This morning whilst going through my typical morning routine of coffee, muffins, and the TODAY Show, I got sucked into an interesting conversation that my parents were having.
If blind, would you rather have lost your eyesight overtime, or have never had it at all?
Dad said he’d never want to have had it at all. It would be too devastating to know what you once had and then to lose it.
Mom said she would want to have had it, but then lose it. She would want to know what people are talking about when describing things to her. She would want to have an idea of the world around her.
Mom’s opinion got me thinking.
What if I had a friend who was blind (from birth) and I were to try to describe the world around us to them. What would I say? How would I even start?
How do you explain something so great as the mountains?
How would you describe what colors are?
How do you even begin?
Here’s what I think I would say:
The best part about living in Colorado is that no matter where you are, when you turn your eyes to the west, you can see the mountains. All across the horizon are these monstrous humps that seem to stand over the rest of the state demonstrating their beauty and power. The sun sets behind them and casts a shadow that radiates their glory across the sky through the clouds. As you get closer to them their details start to show. It’s as if the ground gets taller and taller and steeper and steeper until the earth meets at a point in the sky. Perspective on life changes as you get deeper into the mountains. Your life doesn’t seem so big anymore as you look up at the landscape before you. Your bubble that you live in daily opens up into something far greater than ever imagined, and you don’t even need to see it to feel it. The air feels bigger, the sounds are further away but yet hit you closer. The wind blowing through the trees, the clear sounds of birds and bugs as they sing their songs with no interruptions. Flowing water that cascades through the earth, free of obstructions. The feeling of the cool earth beneath your feet, and the mixture of warmth and shade as you walk through the ever-changing scenes. You don’t experience the same thing twice. No mountain is the same. It’s something unlike any other place in the world. And the best part is that feeling it is even better than seeing it.
The ocean is bigger than anything ever imagined. It’s the one part of Earth that seems endless. Standing on a beach and looking out onto the sea there is nothing but water until it meets the sky. Just by hearing it you can feel its endless wonder. Even while looking at it it’s a mystery. No one has seen every part of the ocean, and even the creatures that live underneath the surface live in the wonder. Being submerged in the middle of the sea is like entering another world. Everything becomes still yet the life below you is busy. The fish and plants move in such mystical movements that you find yourself swaying to the rhythm of the water without thought. You hear nothing but silence when you are in the water and you feel weightless. Blind it may feel as if you’ve just being launched into space and theres nothing around you. No feel, no sound, no sensation. But with sight it’s a world unimagined. More colors and life than you’ve ever experienced before. Creatures that can only be described as alien but they’re yet the most beautiful life you’ve ever witnessed. And when you pop your head above the surface of the water it all disappears. The ocean is a silent world that lives loud all around us.
A puppy is the most selfless soul on Earth. Imagine the stuffed animal you’re holding filled with life and curiosity. No matter what they are doing, they seem to do it with a smile. I like to describe all dogs as the only creatures on Earth who are always ready for a party. Puppies never stay in one place for longer than a few seconds when awake. They are always wondering around looking for something new. They get distracted easily by the wind. Simple sound like a toilet flushing or a phone ringing are strange to them and startle them. They put everything in their mouths similar to a human baby. They want nothing but to love and be loved and it’s the most innocent and precious thing one could witness. When they sleep they like to be close. They want to feel someone or something they love close by. The way their little tummies hover up and down is the softesst movement witnessed by man. Their eyes light up the world around them as everyone, no matter who you are, stop to swoon at the new life. Puppies are a true gift from God, and a joy in life that we don’t even deserve.
A tree is a symbol of life. They stand tall and give life to those around it. They start at the ground as a hard wooden trunk. Some small, others big. Some house creatures, others just there for their simple beauty. At the top flow out branches and leaves of all shapes and sizes. They sway in the wind and shine in the sun, and throughout the year if you’re lucky enough to live in a place of seasons, their character changes. Though it’s their time of death, they give life to the world around them. Yellows and oranges and reds of all shades signaling the approaching end to a year and a start to another. Though lifeless in the winter, the spring proves their resilience. Life flows back through their roots and sprouts of green and flowers and fruits lay before us. When you’re walking down a road and all of a sudden no longer feel the intense heat of the sun on your skin, you can look up and thank the trees for the cool shade it provides. Trees seem to know just the right time for everything. They know when to shade, they know when to blow, they know when to be still and covered in snow.
We all take our sight for granted. It took a lot of creativity and reflection to choose my words wisely on how to describe life’s greatest treasures to those who aren’t as lucky to see them.
Take a moment and think about how you would describe the world around you to someone who can’t see it. Doing so provides a perfect opportunity to appreciate what we take for granted and send a thank you to the One above for the blessings we can see around us.