Life is a series of consecutive moments, each carrying and imprinting a unique footprint. Living well involves so many things, such as moving forward from experience to experience, having an active faith and hope for the future (for tomorrow and eternity). Life itself is a straight-up miracle; but, wow, the opportunity to LIVE is an amazing choice gifted to us by God who knew us before He formed us in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5).
This week triggered a memory that was covered in the dust of age and time. Many years ago, I was a mentor for individuals who had degenerative eye diseases. I recall meeting with one man in particular at a local bookstore that had a quaint coffee shop inside. This man was blind, but he was more than what he couldn’t see or what others saw when they looked at him.
We sat on tall stools around a small circular table as he began to tell me about his wife of fifty years who passed away almost a year ago.
“I wasn’t blind when we married. I didn’t even know I had a problem with my vision until she pointed it out. She always knew me better than I knew myself,” he chuckled.
I watched him use his thumb to find the opening on the coffee lid before he slowly took a sip. His hands were rough and his fingers thick; his wedding band looked like a valley of gold being swallowed by mountains.
“She was the prettiest thing I had ever laid eyes on. Still is.”
As this gentleman was describing his wife to me, I couldn’t help but notice all the details were of a woman in her youth. He described a portrait of a lady who appeared in my mind younger than my age, vibrant as a teen, and whose soft hair fell gently upon a perfumed neck that only knew of his kisses.
As I watched this gray-haired man get up to leave once his assistant came for him, I couldn’t help but reach out and hug him.
“Hmm…” he said with a slight smile, breathing in deeper. “I wish I could hug the gal who held the scent that held me together.” He hugged me slightly tighter before letting me go. He had a single tear going down his cheek, and I knew more were to come when he was alone.
Holding on to his companion’s arm, he gave me one last sentence. “You know what my wife said was the best part of me being blind?”
“No, what?” I couldn’t imagine.
“She loved that she was always a twenty-seven-year-old beauty. She never aged after I lost my sight. She liked to joke that she was married to a much older man.”
Most recently, I was at a luncheon to raise funds and awareness for the Retina Foundation of the Southwest. I sat near a man who was legally blind. This man reminded me of the gentleman I had coffee with so many years ago. His brother-in-law whispered to him where his food was on his plate, and I could tell he saw with his ears. We spoke for a considerable amount of time, and as I was getting up to leave, I felt grateful for having met him.
He came around the table and gently took my hand. I noticed his hands were rough and his fingers thick. “I wish I could see you,” he said softly. “Your spirit matches you.” He squeezed my hand before letting go.
It took me a moment to gather in what he said. Do I love others as he does? That day I did not feel attractive; I was keenly aware that I was not dressed in a designer label nor did I have the clout or position of most around me. I realized he was seeing in a way that I am learning more and more through my own visual impairment and in my deepening relationship with Christ. And just like the man who saw his wife every day at her age of twenty-seven, Believers have daily opportunities to see what this calloused world does not understand: God sees us all as worthy of being saved and loved, regardless of the circumstances which surround them…or us. In fact, there is no them or us…there is just the call to love.
How is your vision today? Are you choosing to see others as Christ sees them? Are you taking the opportunity to live as a gift to share God’s love?
SGLY, dear reader.
(Smile, God Loves You.)
Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier, Instagram: @tiffanysgly, and Twitter: @tiffanychartier.