After many cloudy and foggy mornings the sky is clear. The tops of snow-covered trees have turned a delicate shade of pink and the icy patches on the road reflect the color. I enjoy the scenery while driving to meet some friends. The days are growing longer day by day. And I can see this beauty with my own eyes. What a great gift eyesight is!
Some time ago a friend of mine suddenly lost her sight. She could not even read, which was a big loss. She could only see the rough outlines of things but no details. In that situation we discussed what we lose if we cannot see properly. It is good, however, that modern technology can help. My friend was able to install into her devices a digital reader that converts written text into speech. She was also lucky to have her sight gradually improve over time.
This experience made me wonder what my life would be like if I lost even part of my visual capacity. I would not see the colors of daybreak, the glimmer of sunlight on a lake, the meadows of wild flowers, the faces of dear people, the familiar objects in my home and many other things. I would have to forget all about reading, writing and the kind of fiddling with small thing that I like. I would just fumble around in the morning to find my clothes and carefully feel for the knobs of the stove and the dishes in my kitchen. I would try to manage my daily chores based on what I remember. Having had eyesight, I would still have many visual memories. Maybe they would become even more important than before.
Many elderly people, when referring to something in the future, say: ”I wonder if my eyes will still see that?”
I have a friend who became blind as an adult, and I accompanied her to summer services a few times. She wanted me to describe exactly what I saw. The row of flags, the festive gate and the decoration of the speakers’ stand in the tent were important to her. She wanted to go and touch the festive gate, to feel its surface, and to walk around the gate following its shape with her hand. That helped her get an idea of the size and shape of the gate.
Matti Kivinen, the widely known speaker brother who was blinded in the war, once came to speak at my home services. He wanted me to confirm that the table cloth was white and also wanted to know what the table napkins looked like. These were not trivial things to him.
But the situation of those who were born blind is certainly different. How do they view their familiar surroundings? Probably differently from seeing people.
We see many beautiful and important things all the time. But we also see things that make us angry or sad. We see things that look ugly, arouse anxiety, or cause pain and suffering. We may feel it would have been better not to see those things. There may also be something invisible to our natural eyes that causes even greater pain. We do not see all things with our eyes; our hearts can sense and pick out messages that are not verbalized or made visible.
I often get tired of the flood of visual and audible stimuli that surrounds us. I wonder what kind of mental images children and young people retain, sometimes involuntarily? Those images may distort reality, cause bewilderment and fear, or give rise to unrealistic expectations. We should discuss actively with our young people and also encourage them.
As human beings we plan, anticipate and ponder. We cannot see into the future. The things that will happen are hidden from us. But there are eyes that see everything. Nothing is hidden from God’s eyes. We can trust in His guidance at all times. He has promised us a new life after our temporal life, and that life will be something that no eyes have seen, no ears have heard, and no-one has even been able even to imagine. How beautiful that will be!
Text: Aili Pasanen
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen
You will find the original blog post here.
Kansainvälistä ja valtakunnallista muistiviikkoa vietetään ensi viikolla. Ihmisten eläessä yhä pidempään muistisairauksia sairastavien lukumäärä kasvaa joka puolella maailmaa. Muistisairaus liittyy myös yhä useamman suomalaisen elämään joko läheisen tai oman sairastumisen muodossa.