I don't mean to derail our conversation to talk exclusively about your blindness but I know from talking with you how profound an impact it's had on your relationship with God.
It's ok, man. I could go on and on, honestly.
Ok, then. I won't hold back! As a husband and father, how have things in your family changed as a result of your blindness? Do you still feel like you are leading your family?
As a result of my blindness, being a husband and father has dramatically changed. I was in a position at work where my wife would’ve soon been able to stay home and raise our son full-time. I was just getting to a point where I could start teaching my son how to do stuff. Before 2018 I was just making healthy choices, exercising more, gearing up I had really good insurance, but still, it was a struggle for a little bit. As a father, it’s hard because I have to allow other adults to be those influences and teachers because it just can’t be me. His grandma taught him to ride a bike. I built a car, and I can’t take him for a drive in it.
That must be tough.
Yeah, it is. As a husband, it’s incredibly emasculating. You don’t know what “in sickness and in health” means until you’re in that situation. When you’re mourning the loss of something you’ve had your whole life that will never return to you. I’m not the stereotypical “Women should stay home, men should work” man, but I just LOVED to work. So that was tough. My five siblings and I were raised by a single mom to be very independent. Now, I feel helpless. The driving thing is probably the toughest. I love cars. I love motorcycles. I just loved going for a drive for whatever reason. It kills me to not be able to do that ever again. The lessons you learn...they’ll either destroy you or make you stronger. To be honest, we’re still in the thick of it. And we’re working through it.
So, this is kind of a big question...when was that moment in your journey with your eyesight where God showed up in a big way and revealed Himself? Like, "I got you, Chris." Was there a specific instance or two that you can recall?
When I started losing my sight, I had way more faith in medicine and doctors, and their plan to help me, than in God. I was still going to work, doing all the things, hoping my eyesight would get better. I was juicing, exercises, you know, all the stuff I should’ve been doing in the first place! Didn’t help. I was so severely upset. I wanted this loss reversed. In ten months, I went from 20/20 vision to none in my right eye and a bit in my left eye. My doctor gave me no hope. They said there was nothing they could do. That was it. I felt like they just experimented on me and then left me to suffer. I was unbelievably frustrated and angry. You think you know yourself SO WELL, but what do you do when you’re backed up against the wall? Brutal tragedy and trauma bring out thoughts you would’ve NEVER had in any other circumstance. I contemplated ending my life. Not just contemplated, made plans to do so. I made sure my family would be taken care of. The clarity of thought I had was scary. Nothing helped take these feelings away.
I was very mad at the doctor that did this. So mad, that I thought about harming him in addition to myself. I got a call from that very doctor's office on a Friday to set an appointment for that next Tuesday. After I had set my appointment, I got a call THAT SAME DAY from a DIFFERENT doctor’s office saying that they randomly saw my charts and the doctor there would love to talk with me and see what he could do. The crazy part was that he never worked Mondays, but just so happened to be in the office that MONDAY and could I come in then (the day before I was going to see this original doctor.) The Monday doctor said he could do the surgery I’d been hoping for but asked me to go home and think about this decision for a couple of weeks. I canceled my appointment with the Tuesday doctor. In the two weeks, I was contemplating the surgery, that was when I started talking to God and praying a lot more. I wear a sweatshirt frequently, I’m sure you’ve seen me in it, that says “Walk by faith, not by sight.” That reminds me so much of this time. I was fitted with contacts that gave me some functional sight and my surgery was successful at that time. I eventually lost my eyesight completely (that’s another story for another blog!) but that second doctor gave me HOPE, and God used him to temporarily save my eyesight, but also save my life.
WOW. That's an incredible story. It's wild how far we can go into our depression and despair and how far God will go to pull us out of it if we let Him. I'm so blessed by that.
I think the most significant moment where God revealed Himself to me what another planned suicide attempt. This time, I had a gun and was ready to kill myself. I was holding it in my hand…and I looked down and a picture of my son popped up on my phone. I didn’t touch my phone. It wasn’t a notification. No one sent that picture to me. It just turned on, to a picture of my son that I wasn’t previously looking at, and it stayed on for almost two minutes. I put the gun down and haven’t contemplated it since.
Whoa. You know what I'm thinking in the combination of those two rescues, is that if you hadn't had that surgery to even temporarily restore a bit of your sight, you wouldn't have even SEEN that picture of your son even if it DID pop up on your phone.
The actual scary part is that I think about if I hadn't had surgery in the first place, where I would be...It's really hard to think about it, so I try not to. It's hard to believe how quickly my eyesight went. When I look back at this time, and where I'm at now, I realize that I lost my EYESIGHT, but God gave me my VISION.
Well, I think that's a perfect place to wrap this up for the month. Thank you again, Chris, for your honesty and vulnerability.
Thank you, I appreciate that. Not gonna lie, I just figured out from Asha last week how to get to the page to read the blog. Just got done reading hers and it was pretty great!
Chris, I'm HOWLING laughing right now!!! So, YOU were the one I sent that link to Asha for!
That's me, LOL.