Sunday, February 24, 2013


As the bandages were peeled from her eyes, Janet lay still in her hospital bed. She was now 50 years of age and for the half century of her life, never had she been able to see.

But now light came through and then for the first time, the bright light of day joined the fluorescent bulbs that lit her hospital room. And as she lifted her hands to rub her eyes, she began to see the faces looking at her.

As tears of joy trickled down her cheeks, Janet's doctor and a nurse smiled at her, and then her older sister Bonnie leaned over and laughing aloud in celebration, she took Janet's hands. "I can really see," said Janet. "I've waited nearly a lifetime for this. Thank you doctor, and thank you dear nurse."

"What would you like to see," Bonnie asked. "Your face," Janet replied. "For the first time, I can see what color your eyes are, what color your hair is and I can see and feel the glow of your smile."

Soon Janet rose from the bed no longer able to contain herself. "There is a whole world for me to see," she said, her voice filling the room with happiness. "Now I know what people look like, and I know what my clothes look like!"

In the days that followed, Janet saw the home in which she lived, its furniture and its garden. She saw a television set, a refrigerator and a lamp. And she began to see the architecture in buildings and the layout of parks and schools.

She looked at faces, looked at cars, looked at flowers, looked at trees, looked at birds, looked at waterfalls and looked at the clouds as they moved across the sky and she saw a sunset for the first time as well. "This is amazing," she kept saying.

Janet looked lovingly at her long-time companion, Boots her guide dog, and now with Bonnie, she went to the movies, to the theater, to an art show, to a book show and to a basketball game. And she stood in awe in a supermarket staring at the many food and beverage choices suddenly at her fingertips.

But most of all she was fascinated by people, as she watched them intensely. For unlike Janet most of them "multi-tasked," as they called it, staring at computer screens and cell phones, going to meetings and paying little attention to all the sights and sounds around them.

Janet saw them lined up in bumper to bumper traffic, or crowded in subways and buses and saw them on sidewalks hurrying to get to their appointments, apathetic and often seemingly purposeless.

"Don't you understand," Janet said as she grabbed one man by the shoulders, "You have been given an enormous gift of sight, and there is so much to see!" But he looked at her like she was crazy and shrugged off her grip and walked away.

"Look at that golden butterfly setting on that red rose," Janet called out to a woman walking by a flower planter, but the woman never acknowledged her as she hustled off into the distance.

"Sight is such a profound gift," Janet thought to herself. "So many people have it but so few use it or appreciate it, beyond using their eyes to do basic functions."

"But not me. There is a whole world to see," Janet told herself, "And I'm going to see as much of it as possible. I'm going to see the ocean, the mountains, the deserts and a hot fudge sundae with a cherry on top.

"And I'm going to see the birth of a baby, kittens with their mother, chocolate bars being made and save my money to see wonders only vision can fulfill such as the city of Jerusalem, the canals of Venice and the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

"For I vow not to waste this profound gift of sight and to use it with awareness every day of my life to see something new, or something old in a new way. My imagination is going to be filled with images and so will my dreams."

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