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Facing Sight Loss With Hope & Grace

Facing Sight Loss With Hope & Grace featured image description is in the body of the post.

Facing Sight Loss With Hope & Grace

My sight loss journey has been long and sometimes painful; however, it has also been full of hope and grace.

Rebecca In Front Of
A Historic Building

I was born with cataracts on both of my eyes (bilateral congenital cataracts). Before I was a year old, I had nine eye surgeries to remove my cataracts and secondary membranes that grew in their place. I also had muscle surgery to keep my eyes from crossing.

When I was four, I developed glaucoma as a complication of surgery. Since my right eye had issues focusing, my doctor recommended eye patching. As a result, I wore an eye patch over my dominant eye for an entire year.

I’ve had fifteen eye surgeries as an adult. The scar tissue from all of these surgeries sometimes causes pain and discomfort.

I can only see colors and shapes out of my right eye and the field of vision in my left eye is severely limited. In addition to having no peripheral vision or depth perception, I also have severe migraines that center around my eyes. My vision fluctuates. On a good day, I can see 20/30 in my good eye with best correction. On a bad day, all I can see are clouds and shapes.

A New Dream & A New Purpose

In college, I suffered a crushing loss. My dream was to become a music teacher; however, an important music professor refused to teach me because he “didn’t teach students with disabilities.” His ableism caused me to need to change my major.

At the time, I was crushed by the loss of my dream. Eventually, I changed my major to English Education because I have always loved words. Sadly, I met resistance there as well. When I was student teaching, I was told, “We’re afraid to leave the students alone with a blind teacher.”

I believe that God put a new dream on my heart and helped to form a beautiful mosaic from the broken pieces of my life. I attended seminary in Washington D.C. and I am blessed to be able to say that I have now completed five years of effective ministry.

In May, my church covenanted with me to always provide me with a job and a congregation to serve. We call this “ordination.” It was one of the most special days of my life. I couldn’t stop smiling. At last, it seemed that I had found my place in the world and that my life had a purpose.

Glaucoma: The Silent Thief of Sight

Although I have been blessed to have benefitted from some of the best medical care in the country at Will’s Eye Institute in Philadelphia, my vision continues to wane. I take five eye drops four times a day and a pill three times a day in order to maintain my eye pressure.

Each year, I lose a little more vision. At thirty years of age, I’m unable to read a book with a regular sized font for any extended period of time. As a person who loves books, this loss is the most painful loss of all.

Beauty from Brokenness

Like many people who are disabled, I have a complicated relationship with my disability. I still have a long journey ahead of me to achieve full acceptance of my sight loss. For example, I only use my white cane when I travel because I need it for safety.

I don’t know what the future holds for me. I don’t know if I will someday become more comfortable using my white cane or if I will ever learn to read Braille; nevertheless, my heart is full of hope. The essence of my job is to share hope with a dark and broken world.

I am blessed to serve a congregation that I love dearly and a church that is striving to become a more inclusive place for people with disabilities. I am also blessed to have wonderfully supportive friends and a spouse who loves me very much.

One thing is for certain: Even with my blurry vision, I can see that the future is bright.

Rebecca Holland blogs about faith, diverse books, and disability awareness at BeckieWrites.com. She has written a chapbook entitled, Through My Good Eye: A Memoir in Verse.

Facing Sight Loss With Hope & Grace Featured Image Description:

Rebecca grins broadly with her hand on her hip as she stands on the Millennium Bridge in London. St. Paul’s Cathedral can be seen behind her. She wears a bright green coat.

Rebecca In Front Of A Historic Building

Rebecca smiles while standing on the stone steps of a historic building. She is framed by a large wooden door. She wears a blue and green A-line dress. 

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Station in Life, Disabilities & Imagery

Station in life featured image description is in the body of the post.

Station in Life, Disabilities & Imagery

“Inspiration porn is harmful to society and people with disabilities for two main reasons. First, inspiration porn encourages “ableism,” which defines people by their disability and classifies them as inferior to those who are nondisabled. Second, inspiration porn distracts us from looking at the real issues.” ~Joy Thomas

The introduction below is for an article that will help you understand the significance of inspiration porn. To improve humanity by changing the way we perceive one another, let’s begin by understanding everyone desires to belong.

My friend, Joy Thomas, wrote a through-provoking piece “Inspiration or Ableism? How To Tell The Difference.” In the article, she talks about inspiration porn and offers in-depth thoughts on what our reaction to it means. 

As a member of the homo sapiens species, I am in awe, and to some degree saddened, by our differences. In awe, because I can’t comprehend how no one is a carbon copy with over 7 billion people on our planet. Likewise, I’m saddened because it sometimes feels like we place a greater value on which groups from which we come.

Except for my membership within people with disabilities (PwDs), I don’t know what it’s like to belong to any other majority group. Being an African-American female over age 50 with a disability places me in several marginalized categories of humans. I’m saying this to let you know that I have experience in what it’s like to be ‘different’ on many levels. While I won’t be considered acceptable to everyone, I do not and will not consider myself less valuable than another human being.

“Broken Crayons Still Color”

As human beings, we are complex and our world is massive. It makes sense that we would bond to those with shared commonalities. Additionally, it makes sense that our individual biases could prevent us from widening our circle.

When we qualify or compare our station in life to another person from a place of being better it’s problematic. While broken crayons may still color, as humans who are we to determine who’s broken? So please, when you have a moment check out Joy’s article on Crixeo.

Station in Life Featured Image Description:

A close-up view of a single dandelion plant with several seeds floating in the air. The plant is set against a clear blue sky background.