There are some steps we take in life that we do not wish to revisit. Often, these steps humble us or harden us. In some instances, each step draws us closer to the Lord.
Years ago, I went through visual impairment immersion training through the Texas Department of Assistive & Rehabilitative Services. This training pushed up against my desire to be in control, often leaving me feeling vulnerable. Yet, I knew the intent of the training was not to embarrass me but to prepare me. Even still, I got it wrong a lot; I questioned my ability to live in the future with any amount of success as a blind person, much less an active blind person.
Throughout my training, I was given something called a MindFold. This mask provided total darkness even when my eyes were open. With my MindFold on, I was instructed and guided as I learned everything from how to chop vegetables in the kitchen with a serrated knife, to count money, to select outfits and determine the colors in my wardrobe. But by far the most challenging task I performed was learning how to use a white cane.
You do not know how much you need something until it is the only thing directing your steps. Until this moment, I never truly evaluated how much I trusted myself. I knew I was a Believer, but how often did I allow the Holy Spirit to be my guide…my only guide.
I was driven in a van with my classmates, all of us wearing MindFolds. We each had different stories and varying degrees of vision loss. Some visual impairments were caused by oxygen deprivation and disease, others caused by accidents. We bonded in our vulnerability, and I could often hear sighs and quiet surrenders as we tried again and again to get it right…and then be tasked to do it all over.
The van stopped, and the driver opened the door, telling us to get out and wait. We each grabbed our canes and stood beside the van, not knowing where we were or who was huddled around us.
“Today we will begin to learn how to walk down sidewalks and cross streets.”
I couldn’t help but think of the word “we” as it would be just me, myself, and I taking the steps. I had no idea how near or far my instructor would be from me. Could he get to me in time if I stepped out in front of a car, if a driver was distracted or impatient and caused me harm? I soon realized we were to learn the sidewalks, not have the instructor smooth the walk before us.
My heart beat ferociously, pushing out all distractions while embracing what I knew to be true: the sound of cars dipping into potholes, the unevenness of the sidewalk, and the unique ability to trust what was both in me and leading me. I learned to trust the cane in my hand as much as I learned to trust myself to hold the cane. I realized my vision is more internal than external. I also understood that being scared and bold at the same time is very, very possible.
I have often thought of this time in my life, especially when I am scared of what I see…or don’t see. I have learned there is a “we” – the Holy Spirit in me is we.
Christ does not layout a smooth walk in life for us to take; rather, His plan is for us to trust Him and learn His ways. In doing so, we become intimately aware of our choices and surroundings, and we are armed in thought and action when we come across temptation and opposition. Yes, we put our trust in the One who is eternal rather than focusing on external circumstances.
There is a beautiful balance of living when our hearts see through the eyes of Jesus…when we allow Him to be our guide. The potholes and unevenness become testimonies rather than roadblocks. And we realize being scared and bold at the same time is often when faith kicks in. Beautiful, beautiful faith.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
SGLY, dear reader.
(Smile, God Loves You.)
Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. You can find her newly released books, “H.E.R.O. Faith” and “Bad Disciples” on Amazon. To submit feedback on SGLY, please contact news@amtrib. com.