“Treasures of Darkness” illustration by Gary Gaede

Advent Day 1 – Sunday, December 2

Thoughts of despair were scrolling through my mind! How would I get groceries, cook, care for the children? This was a new chapter in my life I had not anticipated. The doctor had just told me one eye was legally blind (20/200) and the other eye would be within a year. I’ve read about God being the potter and we the clay…molding people…taking a chunk out here and a slice off there…this was a big cut, it seemed to me! I did what most people would do: I cried.

Rehab for the Blind was my next stop. Here I was introduced to low-vision aids and some computer skills, which are key to my being independent today. I can read my mail, take care of my financial responsibilities, and enjoy reading books (mostly on cassette) and Bible studies.

I also have an army of people who help me with this independence: The paratransit drivers, the Project CAR and Meals on Wheels volunteers, Hy-Vee med-delivery service, friends and family, plus Andy’s Affiliated Foods employees Sharon, Deb, and Millie, who take my grocery orders over the phone to be delivered by Turning Point kids! Yes, these wonderful people all help me stay independent!

Losing my vision has given me experience leading to empathy for others with disabilities. I don’t deny, however, I greatly miss not seeing that expression in your eyes that seems to radiate from your soul, or the wonderfully trusting innocence in the eyes of a child.

Today, I try not to focus on my losses and just be grateful for the blessings I do have. Life can even be funny at times. Like when I put a huge tablespoon of jam on my toast and it turned out to be pickle relish. Or the time I woke one morning to see my beautiful, 120-pound golden retriever, Custer—the love of my life, who sleeps on the floor beside me, walks with me, protects me, talks to me with his body language—this wonderful creature had made a mess on the bedroom carpet! I quickly ushered him out and sat on the bed, grimacing at what I had to do. So, with plastic bag, paper towels and rubber gloves, I gingerly laid the paper towels down, pressed my fingers into the carpet around the mess, and…what? This did not feel right! I very carefully turned my hand over to see I had picked up a pair of nylon footlets! I utterly collapsed with laughter and relief! Custer came in and looked at me quizzically as I gave him an unexpected hug.

I hope in reading this you felt my pain, saw my recovery, and even laughed with me. God has humbled me and now I try to look at life through his eyes; this gives me appreciation, thankfulness and love for the many blessings I have.

“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, whatever is excellent or praiseworthy…think about such things. The God of Peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8

—Jeanette Stadtfeld

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