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Now I See

By Marsha Jordan

Due to complications of a connective tissue disease, without warning Iíd been struck blind. Doctors tried treatment after treatment, in a race to stop the damage to my eyes before it was too late. After each daily examination, the cornea specialist would hold his hand in front of my face and ask how many fingers I could see. Hope dwindled, as day after day I replied, "none."

As I lay awake in the lonely darkness, I prayed harder than Iíd ever prayed before. The last several weeks, I had been living in the middle of my most dreaded nightmare. I felt alone, frustrated, sad, and afraid. All my plans and dreams for the future were hanging by a thin thread that could break at any moment.

The searing pain stabbed at my eyes. It felt as if fire were consuming them. But it wasnít pain that caused my sleeplessness. Worse than the excruciating physical torment was the terrifying darkness and the agonizing over the "what ifís."

What if I accidentally pulled the protective coverings off in my sleep and rubbed my eyes against the pillow? The doctor had warned me to avoid even a slight touch to my inflamed corneas.

What if I would never regain my sight? What if I couldnít take care of myself? What if I couldnít drive my car and be independent anymore? What if I would never enjoy reading a book, watching a sunset, or Ė worst of all Ė gazing into the eyes of my beautiful grandbaby?

During the long, sleepless nights, I fumed in disbelief, "Why is this happening? I CANíT be permanently blinded!" In despair, I cried silently in my heart, questioning God. But I had to hold back the tears because crying irritated my eyes more.

Besides the torturous pain and the devastating fear of not regaining my vision, there was the anxiety over how to pay the medical bills. The cost of one doctor visit was a staggering $800, and I saw the doctor daily for six weeks.

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Iíd become very protective of my eyes and skittish about anything coming near them. I needed Valium just to be coaxed into the examining chair. When he came toward me with tweezers, I recoiled in terror and practically had to be held down. I soaked the chair with perspiration during each doctor visit and I literally shook with fear at the thought of him touching my eyes. So you can understand my reaction when the surgeon announced that he needed to cut my cornea, lift it, and clean under it. I told him, "Iíd rather have my legs amputated!"

They say courage is fear thatís said its prayers. I learned that truth by experience. I knew there were many people praying for me, my home church as well as churches across the country and even around the globe. I too prayed fervently. I begged God, not only for healing of my eyes, but for strength to endure whatever happened. I had to put my trust in Him, because He was in control and He was the only one who could help me.

While lying awake one night, I clicked on the TV. An all-night station played gentle music as a man read soothing Bible passages. It comforted and calmed me, so I began looking forward to listening every night. I was awake anyway, and it helped the hours pass more quickly.

Like a fountain of fresh water, Godís Word, combined with the soothing music, rinsed away my anxiety and worries and replaced them with peace. I was reminded of the words of Jesus: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you . . . Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27) At last, I was able to say, "Whatever you want, God."

I gave my fears to God and determined to believe in His love for me. I knew He would keep His hand on me, no matter what happened. And I knew He wanted only what was best for me, so why should I fear? If He chose to heal me, I would be unspeakably grateful. If He chose not to, I would remember that He had a reason for that, too. No matter what, with His help, I could go on with my life and use it for Him.

The surgery went well; in time my eyes healed, and my world grew brighter. The pain subsided, and the blackness gradually became a white fog. It was a long road to recovery, but I defied all odds. Slowly the fog grew clearer. After the ordeal, my doctor confided that he hadnít believed I would ever see again. He told me it was a miracle, but I already knew that.

Actually, God gave me two miracles. He healed my eyes, restoring my sight when doctors believed it was hopeless. And, like a plant bursting forth from a dead seed, faith, hope, and trust had blossomed from my fear. Perhaps that was an even greater miracle.

© Marsha Jordan
Marsha Jordan is a disabled grandmother who lives in the north woods of Wisconsin with her husband and their badly behaved toy poodle, King Louie. After her grandson was badly burned, Jordan created The HUGS and HOPE Foundation, a nonprofit charity devoted to cheering critically ill and injured children. Jordan's inspirational and humorous essays are available in her new book, "Hugs, Hope, and Peanut Butter," which is illustrated by kids who are battling for life.


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