No one could ever understand the myriad darknesses I have gone through since going into remission from serious and advanced cancer. I have gone through what I can only describe as a total stripping process. A process whereby I was left naked and bare before the Throne of Grace. If I thought cancer was bad, and the nakedness and stripping that I endured then, this was even more deep and profound. I remember thinking, when I had cancer, “Do I really want to fight this?” And I knew, deep inside myself that truly, I did not want to fight. Heaven beckoned, and it was there that I wanted to go. Had I known what lay ahead, I do not know whether I would have gone ahead and fought or not. I fully expected that if I fought and won, I would be living a ‘normal’ life again. I did not expect what happened.
It was strange – but one day, just after going into remission, I was watching a blind gospel singer and piano player on the television, and something deep inside me said,
“You are going to be blind.”
I did not understand at the time, but I thought that if this was true, I would have the opportunity to use it, and to show people that adversity does not have to destroy you.
Since then, I have gone blind. It happened gradually, and it has been a long process of saying “Goodbye.” Goodbye to faces, to the things of nature that I loved, to colours, and to much much more. I am not going to say that the process has been pain free, and indeed, there have been times when I have agonised and cried out. But that is okay. I am not going to say that I am happy to be blind, but that I try to be the best that I can be, as a blind person. I have met much misunderstanding along the way, endured many insults, many rejections, but despite the pain, have lived through them all. It was a shock at first, to be treated in such a way by so many, and it did not help that I am also wheelchair bound. But I have learned a lot.
Blindness is so isolating. Relationships with people change. It is possible to go to a place where there are many people, but to be isolated from them all. When you are blind, you can hear people, but you cannot see where they are, and you cannot therefore go to them and start talking to them. If they do not come to you, which often happens, even in a church, you can leave having spoken to no one. The isolation is the worst thing that a blind person has to bear.
I am not glad that I am blind, but I am glad that I have learned how, more and more, to drink from the well that is deep within me, and that I have discovered the “treasures of the darkness.”