Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love at First Slight

No one likes being slighted.  It is embarrassing when someone accuses you of slighting them.  Before I became legally blind, when I was still in the low vision zone, I became so upset when a friend got angry with me for ignoring her when she waved from a distance that I wrote the following poem:

Hidden Handicap

You wouldn't know it to look at me.
You wouldn't know there was anything wrong at all
Until I walked into a wall.
You wouldn't know as your eyes met mine
That I wouldn't be seeing your tender sweet smile
And being stuck up is not my style.
You wouldn't know.
You wouldn't know by my needlepoint
that I couldn't see stars in the evening sky
or shiny airplanes flying by.
You wouldn't know.
You wouldn't know as I drove in my car
that I wouldn't be going very far.
You wouldn't know.
You wouldn't know it to look at me.
That's why I'm telling you these things today.
So you will understand and stay.
Because you'll know.

I've learned that it is my responsibility to let people know that I am vision impaired and that they need to identify themselves when they are greeting me.  "Hi, Susan, it's Theresa," is all it takes for friends, family, and coworkers to connect.  Sometimes they are still offended because I don't recognize their voices.  At these times, I have to patiently and gently explain that there is too much background noise, poor lighting, or other distraction.  The people who love me understand and cooperate without any drama.

We've been hearing and reading a lot lately about how men are more visual than women or that relationships begin with first, meaning visual, impressions.  I disagree.  Since I became visually impaired, I have noticed that I can tell more about a person by how he or she sounds than how he or she looks.  Perhaps this is just a skill I have developed, but it is a skill that I like and have learned to trust.

If you have not found Mr.  Right or Ms.  Right this Valentine's Day, don't stress.  I know totally blind couples who found each other, fell in love, and married.  If it is meant to be, it will happen.  If you know anyone who feels slighted by God because they have not been healed of a chronic illness such as a disease that causes some kind of vision impairment, please let them know that God loves them and wants them to love what is left.  He loved them at first sight and always will.

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