Notes on Blindness

Blindness is terrifying.

I mean actual blindness, not like what I have, where I can still watch movies and make eye contact. I am in the middle, the in between; an entirely different kind of terror as I am unable to prevent my vision from escaping. Little by little, my world darkens. Most of the time I don't think about it. Let's be honest, for me to even sit here at my laptop and be able to type these words means I'm doing pretty good. But there are the moments where I wonder what it will be like, if I do indeed lose my vision completely. How will my soul navigate a precious world lost? To lose all freedom, all mobility, to forget what my husband and children look like... how could I stand it? To rely on touch and sound, painfully aware I'm never getting the full picture...

This nightmare is my reality. I am lost in a purgatory of semi-blindness, awaiting my sentence. To lose this most precious sense, the way I understand the world. The sun beckoning from behind golden clouds. A flock of geese breaking formation in the crisp morning. The very hint of a rainbow perfectly framed against the horizon. Little silent moments of exquisite majesty. How much more devastating than having to walk with a cane, learning Braille, dealing with the superficialities and awkward shame. These things are trivial when it comes to the world’s beauty fading away. I grasp for light; it escapes.
— Believing is Seeing

Forgive me for saying this, but in my years of involvement with the low vision community, I've noticed there are a lot of depressed blind people out there. Understandably. Especially for those who once had sight and lost it, it's easy to imagine how devastating it would be to try and pick back up and attempt to live a "normal" life again. There are, however, the admirable few who have taken a stand to not allow their blindness get the best of them. I admire these people greatly, people like well-known inspirational speaker and author Jennifer Rothschild. Then there are those who thoughtfully and meticulously record the journey, allowing us a glimpse into their reality, making the darkness rather poetic. One of these is writer and theologian John Hull, whom I had never heard of until a friend recently sent over a link to a short film entitled "Thoughts on Blindness." This hauntingly stunning video is an absolute piece of art: pairing together Hull's first encounters with blindness in the early 80's after years of battling vision loss as observed on an audio-cassette, paired with a visual dramatization from London-based filmmakers Peter Middleton and James Spinney. 'Notes on Blindness' is an official selection of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. It moved me greatly. Please allow yourself a few minutes to watch it; I can promise it will change the way you view your world. Leave me a comment below and let me know what you thought.