Ever since the age of six, I have lived with my grandparents. When I was twelve, Opa began losing his sight. When I was fourteen, it was almost gone. Not an easy thing to deal with in any case, this was especially hard for Opa. Opa was a writer. He was unfortunately too feeble and/or too stubborn to learn Braille.
I didn’t know what to do to help him. He was not the smiling Opa of my early years who loved to laugh and sing, but a depressed shadow of himself.
One night as the three of us sat talking, he burst out, “this would not be so bad if I could still write!”
There was silence. We didn’t know what to say. There was nothing too say. The shadow of Opa’s growing darkness was spreading over all of us.
I went to bed that night and prayed for an hour. I asked God to help Opa and to help us help him if He wished. That night I had the strangest dream. Opa was completely blind, but he was writing! Stranger still, the hand holding the pen wasn’t his hand at all. It wasn’t big and work-worn, but small and young-looking.
I said nothing about it the next morning, but went to school praying that God would show me what it meant, if anything. During Art class, as I was painting some clouds in a blue sky, a picture from the dream flashed across my mind. I almost dropped the paint brush when I realized it was my hand holding the pen.
It gave me much to think about. I could be Opa's pen-holder. Would I do it though? It would mean time and sacrifice. Opa was hard to stop from writing once he’d gotten started. Deep inside, I knew it was God’s answer to my prayer. I prayed that God would give me willingness and went home with an excited heart.
That night, I asked to talk to Opa. How would I start? Surely he wouldn’t want my help. But I knew this was right, so I took a deep breath.
“Opa, I had a dream last night that you were writing.”
“A dream is all that is left.”
“No, Opa, it isn’t. Your heart and God in it. That is what’s left. You always told me that writing isn’t something you do with a pen, but something God does with your heart. Now, you can’t use a pen, but I can.”
“You want to write for me, yes?”
“Yes, Opa, I do,” I answered, fully realizing the truth of it for the first time.
There was silence. I knew Opa was thinking on what I had said and that no more talk was needed. Finally Opa spoke.
“You would write auf Deutsch for me?”
“Of course I would, Opa.”
“Well, Liebchen (darling), we may try.”
Tears in my eyes, I hugged him. Then I ran to fetch a pen and paper.
“Shall we start,” I asked.
Opa smiled and we did start. That night we spent three hours together as God wrote with Opa’s heart and my pen. I went to bed with more joy in my heart than I’d felt in a long time.
It was a new beginning for Opa too. He was more like himself, laughing and singing old German hymns with us of an evening. He could still write. Compared to this, going blind was merely one of those trials to be dealt with in this life. I write everything for him and Oma does it when I’m not there.
It is funny to see the looks of passers by when he says, “Liebchen, I need to write this down.”
It is good to see their smiles when I pull a notebook out of my purse and he begins to dictate. It was he that asked me to tell the story. He wants the world to know what God can do with willing hearts. To all who read this, he writes “Let God be your light and your pen and the darkness can never take hold.”
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