My dad was born blind. He attended school for the deaf and the blind. His was blind his entire life, up until the day he died. Dad died at age seventy. He would be ninety-six today. His life was one of challenges just like yours. His blindness only created added struggles.
I heard my dad on many occasions describe his blindness as a nuisance when most people called it a handicapped. He didn’t consider himself handicapped, only hindered. It was because the mindset of the general public that blind people could not contribute to society that helped lead dad to begging.
He loved mom and they had four kids. The first one died shortly after birth. There was my sister, me ( the middle child – don’t you feel sorry for me?), and my little brother.
Dad chose to learn to play chords on a guitar and to set out to playing gospel music at various locations to seek financial help from people. I do not recall why he didn’t seek government help through the welfare system or food stamps. I don’t remember him ever saying. I know dad was a proud man and felt there was something he could do to earn a living. Perhaps playing gospel music was something he thought people would like to hear as they shopped, went to work, or to entertainment venues?
It was on one of those trips when dad’s faith was called into question. The three of us kids would take turns standing with dad as he ‘worked.’ We held our cup. The location of this instance was what was called a ‘shopping center’ in them days. The store was named ‘Sky City.’ Odd name for a department store as I think think on it. (Pardon me, I digress.)
A woman came up to dad as he was playing gospel music on his guitar. She spoke to dad saying, if you had the faith you’re singing about then you wouldn’t be blind and walked away. Dad was naturally bothered. He was, in fact, a man of faith. The three of us kids often made it hard on dad when he would make us get up and go to church. We didn’t want to go.
The only clothes we had for church were the Easter clothes the three of us got every Easter. That was when we got our church shoes too. We got picked on, made fun of. We felt unacceptable. We didn’t measure up to the social economical status of the membership.
I was too young to understand the woman’s remark to dad. I saw how it upset him. I’m older now and have studied the Holy Bible. I continue to do so. I’ve gone to Bible College and Seminary. I understand a little more why the woman felt the way she did. I don’t understand why she had to make the statement and leave. Least she could have done was given her explanation and heard from dad.
It is my conviction that Jesus didn’t heal every single person he met during His earthly ministry. I don’t believe every single person is healed today and it is not due to a lack of faith. There are people of faith who continue in there need of healing whose miracle is not a healing but an enabling to endure in the midst of it.
Dad was a blind man of faith. Before he died he expressed to me his conviction, repentance, and acceptance of Jesus as his personal Savior. He renewed his faith. Like us of the Christian community, we have our mountain tops and our valleys. We too need to surrender to divine conviction, repent, and accept the forgiveness of Jesus.
As dad aged, society progressed. A Commission for the Blind was established in our state and dad was trained to manage a concession stand where the profit would be his earnings. He started out operating a concession stand in the local Federal Building, to one at the local college, and another in a large office building.
Pancreatic cancer took dads life in 1991. He went into the hospital for what was thought to be gall bladder surgery. The doctor said he had two weeks. I refused to believe it. It was ten days when I got the call to get to the hospital.
Once was blind, but now I see
Until next time,