“Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.”
Sometimes I’d like to give people this riddle: I have a degree in English, wrote for the newspaper, and love books, but I can’t read the menu in front of me. What’s my secret?
Of course, you all know my “secret” is central vision loss. But to people who just see me around town and don’t know me, I appear normal. What a laugh! It’s kind of like I lead a strange existence caught between two worlds—the sighted and the blind.
When I was in blind school, surrounded by serious vision loss, I vehemently rejected the idea that I was like “those people.” But when I’m at a gathering of people who see 20/20, I know that I’m not like them either. I’m missing a lot of the action.
My life spans a spectrum. I know what it’s like to see normally, but I also know the struggles of vision loss. However, I don’t know them to the extent of seriously blind people.
Vision loss comes in a million variations and degrees. In the blind world, I’m considered to have a ton of vision left. But in the sighted world, I’m considered to have very poor vision.
It can feel isolating. This feeling that I don’t fully inhabit either world. That’s why I love Proverbs 14:10 above. It talks about those places in our hearts that no one else can quite reach. Our experiences imprint themselves on our souls with individual markings. Those markings are the places that a person who hasn’t had the same experience can only understand in part. Sure, they can sympathize, but there’s only One who truly “gets it.”
That exception is God.
I’ve never met another person who has the same rare retina condition I have. My busy ophthalmologist said he has only two patients with this condition. And that’s OK. I’m cool with it now.
I used to think I had to explain my situation to every person I met, including the grocery store clerk. I thought I looked weird and feared I would make a mistake.
I found out I didn’t look too weird, and yes, I will make mistakes. But so do other people—people who have perfect vision.
So, yeah, in a sense, I lead a bizarre double life. But I believe we all have those unique experiences that have imprinted us, and I’ve discovered those cracks and crevasses are great places to seek and to serve God from.
I’d love for everyone to have the experience I’ve had of allowing God to meet you in those broken, bitter places. But how can I do that?
Simply by telling you that He’s real, and He cares. He will never disappoint. And He alone can turn those isolating places into spaces of great communion…with Him.