That’s the motto for a support group called Blind Ambitions. A great motto and a great name for a sight-impaired support group!
Things in life are so unpredictable, but one thing that can be counted on is that something about life will change, sooner or later. Life changed for Frank and I when the support group meetings for the sight-impaired came into our lives. We needed help coping, big time. Denial, frustration and fear can put a strain on home life.
At first, there were a lot of pity parties by myself, after which I would feel totally ashamed. People at these meetings were all in the same boat, and here they were, laughing and cutting up, going to jobs every day, and having event-filled lives that kept their social calendars filled to capacity. Why couldn’t I just get a grip?!
At one of the many support group meetings, I met a very gregarious person who carried a lifeline.
Tracy walked up at one of these meetings and introduced herself. She was well-dressed, pretty, and a total cut-up! As time went on, she revealed that she had a devoted husband who worked three jobs to support them and pay for her various medical bills. She also had many life-threatening illnesses, and had dealt with them for a long period of time. She was totally blind, but that was the least of her medical concerns. And yet, the fun never stopped for her.
So what was the difference? Why was she living life with gusto while I was wallowing in fear? What was she doing right? What was WRONG with me? After all, it wasn’t like I was missing limbs and in a wheelchair, or unable to listen to enjoyable music. And yet, I cried myself to sleep many nights.
Over time and as our friendship grew, I asked Tracy question after question. “How do you do this?” “How do you do that?” She finally stopped one day in mid-sentence, thought for a few seconds, and said, “It’s not that bad.”
Just a simple sentence changed everything. She was totally blind and was saying it wasn’t that big a deal. If she could learn to cope with and handle her blindness fearlessly, anybody should be able to handle theirs in the same way.
So started a fun-filled time of being sight-impaired.
She called one day and said, “I tried to call you earlier but couldn’t find the phone. I finally found it but couldn’t get it to work. I must have pressed your number in ten times before I realized the tv was turning on and off.”
Tracy was a great coach and stellar cheerleader through all the details from learning how to go places alone in the Dallas area to learning to do mundane tasks around the house without running into things to learning to laugh at ourselves and our lack of sight. And we went to more events than we could keep track of. We just had a lot of fun.
For two-and-a-half years I felt my way around, and got very used to the way things were. It no longer felt like being a poor blind victim. With Tracy’s help and the help of the support groups and agencies, it was easier to be more independent and also less of a burden to others.
One day Frank and I were advised that I should have a few routine surgeries done on both eyes, so that what little I was able to see could be slightly more sharp around the edges. It almost didn’t seem worth the effort, but we eventually went for it, and the surgeries were done.
And then, to our surprise, I could see again, better than ever in my life.
Just like that.
And then life changed again.
Life is never stagnant–it changes all the time. Just when you get used to one way of life, things change and you get used to another way of life. If the change is good, enjoy it. If the change is bad, wait it out, because you know it will change again. And while you’re waiting it out, look for the good things that take your mind off of the not-so-good things. It is not a given that we have to be totally miserable while we’re waiting the down times out. Life is way too short for that.
I don’t want to write excruciatingly long blogs that bore everybody to tears. Life is way too short for that, too! Hopefully I have not glossed-over stuff too much in an effort to be brief (or, a little less lengthy, lol). And, it helps to have a little background out there so that things that might be said in future blog posts will make more sense.
Again, as the holiday season is in full force, please know you are precious and let yourself enjoy it. You’re worth it!