Sharper Focus

Many people dream of seeing the world. Ask vision-challenged globetrotter Amy Bovaird, and she will settle for seeing it in a little sharper focus. Follow Amy--but not too closely--on adventures foreign and domestic as she recounts tales of trips and travel.

My Journey with Ongoing Vision Loss

Jesus the Other Sun

Guiding me along the lighted path…

Although October is nearly over, I recently learned that this is Blindness Awareness Month.  When I mentioned this face to an acquaintance, she asked me how I cope with my own progressive vision loss. I had to think about it.  This post grew as I thought about her question.

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MY  JOURNEY WITH ONGOING VISION LOSS

As a child, I gravitated toward the exotic—a coloring book with costumed dolls from around the world, two foreign aunts, preparing salsa, tacos and sopapillas with honey for fun. I had a Native American pen pal, studied French in fifth grade and Spanish in high school and took a mission trip to Brazil. I believed I was destined to travel abroad.  My ticket: teaching English as a foreign language.

I landed a teaching job in Colombia and after that, Costa Rica. Then, my luckiest offer yet—Indonesia! But first, I sprinted off to my eye doctor for stronger eyeglasses. He sent me for some tests. I sat in that sterile office with an eye chart mocking me and suddenly grappled with the words “Retinitis Pigmentosa,” the term itself like a foreign language. It translated to impending vision loss, whether immediate or gradual. Blind. I halted mid-step. At age twenty-eight, what could I do? Where could I go? How could I teach?

Then, God handed me a backpack “Open it,” He urged. Inside I found four provisions. “Go. Whatever else you take, remember these,” God said, and sent me on my way.

Determined to see the world in spite of my vision loss

The first provision was faith. Like a lightweight shawl, I could wrap myself up and keep warm. God said even ifI had faith as small as a mustard seed, it would move mountains. Or move me over the mountains to Indonesia. I didn’t know when I would lose my sight, but I knew He could find me even there. His outstretched arms would always keep me close to Him.

I lifted out the second provision: family. I recalled the song lyrics “Bind us together, Lord, with cords that cannot be broken…”  Like spools of thread, family members bound me—the stray button—to their love whether I traveled to Latin America, the Far East or the Middle East. Likewise, I couldn’t attempt this journey from sighted to blind without my family.

In a zippered compartment, I found the third provision—friendship. Before long, my bag was stuffed and overflowing with new friendships. Like complementary attire—each friendship coordinated nicely with mine. Some I enjoyed while I lived in a particular place, others, I packed to keep forever.

I giggled at the last provision: fun. It came in the shape of pointed eyeglass frames with tinted lenses. A strange thing happened whenever I slipped them on. They gave me the ability to laugh at myself. In my increasingly dark and blurry environment, I felt as if I’d stepped onto a stage with Lucille Ball. A good sense of humor was necessary throughout my travels.

Always look at life with a sense of FUN!

These four provisions have served me well. I started with a lightweight shawl of faith and now I carry a heavy woolen blanket wide enough to keep several people warm.  How my faith has grown!

I believe I was destined to travel abroad—to see life from His perspective even as I gradually lost my own sight. One amazing fact I came to understand about God, He gave me the desires of my heart.

Twenty-five years after being diagnosed, I still have some usable vision.

In His mercy, God is taking me along the scenic route.


4 Responses to “My Journey with Ongoing Vision Loss”

  • Gerri:

    Amy, You are a beautiful person and you flow out everywhere.In your persanalty,your writing and in your life.You are a great inspiration to everyone,you make life look wonderful,you have a wonderful glow about you. You are just a beautiful person i find it very hard to explain what i am trying to say.The other word i am looking for is you are a great witness to God. I love your writing and i want to thank-you for sharing it.

    • Admin:

      Dear Gerri,
      Thank you so much for following my blog and taking the time to make my day!
      I’m so glad that my writing blessed you.
      Your thoughtful words remind me of this scripture:
      But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. — 2 Cor 2:14-17.
      Thanks, again, Gerri.
      Amy

  • A beautiful post, Amy, and praises to God for how He is keeping you on your journey.

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