I am not afraid of what blindness might do to my eyes. I am afraid of what it might do to my soul. Example: Walking home from the bus stop, my guide dog, Randy, and I skirted a truck blocking the sidewalk. This took us into the street and into a maze of construction barricades. There seemed no safe way to cross the street. I told Randy to sit, then barked at the man alongside the truck, “Are you going to help us or just stand there?” With that, Randy and I forged across Clark Street. We left that guy in the dust. Even had he lain in the gutter and begged us to walk across his back, we wouldn’t have accepted his help. Having channeled my fear into rage, I felt righteous.
My exultation quickly faded to regret. For the pleasure of revenge, I had jeopardized safety. I had proven that blind people can be hostile and shrill. I had muffed the opportunity to educate the public by showing this one guy how to serve his fellows, and almost got my butt run over in the process.
For the record, for every Samaritan who misses his cue, ten step forward with, “How can I help?” Under most circumstances I remain civil when stressed and I have become comfortable asking for directions. Still, there are times I lose it; times when I lash out. I am not always on my best behavior, yet I accept that anger is part of vision loss and I know there are times when anger prevails over calm, rational thinking.
I cannot control my vision loss. I can control what I make of it, how I adjust, and what kind of person I am as a result. I fear blame, self-pity and resentment will become my M. O.