Sarah Blake LaRose (3kitties) wrote,
Sarah Blake LaRose
3kitties

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What influences reactions to blindness?


How do I feel about blindness? That's not an easy question to answer. My feelings have changed a lot over the years, often without my knowing it. I've met people who seem to think that it's important for anyone who is blind to grieve the loss of vision in order to experience fullness of life. I'm not sure I can agree with this completely. I do think that acknowledging limitations is important, but blindness isn't always limiting in the same ways from one person to the next. It would be if there were no compensatory skills or other accommodations. It would be if all blind people had the same financial hardships. But variations in skills, opportunities, and resources change the impact that blindness has on a person's life.



The other thing about reactions to blindness (or any disability, in my opinion) is that a person can't just grieve and then move on with life. Grief is something that I experience off and on, something that may reoccur even after I think I have resolved an issue. For me, reactions to blindness are influenced by a number of factors: how much ability I perceive I have to change a negative situation; whether a significant person in my life is reacting negatively to my blindness and what the nature of the relationship is; whether blindness seems to put me at a disadvantage in a given situation, whether there are ways around the disadvantage and how willing people are to assist me; whether other things in my life are more significant than the current blindness-related problem; my general stress level at the time of a particular incident; and many other things I probably haven't even identified. Something that bothers me greatly today might be of little consequence tomorrow--and it might even be of little consequence 15 minutes from now.



Then there is the relationship of disability and spirituality. For most of my childhood and teen years, I didn't consider blindness to be something significant in my spiritual life. Reading about Jesus healing the blind man didn't bother me. But there came a time when it did bother me--and it bothered me for a long time. I have a much lighter heart about it in general on most days now, but I think that is partly because I choose not to think about it. When I think about it, how God relates to people with disabilities matters very much to me. Are we just object lessons in the theology of sin and faith for the rest of the world, or does God care about the impact of disability on our daily lives? It matters because God's relationship to me as a human with human needs matters. And that's something I still don't have a mature perspective on. I've been working through Beth Moore's Bible study, Believing God. In it, she says that our "promised land" is the place where our reality and theology meet. I have not even come close to my "promised land" yet.


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