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history of vision loss


This inferiority complex is a very important issue in my spiritual journey and in my coming to terms with blindness. Many things cause me to feel inferior at times, but the one which never goes away and which I cannot change is my blindness. I cannot work to improve the amount of vision, even though I can learn to use it to a maximum degree within its limitations. Unless God chooses to heal me, I will always be inferior to most people in this respect. Blindness doesn't devalue me as a person; I still have the ability to think and adapt my methods of doing things. I can lead a fairly full life in spite of it. But in today's independent and often selfish society, anything that imposes limitations or the need to adapt upon a person is considered an inferior characteristic-- sometimes even a tragedy--and it is painful and even traumatic at times to be confronted with these attitudes.




In 1991, I was confronted with a bold and, in fact, very untrue statement. I was a freshman at a Christian college. I and my classmates were quite naive but used the buzz words of the Christian faith with ease. I found that often portions of the Bible were quoted out of context. One night, as a group of girls from my dorm were holding a discussion in my room, a girl stated that healing was an experience which naturally followed salvation. I could feel my face redden with anger. The implication of her statement was that if I was really saved, I would have been healed of my blindness! Who was she to judge me, and where had God promised this? If she was right, then what was wrong with me? I was a good girl. I prayed often--even several times a day. I didn't always read my Bible, but I didn't know anyone who did. I didn't say hurtful things. I never questioned whether Jesus died to save me. But I was blind!

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I struggled with this concept for a long time. I consulted my pastor, my uncle, my professors... I even started reading the Bible excessively, searching desperately for the truth about healing. In April, I summoned my courage to ask God to heal me. I thought I heard Him say that He would.



Still, I struggled. I tried to believe that it could happen any time, but I struggled with feelings of disappointment and doubt. In July, 1991, I was introduced to the passage in the ninth chapter of John where Jesus tells the disciples that the purpose of a man's having been born blind was so that the work of God could be displayed in him. I knew that Jesus had then healed the man, but I tried to content myself with the idea that the work of God did not have to be healing. It could be anything that brought other people into His Kingdom.



Still, as I gradually lost my vision that year, I began to find reading the Bible very difficult, especially when it led to reading about someone who had been healed. My idea for self-soothing had failed.



By October, 1991, the world around me appeared through a grey fog which was often impenetrable. During the winter months, when the sun rarely shown in Indiana, I forgot about the fog. My memory of how the world was supposed to appear took over. In my mind I saw all of the buildings looming around me, the contrast between sidewalk and grass, the outlines of cars, the sharp contrast between snow and my black Labrador retriever, Elli, who accompanied me as a guide. However, when I returned home to Texas, the sun was shining brightly through the windows--it must be since I could feel its warmth--but I could not see the furniture in the house or the dark shape of Elli sitting on the patio waiting to come into the house. Panicked, I saw the ophthalmologist. It was then that I was finally diagnosed correctly with glaucoma. Not until I began to learn about what glaucoma is did I realize that it must have been the cause of the brief but frequent appearances of that very same fog which led to the diagnosis of ocular migraine when I was 14 years old and that my assumption that lack of pain and presence of clear vision indicated that I could stop my medication had led to the raging out of control of painless chronic angle-closure glaucoma.


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Sarah Blake LaRose
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