The Blind Leading the Blind LO22716

Brock Vodden (
Thu, 23 Sep 1999 00:02:18 -0400

Responding to LO22698

"Maybe only the blind man realizes the true value and virtue of sight in
the world. "

What a coincidence that this message should arrive at the same time that I
am preparing to reprint a 1978 booklet that I wrote for my father who was
totally blind, having lost his sight at the age of 57.

I was writing an "Afterword" for this edition this afternoon and realized
yet again that I am still drawing new insights (new to me, at least) from
my father's wisdom, almost 15 years after his death.

In the beginning of this project, I was simply helping my father put
together a fact sheet which would answer the frequently asked questions he
encountered almost every day, questions about how he lost his sight, how
he managed with his leader dog, where he got the leader dog, how he
managed to perform his intricate craft work without sight, and on, and on.

Once we had covered the basic facts, he continued to think of other items
he wanted to include on this fact sheet. We were soon far beyond the
planned one-pager. Each time we met to "finalize" the project, he would
tell me about many other things that he thought people should know. He
wanted to tell about the wonderful people who had helped him adjust to the
new circumstances after losing his sight very suddenly at age 57.
Especially, he wanted to tell about how my mother had helped him cope with
diabetes as well as with blindness. Then he thought about other
transitions through which he had passed earlier in life, and the people
who had supported and encouraged him.

The fact sheet idea soon disappeared, and we both recognized that at the
very least, we were launching a small book project.

What I did not realize until much later was that this was not simply a
case of a small project growing into a bigger project. What my father did
was switch from preparing a list of facts about a blind man, to telling
the story of a man of many parts, who just happened to lose his sight
along the way.

He talked at length about the new vision he had gained through the loss of
physical sight. He felt that he was able to think more clearly about many
things, free of the many distractions of eye sight. He also mentioned all
the people with whom he had come in contact only because of this
condition, and the quality of the conversations he had with old and new
friends as a result of this major change which he had undergone.

It was truly a case of a blind person having a clearer vision than those
of us who are sighted.

I was so fortunate to have this opportunity to get to know my father in a
way would probably not have happened except for this project of ours.

Brock Vodden - Vodden Consulting
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