Two months ago I called Compassion International regarding my correspondent child, Josué. I hadn’t heard from him in 6 months and was worried something had happened. During my call, I also asked Compassion to check on my little Emily’s mother. In a recent letter, Emily shared that her mother was recovering from surgery.
Last Friday I opened my email to read the following:
I am writing in regard to an inquiry about your Compassion child, Emily, and her mother’s health. Our Ecuador country staff has informed us that Emily’s mother’s eye was operated because of bacterial Keratitis. This is a condition in which the eye’s cornea becomes inflamed. The condition is often marked by moderate to intense pain and usually involves impaired eyesight. The mother had myopia (nearsightedness) and due to this, she began to use contact lenses, but she was not careful enough and bacteria affected her eyes. This is why surgery was necessary and was supported by the Municipal patronage. Regrettably, Emily’s mother lost her sight and now she has prosthesis in her eyes. She is fine and her health is much better now. She is also receiving medical treatment.
Wait, what?! Emily’s mother suffered from nearsightedness – something we have in common – and was then given contact lenses. I wear contacts – I never enjoyed glasses, and, once I was old enough to care for the contacts I left my glasses behind. But, and this is a big one, I have the ability to keep my contacts clean. I have clean water, a case full of sterile solution, and the opportunity to wash my hands before I put in or take out my contacts. Emily’s mother is not so fortunate. She lives in an area where clean water may not be available. There’s no telling how long she left a single pair of contacts in – I have problems with mine if I don’t take them out every night. So, you see, I’m a bit concerned as to why she was given contacts as opposed to glasses in the first place.
I contacted Compassion again and learned that, in essence, they came in when the mother needed surgery – after her eyes had become infected from the contacts, and had no input into the prescribing of contacts over glasses.
I fear that Emily’s mother may have chosen the contacts over the glasses because of the cost – a single pair of contacts is much, much cheaper than a single pair of glasses. But oh, what a cost – to lose one’s sight.
She is my age, Emily’s mother. She is my age and already has four children, and now, she has lost her sight. My heart aches for her. She will never see her grandchildren. She will never see her children grown into the strong and capable people they are destined to be. She will expierence it, but she will not see it.
How will she work? How will she maintain her home? She will have to relearn everyday tasks – imagine cooking blind. I know it can be done- there are so many accomplished people who experience life without sight daily. People who thrive despite being blind. People who use their blindness to their advantage, but I fear she will slip into depression, that she will lose motivation, that she will slip into a darkness that runs deep. Perhaps I am reading too much into this – perhaps I am projecting my feelings onto her.
I mean really, aren’t we all blind in some way? Blind to what we do not want to see. Blind to the pain. Blind to the suffering. And, in some cases, blind to the love.
We are all blind.
But to be totally without sight – my mind cannot fathom.
Yet, All is Grace, and I know God has a greater purpose for this change in young Emily’s life and her mother’s.
The LORD said to [Moses], ‘Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?’
But, the time is hard and this change must be overwhelming for her. So, would you take a moment and send up a prayer for Emily’s mother and her family? I’d be ever so grateful.