Sunday, June 24, 2012


I've heard the story before... but never has it been this real. I put my fingers in my ears, close my eyes and try to imagine...

7 years of nothing.... nothingJust blackness, solitude, isolation. 

My mind thinks of my own 7 year-old nephew and I think to myself, "seven years is a long time." And it is... a very long time. It is a long time to live in a world of complete blackness, to never see the splash of light falling through the window or the vibrant green of spring bursting forth with new life. I can't imagine never seeing the beauty of a sunset or the gleam of a rainbow in the bright blue sky...  I just can't imagine it... I can't.

What does it take to imagine pure isolation... not being able to tell my family what my favorite food is or to hear their laughter and voices; to have no picture of sparkling eyes to remember, no sound of joyful voices; to never see a smile or hear someone laugh with delight; to hear no comforting words... no encouragement, instruction, communication... no way to say "I love you" except by touch and feel. I can't imagine what it would be like to live in a prison of darkness and solitude.

Only blackness... and silence...

My eyes welled with tears at the thought of a little, frustrated 7 year-old girl who didn't even understand that water had a name. I can't blame her - I'd be frustrated too...

Yet, at that magical moment at an old water pump, when someone finally took the time to break through this prison of darkness and touch her soul... when light and hope and joy first found birth and she was able for the first time to communicate in return... a miracle happened. And later when told about God she signed back "I always knew that He was there, I just didn't know His name."

I'm struck with silence. 

Seven years. Years I can't imagine, yet in her darkness and solitude she knew she wasn't alone. No one could tell her - but she knew He was there.

And now, after spending a long weekend with some blind friends - I realize that maybe they have taught me to see just a little clearer what it means to trust. Being forced to trust (at least if you want to live a normal life) is perhaps a greater advantage than most of us who can see will ever understand in the same way...

And perhaps, just perhaps... trust is best learned in total darkness. 


I can see, and that is why I can be happy, 
in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden. 
I can see a God-made world, not a manmade world.
They took away what should have been my eyes
(But I remembered Milton's Paradise).
They took away what should have been my ears,
(Beethoven came and wiped away my tears).
They took away what should have been my tongue,
(But I had talked with God when I was young).
He would not let them take away my soul -
Possessing that, I still possess the whole.
-Helen Keller 


  1. That is such a touching story! Thankyou for sharing.

  2. If she could trust God in utter isolation; I wonder what excuse we have? Do our senses hinder our trust?
    Maybe faith would come easier to those who struggle or fight it- to any of us really, if they lacked all sight and sound but that "still, small Voice"...

  3. "And perhaps, just is best learned in total darkness."
    And to think of how often I've found myself fleeing that darkness...

    Thank you Paul, for sharing this. I don't think I'll look at Helen's story -or darkness- in the same way again.


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