Ragbag of Regret

“Unconsciously, like most blind people, I had never accepted the fact of being blind. There was always a small voice insisting, I’ve got to see. I can’t go on living like this. But that voice always has to be strangled, suppressed, because if you heed its message, you will never be anything more than a ragbag of regret, unable to take your part in the world.”

When I looked up from reading those sentences aloud, David was staring at me. “That’s exactly how I feel,” he said.

He swept his arm awkwardly through the air, indicating his legs and wheelchair. “Sometimes I think, I can’t go on living like this.” His eyes were serious, but they shone. Hearing someone express an exact truth you could never put into words for yourself brings both relief and power.

This was doubly powerful, a two-part truth from someone who understands: This is how I feel, and this is what I have to do about it.

David and I always have a read-aloud book going together. We move from beekeeping to Christian fantasy and everything in between. We can’t even begin to guess how much this has enriched us. Right now, we’re almost finished with Emma and I, Sheila Hocken’s true story about her blindness and her guide dog, Emma. This Englishwoman, who will never meet or even hear of David, lifted and strengthened him with words she wrote 40 years ago.

“A ragbag of regret,” David said. “That’s such a good way to put it.”

And I love the way she didn’t just say, “take part in the world,” but “take your part in the world.” It’s there for you to take.

David does that. And now, because of what we read together last night, he’s stronger to keep doing that.