Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blind But Blessed

The passengers on the bus watched sympathetically as the attractive young woman
with the white cane made her way carefully up the steps. She paid the driver and,
using her hands to feel the location of the seats, walked down the aisle and found
the seat he'd told her was empty. Then she settled in, placed her briefcase on her
lap and rested her cane against her leg.

It had been a year since Susan, 34, became blind. Due to a medical misdiagnosis
she had been rendered sightless, and she was suddenly thrown into a world of darkness,
anger, frustration and self-pity. Once a fiercely independent woman, Susan now felt
condemned by this terrible twist of fate to become a powerless, helpless burden
on everyone around her.

"How could this have happened to me?" she would plead, her heart knotted with anger.

But no matter how much she cried or ranted or prayed, she knew the painful truth
her sight was never going to return. A cloud of depression hung over Susan's once
optimistic spirit. Just getting through each day was an exercise in frustration
and exhaustion. And all she had to cling to was her husband Mark.

Mark was an Air Force officer and he loved Susan with all of his heart. When she
first lost her sight, he watched her sink into despair and was determined to help
his wife gain the strength and confidence she needed to become independent again.
Mark's military background had trained him well to deal with sensitive situations,
and yet he know this was the most difficult battle he would ever face.

Finally, Susan felt ready to return to her job, but how would she get there? She
used to take the bus, but was now too frightened to get around the city by herself.
Mark volunteered to drive her to work each day, even though they worked at opposite
ends of the city. At first, this comforted Susan and fulfilled Mark's need to protect
his sightless wife who was so insecure about performing the slightest task.

Soon, however, Mark realized that this arrangement wasn't working - it was hectic,
and costly. Susan is going to have to start taking the bus again, he admitted to
himself. But just the thought of mentioning it to her made him cringe. She was
still so fragile, so angry. How would she react? Just as Mark predicted, Susan was
horrified at the idea of taking the bus again.

"I'm blind!" she responded bitterly. "How am I supposed to know where I'm going?
I feel like you're abandoning me."

Mark's heart broke to hear these words, but he knew what had to be done. He promised
Susan that each morning and evening he would ride the bus with her, for as long
as it took, until she got the hang of it. And that is exactly what happened.

For two solid weeks, Mark, military uniform and all, accompanied Susan to and from
work each day. He taught her how to rely on her other senses, specifically her hearing,
to determine where she was and how to adapt to her new environment. He helped her
befriend the bus drivers who could watch out for her, and save her a seat. He made
her laugh, even on those not-so-good days when she would trip exiting the bus, or
drop her briefcase.

Each morning they made the journey together, and Mark would take a cab back to his
office. Although this routine was even more costly and exhausting than the previous
one, Mark knew it was only a matter of time before Susan would be able to ride the
bus on her own. He believed in her, in the Susan he used to know before she'd lost
her sight, who wasn't afraid of any challenge and who would never, ever quit.

Finally, Susan decided that she was ready to try the trip on her own. Monday morning
arrived, and before she left, she threw her arms around Mark, her temporary bus
riding companion, her husband, and her best friend. Her eyes filled with tears of
gratitude for his loyalty, his patience, his love. She said good-bye, and for the
first time, they went their separate ways.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday . . . each day on her own went perfectly, and
Susan had never felt better. She was doing it! She was going to work all by herself!

On Friday morning, Susan took the bus to work as usual. As she was paying for her
fare to exit the bus, the driver said,

"Boy, I sure envy you."

Susan wasn't sure if the driver was speaking to her or not. After all, who on earth
would ever envy a blind woman who had struggled just to find the courage to live
for the past year? Curious, she asked the driver,

"Why do you say that you envy me?"

The driver responded, "It must feel so good to be taken care of and protected like
you are."

Susan had no idea what the driver was talking about, and asked again,

"What do you mean?"

The driver answered, "You know, every morning for the past week, a fine looking
gentleman in a military uniform has been standing across the corner watching you
when you get off the bus. He makes sure you cross the street safely and he watches
you until you enter your office building. Then he blows you a kiss, gives you a
little salute and walks away. You are one lucky lady."

Tears of happiness poured down Susan's cheeks. For although she couldn't physically
see him, she had always felt Mark's presence. She was lucky, so lucky, for he had
given her a gift more powerful than sight, a gift she didn't need to see to believe
- the gift of love that can bring light where there had been darkness.

~ Author Unknown ~


mamasita said...

*in tears*

masterwordsmith said...

Dear Mamasita

I had the same reaction!

Looks like we are two die-hard sentimental ladies ...

Take care and have a great week ahead, dear friend.


Tiger said...

Touched me to the core!

masterwordsmith said...

Dear Tiger

Glad it did! You have a good heart and a bottomless well of love for those you love! Take care and God bless you!



I was tearing and in office! Oh God. I should really stop reading your blog and continue with my work. But I can't. The magnet of kindness is way too strong. :)

masterwordsmith said...

Dear Royal Jester

Wow! Thanks for your honest response.

*passes Royal Jester a packet of tissues

Am glad these stories touched your heart.

Your words also touched mine!

Take care and God bless you!

Please keep in touch.