Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's Fall Time, and I am Blind

A few years ago I heard a story about a blind man sitting on a street corner begging for money. He had a cardboard sign propped up next to him that said, "I am blind." People rushed by him on their way to work, oblivious and blind themselves. Then a man approached. He took the blind man's sign and added some words to it, and pretty soon the blind man could only hear the clank of the coins being placed in his can. After a few minutes, the blind man asked the next person to drop money in, "What does my sign say?" The woman answered, "It's springtime, and I am blind."

Yesterday I met a blind lady at the train station. I didn't know she was blind until she stood up when the train whistle sounded and started walking straight toward the drop-off of the tracks. I yelled, "Wait! Stop!" Then we both laughed. We talked the entire hour-long trip: I'd look at her and then look out the window at the gorgeous snow-topped mountains and clear blue sky that I knew she couldn't see. I helped her buy her ticket when we had to transfer trains. How does a blind person know the difference between a $1 bill and a $5 bill unless there's someone there to tell them?

I kept asking her questions, and she kept answering. We both could feel the warm sun even though it was 50 degrees outside. She told me how she still does face painting—she showed me pictures on her camera and it's amazing what she can still do—and how she's looking for a new line of work now that she can't see the computer. She's a weather person—a meteorologist. She just started losing her sight two months ago, and she's a single mom of six kids, her youngest being 11 years old.

What an inspiring woman. My world meant more to me after I left her side. It's fall time, and I can see.

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