Saturday, December 27, 2008


Last night, my darling, Jasmine, walked over to me, lifted herself up, and plopped her little body into my ever-available lap. She rested her head on my chest and asked me a question that probably has been lingering in her head for at least a few minutes, which is a long time when looking at the attention span of a five-year-old.

"Ann, you gon' be blind forever?"

The word "forever" rang loudly in my head. I didn't quite know what to say. "Forever is such a long time." I thought. And the idea of admitting that my blindness could be sticking around forever was a bit overwhelming at that particular moment.

I quickly thought, "What do I tell her?" If I say yes, I would basically be telling the truth. Well, at least the doctor's version of the truth... But saying yes is surrendering to the condition, and signaling to the atmosphere and perhaps God that I don't have enough faith to believe that I will see again.

The truth is that I absolutely want to see again. And I would do anything, and I mean anything to get that chance. But to be quite honest, I think that I am at a place that I honestly believe that the chances of seeing again are slim to none. But I haven't always felt this way.

When I first started losing my sight, my folks used to drag me to every healing crusade, revival, and conference that was being held in the city. My aunts would recommend certain preachers that they believed had the gift of healing to my Mama. And my mama would take me to each of them, hoping that the Lord would touch her baby and give her sight back. And I was hoping too.

So, it didn't matter to me how many prayer lines I needed to stand in, how much blessed oil needed to be splashed on my forehead, how many times I needed to turn around in a circle, and how many meals I had to fast from...I wanted to see again. And I believed that God could do it. And I really thought that believing that He could do it meant that He would do it.

But with each passing year, the Glaucoma that was ravishing my eye continued to get worse, and my sight continued to fade. By the time I was thirteen-years-old, my right eye was completely blind. And the visual acuity in the left eye was so bad that I could not walk in unfamiliar territories without sighted assistance. But I didn’t stop believing though. I continued to fast, pray, anoint my own head with oil, get prayer from the elders, call prayer lines, quote scriptures, and declare the victory over my blindness.

But to no avail, despite 14 surgeries and my unwavering faith in God, I lost all of my functional vision my senior year in high school. I only had light perception in my left eye. But no matter how dark it was, I continued to fast and pray. I refused to give up.

Two years later, the tiny bit of sight that I had left to let me know if the sun had rose in the morning had left me. And I was left in total darkness and complete despair. My faith was shattered, and I begin to wonder if believing and expecting a healing was handicapping my ability to “see” what God truly wanted for my life.

After a lot of aching and pain, I realized that I saw God as a healer and not a sustainer. I believed that He could heal me. But strangely enough, I didn’t believe that He could make life with blindness be alright.

Huge leap from then to now…

I do believe that God can heal. But I refuse to spend too much time dreaming about the day that Angie possibly gets her sight back. Instead, I spend my time trying to figure out how I can trust God to see what it is I’m supposed to be looking at.

So, back to Jasmine's profound question... After allowing memories of pain, disappointment, and sadness rush through my head, I took a deep breath and with confidence, I told Jasmine that yes, her aunt will probably be blind forever. And that it is truly okay.

Angela L. Braden


The Original Wombman said...

Hey Angela. This post moved me profoundly. It speaks to some of the things I've been wondering about. Thank you for sharing.

Angela L. Braden, Writer, Speaker, Professor said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. If you're wondering about anything else, please ask. I like to answer question. **smile**

risingsun said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I suffered a lost of vision in my left eye at the age of 13 do to a injury i suffered at 9yrs old. I have gone through my own ups and downs through the years do to a anxiety condition and self consciousness over the appearance of my eye. There has been many days where i wondered if i could make it without sight and what the quality of my life would be. However, I have taken up yoga and meditation. Meditation has allowed me to become free of my thoughts. I can know see both the positive and negative patterns of my thought stream, therefore i am no longer burdened by them. My thoughts, whatever they may be are not me. I have a better appreciation for what I have. In order for us to have healing we must have compassion for ourselves. Compassion is the answer to despair whether or not the despair is ours or others. Live your life fully, in doing so you will show others how to live. Once again thank you for your insights.

My you have joy overflowing.