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To see or not to see. I often do both.

July 26, 2017 Karianne 4 min read No Comments

March 23. I cried at work today. No, my boss wasn’t being mean. My boyfriend and I weren’t breaking up. And the internet wasn’t down. I cried because I was scared.

It happened so suddenly. I was working on an email to send to the magazines listed in our directory. We ask all magazines to update their listing once a year, or we remove them for being inactive. First, we send out one big email to the whole group. But since nearly half of them don’t respond to that, the next step is a personal email to every person.

Why does that matter? Because it’s important that you know I wasn’t writing something that would change the world. I wasn’t typing an inconvenient truth that could alter the course of the future. I wasn’t even working on a blog post. It was a simple message like: “Hey, haven’t heard from you. Is your magazine alive?”

Yet during this humble task half of the screen disappeared from my sight. Instantly. It was like someone drew a diagonal line across my eyes and erased the world beyond it.

I blinked, and rubbed, and tapped, and squeezed but the small line remained as steady as a spotlight. From the half of my desk that I could see, I grabbed a piece of paper–a script to call donors and thank them–and darted for the bathroom.

For 15 minutes I sat on the toilet (with the lid down). I stared at the paper with missing words and prayed. Honestly, I haven’t prayed that hard since last Thanksgiving when my friend had a brain aneurysm. But knowing my co-workers were on the other side of the wall, I tried to muffle my sobs. The last thing I wanted was to make a big deal out of nothing, like what happened when I was five.

This is an embarrassing story, which means it was both funny and traumatizing when it happened. I remember I moaned and groaned in pain for hours that night. The knots and burning aches that twisted my gut are easy to recall, even 20 years later.

You see, I was born with a busted kidney, and the pain seemed to radiate around the scar that ran down my back. Finally convinced this was an emergency, my mother rushed me to the hospital. Men and women in dark blue scrubs did an exam, a scan, and maybe an ultrasound. Like a crinkled picture, I can see the blueish-white light of the metal room, my mother trying to stay awake in the chair by the wall, and the chilled table I had to lay on.

Eventually the doctor came back, holding papers and trying to hide his smile. My diagnosis? It was gas. I had an excruciating case of gas…

My mom was embarrassed. I was mortified. And I decided I’d never go to the hospital again, unless I wasn’t given the choice. To this day I’ve kept that resolution. So I didn’t want to startle my co-workers over a little vision loss.

But I was scared. All my dreams require the ability to see. I want to be an animator, compete on a dirt bike, snowboard, practice archery, and although today it is less challenging with voice-to-text technology, even writing is easier when the writer can see. All those goals began to turn to ash. But at least I can still play my cello.

With that realization, a small, soft hope whispered through my thoughts. I shocked myself as I prayed, “God, thank you for 25 years of having sight. I’m grateful. And I will love you no matter what. I’m sorry I stopped using my sight to actually see people…”

Slowly the flashing line faded. I could see all the words of the script! I wiped my puffy eyes and hurried to my desk where I quickly discovered that the light from the computer screen and the sun poked the back of my brain like a throbbing bee-sting.

Thankfully, I was able to drive to my church’s small group meeting after work. They prayed over me and asked for my healing. As they prayed, a strange, warm tear slipped from my tear duct. Don’t get me wrong–the tear wasn’t strange, rather a tear from the inner corner of my eye was new to me. After they said amen, I felt good for the first time all day–even the pressure in my skull was gone.

I don’t know why I lost my vision, and I don’t know why it came back. There’s no guarantee that I won’t pinch a nerve or lose my any of my senses randomly another day. This was a terrifying reminder that the things I take for granted can disappear and change everything in a breath.

I need to make a conscious effort to be grateful for every sunrise and take the time to see people, really see people. I’ve gotten into a bad habit of keeping my head down and eyes halfway closed–even with all of my vision I saw less than half of the world. I acted blind even when I could see.

Maybe this was a warning. Maybe I should actually go to the doctor. But most of all I think this was encouragement, and it might encourage you too. Don’t live like you’re blind.

UPDATE: I went to an optometrist. They said the vision loss is called an aura and it’s “normal.”

Meet the author
Founder - Art Director - Animator | Website

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Karianne is the founder of Windmill Ways. She plays the cello professionally and currently works as an Art Director for a charity. Because she loves animated shows and movies, she studies 3D animation and graduated with a BFA with the unfortunate class of 2020. Her dream vacation would be just staying home, but "home" being a glamorous cabin somewhere in the mountains surrounded by forest.

Favorite band: Lord Huron
Favorite book: This Present Darkness
Favorite quote: "Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail." Proverbs 19:20-21 (NLT)

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