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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Poor (10/25/04)

TITLE: Visually Challenged
By Joanne Malley


I peered through the open doorway. People were seated in a circle ready to share their personal plight. Several pairs of curious eyes studied me as I stood with uncertainty.

“Come in…..welcome to our sharing session,” said Marie, the leader of the meeting. Her nametag served as a casual introduction.

I felt nervous and displaced as I stepped through the door.

“Hel..lo,” I said, with apprehension. “My name is Jenna.”

“WELCOME, JENNA!” The greeting was spoken in unison as it sprang from the mouths of eight strangers. I took the nearest seat and wriggled. My self-consciousness forced my eyes to dart in every direction. I wondered when my nerves would settle.

“Well…Jenna, this is where you can empty your heart and soul—a place where judgment doesn’t exist—a place of true understanding,” spoke Marie in a confident tone.

“Tonight, we’ll share what’s on our minds, while our problems stay anonymous to the world outside,” she continued.

I twisted my hands together in an attempt to calm my nerves, but my sweaty palms did little to wash away the anxiety.

Marie looked at me with a smile. “Don’t be nervous—you can speak now, Jenna.”

“Ahem.” I cleared my throat and began…

Since I was a young girl, shyness ruled my existence. It also inhibited my chances of making new friends. The ability to speak confidently was almost impossible. People in school misunderstood my shyness as snooty, conceited behavior since no one looked past the surface. If they only took the time to search, a shy girl would have emerged before their eyes. I felt defeated and alone, so I remained in my quiet world.

“Thank you for sharing, Jenna,” said Marie. “Is there anything else you’d like to say?”

“No, thank you,” I replied.

Marie went on to conclude…

“What you described are the effects of being judged by visually challenged people. They only see a small portion of who you really are or they choose to see what they want to see. They are guilty of poor eyesight,” confirmed Marie.

I listened to the others share their stories. Bitterness and sadness were carefully extracted from the wounds of broken hearts, lonely souls and lost dreams. As people were talking, Marie walked around the room and handed out glasses with rose-colored lenses. I accepted my pair, but thought her gesture was quite strange. She said nothing while she distributed the rest.

As a woman named Kathy shared her story, 98.4, WLBJ blared on my alarm clock radio. I was abruptly awakened from my dream and found myself in bed clutching my down pillow.

I re-positioned my covers and rested comfortably in bed. I thought about my dream and wondered if it held a special meaning. What did the rose-colored glasses mean? What can I learn from this?

As I prepared for my day, a moment of clarification broke through my clouded thoughts. Was the dream God’s attempt to suggest I look at people through rose-colored glasses? Perhaps those specs would allow me to see a beautiful shade of periwinkle where I thought I saw only gray. Maybe pink would turn into a dark shade of fuchsia, bursting with vibrancy, and black would totally disappear revealing pure, snowy white.

Those who judged me did it without those rose-colored glasses. Perhaps they made their judgment of me as they looked through the eyes of a friend, trusting what they saw as an accurate image of who I was. I wondered how many times I should’ve worn a pair of tinted spectacles? How many times did I borrow a friend’s eyes to see someone else?

I think my dream was meant to enlighten me about the wrongful judgment of others. Since magical rose-colored glasses don’t exist, I asked God to help me have 20/20 vision through the insight He’s given me. Hopefully, others will do the same when they find themselves visually challenged.

I stepped outside and the warm air greeted me. I looked closely at my pink rose bush that began to bud. In its perfect beauty, it revealed another gentle reminder from above. Hmmm…a rose-colored rose? I chuckled. God’s subtle humor offered another hint about poor eyesight, except this time, He spoke through a rose-colored rose! I guess it was one last nudge to adjust my vision to 20/20 in case it was out of focus.

I may be blind sometimes, but I’m certainly not dumb--I know when God is speaking to me.

Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Lee Schab 11/01/04
Loved it! What a great take on the topic. Poor eyesight is definitely a problem I have sometimes and one others have when looking at me, I'm sure. Thanks for reminding me to put on my rose-colored glasses today.
Great job!
Love, Lynda
Corinne Smelker 11/01/04
True out of the box thinking. Well written as usual!
Mitzi Busby11/01/04
Great perspective and great story.
Lucian Thompson11/01/04
Joanne, loved the use of the topic. Interesting story line. Keep me to the end with the great message. Well done.
John Hunt11/02/04
This is really excellent. From the clever twist of the term "visually impaired," to your usual well written flow, this was a pleasure to read.
John Hunt11/02/04
I meant "visually challenged." Otherwise, multiply my glowing comments tenfold.
Deborah Anderson11/02/04
Good story Joanne. The rose-colored glasses were given you to see others...just as you saw the rose in the end...in beauty. God's beauty in all of us. God bless you.
Lois Jennison Tribble11/03/04
Great approach to the topic and super first half through the dream! In the second half, you seem to be "telling" the reader more than "showing" him, so it loses momentum. I'd rather see you play up the great line, "How many times did I borrow a friend’s eyes to see someone else?" -- hitting the reader with more subtlety and provoking him to think. Very convincing dialogue, and a good job!

Hope Horner11/03/04
Great dialogue in the beginning and I could really feel her discomfort. I agree that the story lost momentum, but all in all, a really interesting piece. You have obvious writing talent! Thanks for sharing and God bless.
Debbie OConnor11/04/04
Terrific. This topic has been on my mind lately in my musings over the topic "insulted." Very, very good!
Terrific story Jo. I really liked the twist. It reminded me of the show "Dallas" Remember: "Who shot JR?" It all ended up being a dream. Aside from that, your story had a good message.
Verlie Ruhl11/05/04
I identified with your main character, and liked the positive conclusion she reached. Interesting touch, sharing God's omnoipresent humor with the "rose-colored rose".
Kevin Kindrick11/11/04
Well-written Jo, and an excellent portrait of a common plight of this world. If we'd all just take a moment and look at people through God's eyes, rather than our own, maybe we'd like what we saw, and keep on looking that way.

Thanks for sharing, and God bless,