My lovely wife, Cheri, sat before me in her hospital room, staring sightlessly toward the window. We had been talking for over an hour.
The accident had taken her sight. She had been recuperating in this hospital room for over two weeks, and we were still tiptoeing through a minefield of subjects, both of us knowing that the next explosion could rock our world irredeemably.
Today’s flare-up had come because of my thoughtless attempt to share some of my outside world with her. I was describing the scene just below her window. Now that it was Spring, flowers were in bloom everywhere, and the landscaper who had planned the gardens below us had taken a cue from God’s wild hillsides, and spread a jumble of colors across a wide flower bed, which was traversed by means of an old-fashioned footbridge.
“It’s just a riot of color,” I exclaimed to her, hoping to rekindle an interest in one of her favorite past-times.
“I wouldn’t know about that, would I?” she asked in a monotone.
I knelt beside her chair and turned her face toward mine, as I used to when I needed her eyes on my face to read my earnestness there. Too late, I realized that was no longer going to work. I stared into her eyes, wanting to see again that spark that was my Cheri. Her eyes remained blank.
She was unmoved by my apologies, by my attempts to set her upside-down world right again. After that uncomfortable hour, I asked if I could bring her anything; at the shake of her head, I kissed her cheek and said I’d come back later.
We’d had many such hours since the accident. One of the first things we noticed following her head surgeries was that her hair was growing back, almost overnight, darker and curly. When I told her how delightful she looked, she burst into tears and said, “I’ve always wanted dark curly hair; now that I have it, I can’t see it!”
All of this was new to me. The Cheri I knew was the strength of our home and family. We had counted on her to be the one who never buckled, never lacked for doing or saying the right thing when the rest of us were beside ourselves.
They released her the following week. I still felt as though I lived in the middle of a minefield. But I needed to get back to shepherding the flock I was given to Pastor. I felt I was abandoning her to her new black world.
We were miserable for months. The worst part was that I pitied myself, not her. I was tired of battling her negativity—and tired of feeling guilty about that.
Then, because I couldn’t avoid it, I left her alone for a weekend while I went on a previously scheduled men’s retreat.
I was fearful about returning home.
But as soon as I opened the door, I realized there was something different. There were once again flowers on the front hall table. Music was playing: Cheri’s favorite old hymns, and she was singing along.
I hurried to find her, and when I did, my Cheri once again looked out of her eyes into mine.
“Can you see?” I asked, not really believing.
“I see much more than I ever have, although I can’t see at all,” she answered enigmatically. “But I can tell you that my grandson’s personality is a sunny yellow; our daughter’s a lovely aqua. The argument I heard from next door sounded to me like an orange flame. The rain, ahhh, that’s such a beautiful silver.”
I began to fear we had another problem on our hands!
Smiling widely, she continued, “When I finally told God I could accept anything He sent my way, if I just knew He was with me, I began to ‘see’ my world in a whole different way.”
“How so?” I asked, drawing her to me.
“The world has always been full of beautiful colors,” she said, “and I thought I’d never see that again. But life itself has colors you can’t imagine, a whole rainbow of colors. I see joy as bright yellow, sorrow as shades of blue, confusion as lavender—so many colors, Paul! I’m sorry people with sight can’t see the colorful world I experience now.”
While she was learning from God a way to handle her loss of sight, I had been blind and selfish. But now I, too, see.
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