My eyesight has been a matter of concern to me for thirty years. Twenty years ago I had a cataract removed from my left eye. The replacement lens provided me with such an improved view of the world that my heart went ThumPety-ThumP. Weeks later, the minimal glaucoma in that eye which, had been with me for a decade and which until the surgery had posed little threat, was now robbing me of vision at a rapid pace. My joy went ThunKety-ThunK.
And now I was being reminded that the cataract in my Right eye, if replaced with a new lens could prevent the vision in that eye from gradually fading into a grey, meaningless world. Facing this possibility seemed to require a decision; this decision would involve balancing information of despair as experienced from my adventures with the left eye against the prevailing hope of a greatly improved life with a similar surgery on the right eye. As one whose greatest joys in life were related to vision, as an artist, this would be no small decision.
For more than three decades I have been a volunteer for various Community Services assisting blind people as they go about the task of adjusting to a new world. Those who are born without optical vision number in the lower single digit percentages. I have listened to their stories of discovering their blindness. Sometimes these discoveries come slowly. For others it arrives suddenly with no advance warning at all. The luckiest of these seem to be those who are born blind. I considered that I see well enough to drive and that my difficulty in reading small street corner signs and recognizing friends across a crowded room or for that matter, being able to see the details of a motion picture show as it plays across my widescreen, hi-def TV were not reasons to have this surgery. I also knew that some of my vision can be improved with bi-focal lenses if I chose not to consent to this lens-replacement procedure.
On the day of the knife I lost my courage. That loss did not occur quietly. I raged for a couple of minutes. I was asked by a very pleasant RN to join her in a quiet room. As I sat there succumbing to the pleasantness of her gentle voice I thought of a friend who was hammered a few years earlier with a life-threatening disease. I recalled how he began to speak softly. His words did not change; this is a very spiritual kinda guy; his normal tone is self assured, apparently afraid of nothing. I could sense his fear not from newly sloped shoulders-his posture remained stoic; not from a change in talking points-his life was and is one of self-confidence, strengthened by his faith in a God who he believes Loves him and supports him in his endeavors. Bolstered by the reminder of my friend’s strength and of my own, I was very aware of two things. The first was that I was afraid. The second was that I needed to make amends. A few weeks later I went to the two clinics involved and went from one person to another and apologized for my behavior.
Last week I decided not to have the surgery. My method of expressing this decision rang with the dissonance of an early protest. Next week I have more amends to make.
Thank you Jim, for setting such a great example and reminding me that we are not perfect and that Fear need not rule our lives. That ugly emotion that threatens to rule us all can be overcome in seconds by Accepting Love and Passing it On.
From: Living Love and Loving Life
by Lee Broom