I Believe in Second Chances

During the first decade of progressive vision loss, I could not conceive of blindness and happiness coexisting in the same sentence, let alone in the same lifetime.  I saw no redeeming quality, no silver lining in the storm cloud of diminishing eyesight.

After banishing most pleasure from my life, I began my renaissance by purchasing a replacement set of golf clubs. I joined the Blind Golfers Association, where I teamed up with a sighted golfer and got loose on the links.  I plunked down $45 at the local thrift shop and the Babe Didrikson Zaharias authorized replica clubs were mine.  I figured Babe Didrikson Zaharias was a sports legend along the lines of Babe Ruth, but it turned out she was several inches shorter, and so were my golf clubs.

Anyway, I walked homeward, golf bag in one hand, my first Seeing Eye dog, Sherlock, in the other.  My neighbor Joe took a long look and said, “You must have one hell of a slice.  The 17th fairway is three miles west of here.”

I consider myself a happy person.  I have a lapel button that says so.  I have a smile that says so.  I laugh a lot.  I do not consider myself happy “in spite of” anything or because I’m too stupid to realize what a challenge blindness is.  I am free to say that, sometimes I hate blindness, but I don’t hate myself.  Blindness sucks but I don’t.  I do not define myself by my limitations.   I’ll never be a truck driver or an Indy car racer.  I’ll never be a lot of things.  But I just want to be what I can be, do my best and accept the rest.

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8 Responses to I Believe in Second Chances

  1. One things for sure – you’re a fantastic writer!

  2. I can really relate to this Jeff. My biggest problem is focusing on what I can do, not what I can’t do.

  3. Karla Kraeszig says:

    Besides our tendency to fuss over the things we can’t do, we (I do) tend to downgrade the abilities and talents that we do have. Let’s all give ourselves credit when we deserve it. And yes, I hope Jeff gives himself credit for being a very talented and humorous writer…although the jury’s still out on the golfing thing!

  4. Andrea says:

    When I was going through one of many adjustment periods to my gradual vision loss, I heard an entertainment reporter praising Madonna. He gushed over her once again ‘re-inventing’ herself. That really irritated me. Big deal. So she changed her hair style. I, on the other hand, had to keep trying to figure out who I was in the world. After my initial irritation wore off, I decided to borrow the idea. Now I meet changes wondering ‘how am I going to re-invent myself this time?”

  5. david sutton says:

    Very nice, tight piece of writing and I love your attitude. Thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts down and share them.

  6. susie says:

    I admire your efforts with your evolution process, Jeff.
    What you state here says a lot to those who are struggling and finding it difficult to have hope. With time, effort and a possitive attitude, one’s life can change and for the better. Hope is a good four letter word.

  7. bethfinke says:

    Keep writing, Jeff. You’re good!

  8. Dave T says:

    Having golfed with Jeff before his vision loss I should have started encouraging a writing career at that time.
    Nice piece Jeffrey.

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