, “Is today the day I go blind?”

Panic and fear are my first responses to new and scary situations, especially when it comes to vision loss.

If I really trust God, His way and His plan are always better for me than my own- whether it includes blurred images or none at all.

And if I believe that He is sovereign that means that I trust Him. No. Matter. What. 

Oh Lord, help me to adapt more and more to Your permanent culture. If it takes my blurred vision for others to see You more clearly, then help me trust you more fully.  Please Lord, open doors for me to share stories of Your love and how You provide as I continue to lose vision.

Most of all, teach me to stop asking, “Is this the day that I go blind?” Replace it with, “I walk by faith and not by sight.”

This music video, Walk by Faith by Jeremy Camp, touched me. I hope it also speaks to you in whatever you are struggling with right now.

Walk by Faith, Not Sight
By Jeremy Camp

You have just read, “Is Today the Day I Go Blind,” by Amy L. Bovaird, May 31, 2015. I would love to have you leave a comment on my post!

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Amy

Amy Bovaird is the author of two best-selling books Mobility Matters and Cane Confessions: The Lighter Side to Mobility.  An accomplished and inspirational speaker, she talks on a variety of topics based on her life experiences and continues to educate and inspire others through her writing and speaking. She lives with a dual disability—progressive vision and hearing loss due to Usher Syndrome. She blogs about the challenges she faces as she loses more vision and hearing and manages to find humor around almost every corner, AmyBovaird.com. Her books are available at Amazon. Follow her on social media at Amy Bovaird, Author.
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Is Today the Day I Go Blind?

22 thoughts on “Is Today the Day I Go Blind?

  • June 1, 2015 at 1:33 am
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    Amy, I am glad that the blurriness in your eyes cleared up. I pray for a cure for you.

  • June 1, 2015 at 4:14 am
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    The message of your post is so simply done it kind of seeped in my heart. Often we live by rules and ideas that were never meant to be rigid. Fluidity has become a coveted feature of our lives I would say.

    Thank you for writing such a beautiful post Amy 🙂
    richa recently posted…(K)nighted Men-Part 1My Profile

  • June 1, 2015 at 12:10 pm
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    Thank you so much, Patty!
    Amy

  • June 1, 2015 at 12:13 pm
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    Thank you, Becky.
    Hope everything is going well for you. How nice that it’s summer and running season!
    Amy

  • June 1, 2015 at 12:35 pm
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    Richa,
    Yes, we must be fluid, constantly adapting and adjusting our walk to grow as God directs us. It’s challenging no matter what we struggle with. 🙂
    Thank you for your encouragement this morning. I sure appreciate it.
    Amy

  • June 1, 2015 at 1:16 pm
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    So sorry for your ongoing struggles, Amy. I can definitely relate to that shock and fear of “where will this end?” You are so right to shift your perspective from a me-centered view to a God-centered view. We must do this many times over because it does not come naturally. It’s part of growing in our Christian faith…which will take the rest of our lives but has eternal rewards. Our bodies are ALL deteriorating; maybe some not so obviously. But in a sense, it’s a gift to be aware of our frailty, our temporality, and our reliance on God. Some peope never get to those realizations. We definitley are called according to HIS purpose, and that’s a blessing! You are called, sister! And you’re doing a faithful work here. Love ya!
    Beckie recently posted…Invisible TiesMy Profile

  • June 1, 2015 at 2:31 pm
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    Hi Beckie,
    Thanks so much! Did you see here how God used your “stories” blog post to encourage me in my own struggle?
    God uses all our small acts of obedience to bring glory to Him and to help a sojourner in some way. We usually never know how. 🙂
    Amy

  • June 1, 2015 at 2:31 pm
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    Hi Carol,
    Yes, you are so right!
    The fear is definitely the worst.
    Thank you for taking time to read my post and comment.
    Amy

  • June 1, 2015 at 8:25 pm
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    Amy, so moving. I really have no words. God bless you sweetie. Sue

  • June 2, 2015 at 5:26 pm
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    Dear Sue,
    Thank you so much for taking time to post and encourage, letting me know that my words do reach others.
    Amy

  • June 2, 2015 at 5:31 pm
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    Hi Alana,
    Thank you! I think we all learn to see from each other. 🙂
    I so appreciate you taking time to comment.
    Amy

  • June 7, 2015 at 12:42 am
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    Beautifully written.Praying for you to keep your vision for as long as possible.Stay strong

  • June 7, 2015 at 4:21 am
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    I remember the days of searching for the arrow or curser on the screen. I used to love to use a drawing program on our old computer, when I could see the screen.
    It is strange how gradual vision loss can be. Of course there are those times when it is sudden, but usually it is such a slow process, I fool myself into pretending, but what will be will be. Having faith is important, that it will all be okay.
    I know the fear of not now though. Beautifully said.
    Kerry recently posted…SoCS: TMIMy Profile

  • June 7, 2015 at 12:10 pm
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    Hi Kerry,
    Thank you for your encouragement.
    Yes, there are many times I’m searching for the cursor and I am enlarging the screen 4-5 times, only to see that it cuts out some of the other words to give me the additional size. So I fluctuate between irritation and ease on the computer! LOL. But this was the first time it ever went completely blurry. So I was kind of panicked for a bit.
    It is so easy to fool oneself…
    thanks so much for reading and commenting!
    Amy

  • June 7, 2015 at 12:11 pm
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    Hi Carron,
    Thank you and for your prayers! That means a lot!
    Amy

  • June 12, 2015 at 12:08 pm
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    Hi Amy,
    I am glad I found this article today. The way you described your momentary sight loss at the computer, is exactly how I experienced mine – permanently, all at a moment’s time. I know the exact day I went from perfect sight – to the lowest vision one can have before complete blindness. While it was a stunning and frightening experience, it was instant and permanent and there was no wondering “what if” or “maybe” – and I think it was probably much better that way. Whatever our journey into sight loss is, though, the one thing I know for certain is that God is with us in it all. We are never out of focus to him, and we are never lost or abandoned by Him. There are so many nuances to sight loss and there are so many positive aspects to it, once we turn it over to God and walk in faith with Him and not by our own sight. Our lives are not about us, but about Jesus and His love for us – and we experience it more every day as we continue on our journey together. Bless you for such an honest and beautiful post, Amy. <3
    Lynda McKinney Lambert recently posted…The Photograph Poem_Writing Assignment #22My Profile

  • June 12, 2015 at 1:29 pm
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    Hi Lynda,
    Thank you so much for this insight. Losing it at once sounds very, very scary. But I can see where you have turned to your faith and moved forward. Amazing what you do with your art, all with such little vision!
    Thank you for reading my thoughts and taking time to comment and encourage me.
    Amy

  • July 27, 2015 at 12:34 pm
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    Yes, Amy, it’s so true, no matter how our sight loss happens, we must adjust to it before we can continue on our journey. And, some days our adjustments happen continuously, and other days it is our “new normal” and we seldom give it a thought. The most important thing is that we remember we have God with us through every day of our life, and we walk confidently in his plan for us. He always has an Exit plan to get us out of every challenge if we stop and look for it. Lynda
    Lynda McKinney Lambert recently posted…Song Lyrics _ Writing Assignment #24My Profile

  • July 27, 2015 at 1:15 pm
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    Yes, thank goodness for God’s promise to be with us no matter what.
    You are right on all counts.
    And I’m amazed at what you do with your jewelry art!!! Love seeing your accomplishments!
    Amy

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