Jesus the Other Sun

Guiding me along the lighted path…


The Man Without a Cane

I needed a reliable income! With the flyer in my manila folder tucked under my forearm, I sped down the steps and through the garage, where I grabbed my long cane. Even with my dark glasses,  I stopped and shielded my eyes from the sun’s glare. When they adjusted to the brightness of that early, still-warm September afternoon, I veered out of the driveway. With luck, I could slip into the foyer of the public library and tack my tutoring flyer on the public bulletin board—and still make it home for dinner.

When I reached the street, I crossed it without employing the cane procedures I’d learned. Luckily—not a car on the road. The voice of my mobility instructor rang in my head, “No, no, no! Don’t trust your sight. Always use best practices for safety. Listen and wait until you hear the perpendicular flow of traffic, then move with it…”

Pooh! I skimmed the sidewalk on the left-hand side of the road with my cane at a clipped pace for a few blocks—but slowed down when a tall blurry figure and what I guessed to be a leashed poodle  crowded into  my field of vision. The larger form made a wide berth around me before stopping.

"Canes are not for me," the man said.

I heard a male voice tentatively say, “Do you have a problem with your vision?”

You think I use this cane for fun?

“Yes, I do.” I smiled to show I didn’t mind him asking the obvious.

“I thought so. I always look for canes.”

And why might that be?

“You see, I’m vision-impaired, too. But canes are not for me.” He waved his arm to dismiss the notion.

Curious, I leaned forward on my cane and asked, “What can you see of me?”

He sounded delighted to answer, as if we’d met over coffee instead of a meter past a driveway in my neighborhood.“Part of your face.”

Classic symptoms of RP.

“Do you have Retinitis Pigmentosa?” The words ran together in my excitement.

“I have macular degeneration.” He sounded apologetic.

It would take too long to explain one belonged to the other—and it didn’t matter.

His voice took on an eager tone and he tossed around initials like the “VA” and “LI,” as if he were passing a football. I guessed they meant “Veteran’s Administration” and “Labor and Industry” as I picked up the ball and threw it back. People always want to help “their own.”

It was late. I had to get going. But our talk so refreshed me that I lingered by the man with no cane.

Somehow that brilliant sunshine of a new-found friendship  burned through the unstable ink spots of darkness  we each faced.

I’d forgotten my business card but tore my phone number off the tutoring flyer. He pushed a fat marker into my hand. “Write down my name and address,” he said. “Maybe you can visit one day.”

“I’d like that.”

“I’m sorry you have a vision problem but it’s nice to know I’m not alone.”  He laughed, no real hint of apology in his voice.

Oh, me too!

Though I didn’t have any money coming in, God made me rich that day.

Wealth is measured in the richness of our encounters.

You’ve just read “The Man Without a Cane.”  What has God blessed you with that you didn’t expect but that ended up delighting you when you received it? Please consider leaving a comment!

The Man Without a Cane
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