Sight and seeing is as hearing and listening. We can see without perceiving what is really going on or hear without understanding the message. I have heard it said, ”No one is as blind as those who won’t see”. I believe that seeing is an attitude of the heart. Sometimes we disabled folk can be so wrapped up in ourselves that we stop perceiving the needs of those around us.
As my eyesight has faded I have had to be more open to perceive what is really happening. Not being able to see facial expressions can be a distinct disadvantage in a social setting, so one has to listen for voice inflections and silences to get a perspective on the situation. I find myself not always being accurate in my interpretation which can lead to awkward or humorous situations. If it is awkward, then stating the obvious often breaks the ice and resulting laughter relieves the tension.
I love the verse from the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Ephesians where he writes, “ I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you”. (1.18) I know that if I choose to be open-hearted and observant, without my eyes, I will notice many things that others may miss.
Having peripheral vision means that I am blessed to be able to see movement and colour – if the object or person is close enough. I have experienced an extrovert friend tell me that they are ‘fine’, but I have picked up unconsciously that their movements are less bold and more subdued. On further enquiry they spilled the beans about their struggle or disappointment and asked, ‘How did you know?’ It also works the other way…when a child is popping with excitement about something. They fidget and bop around. How are they meant to keep a secret about mommy’s birthday present, when blind mommy says, “what are you so excited about?”
Seeing with the heart is an opportunity that low vision sufferers have the option, or privilege, to develop.