They say that “love is blind”. This evening, that saying took on a whole new meaning. Last week Rebecca made plans with the couple next door to eat dinner together tonight. Earlier in the afternoon the woman next door came over to make sure it was okay for her children to come with her (they don’t live with her). I was pleased to have them, even though I had to go and get more food. Honestly, more food means that I get to spend more time at the grill, so I was happy to do it. I turned around from the grill to see them all walking over together as a family. I noticed the brothers were walking with their arms linked, and one of them was carrying a long white cane.
What happened next took me by surprise. I have never been in the presence of a person who is unable to see, much less a child. At first, my heart went out to him and I felt bad for him. It did not take long for that to change. When I was being introduced the young man reached for my hand to give it a shake, when I looked up at mom with a big grin on my face she had that “just wait” look about her. Just then, the boy reached out and wrapped his arms around my waist. This almost brought me to tears as the young boy hugged me like a brother might after seeing his sibling for the first time in many years. Though it took me a bit by surprise, I was pleased to return the hug.
The rest of the evening was one blessing after another as I watched this young blind boy laugh and talk with us. He spent most of his time at the table with his dinner, as you can imagine it takes a boy without sight a little longer to navigate around his plate, but he did so with grace and ease. I was truly blessed to be in his presence and amazed to watch him, not just how he gets around, but his joy also.
The boy is not only blind, he also has a learning deficiency that leaves him at a six-year-old level, even though he is ten years old. In spite of his so-called “handicaps”, the boy is blessed with a great ability to love.
When I first met him I kind of felt sorry for him, but now, I feel sorry for me. I remember thinking about how bad I felt that he was “broken”, but I see now that I am far more “broken” than he. See, I believe with all of my heart that Jesus looks at this young boy who is filled with love and says “there is absolutely nothing wrong with him, he is perfect”.
It is amazing to me how we tend to look at others in situations that are different from ours, and “feel sorry for them” because they are not just like us, or how we believe people should be. I had this conversation with my cheerleaders this morning at practice (okay, maybe it was more like me preaching to them). I got so fed up with hearing things like, “I am not good enough”, or “I will never get it”. I heard things like, “I am not skinny enough, or pretty enough”. Society gives standards that they believe people should meet in order to be acceptable. Young teen age girls are starving themselves and painting their faces, or going to tanning booths to try to change who they are so the world will accept them. I too have fallen victim to this as I fall into a depression because of my physique.
Today, God changed my perspective. As I look at the trees in a forest and marvel at how perfect they are in their imperfections, I must look the same at a crowd of people. How boring would trees be if all of their branches were perfectly straight? The same goes with people. Just as in the case of the tree, we see its beauty in the fingerprint of God, as it is with people. Some are shaped different, others with natural physical ability, but all carry the Imago Dei.
Just as I see my broken-ness and lack of love because of my new young friend without physical sight, I see a broke and blind world, that creates a damaging atmosphere for our daughters and sons. We must do a better job at recognizing that man was created in God’s image, and because of that, we must do a better job of loving others, especially those who are different from us. When you get to know those who you feel are lacking, you will begin to realize that their physical condition is often a mirror that shows you your spiritual condition.