When we are spending time at our home in Burnet, I work out at the YMCA. Today, while I was working out in the large pool, I saw her enter the pool by way of the steps at the shallow end. She was short, had sort of a plump figure that was just pretty much out of proportion—suggesting that she didn’t work out regularly, her hair was cut short, and as I watched her make her way to the deeper area of the pool it occurred to me that the poor girl was blind.
My workout routine largely consists of power-walking in chest-deep water and vigorously using a pair of large dumbbells which makes noise and displaces quite a bit of water. As it turned out, that became a lighthouse of sorts for Casey . . . she came straight to me. As she approached, I stopped my movement. She smiled and said, “Good afternoon.” It was obvious that she was friendly, perhaps a bit lonesome, and wanting to visit. In our pool back at Rockport some of us workout freaks have coined a phrase, “he or she is a walker” or a “talker” . . . and we try to politely avoid being distracted by the talkers. The simple truth is one cannot do much of a workout in the pool and talk too . . . it is pretty much an “either or” matter.
Something in me urged me to slow down and let her talk some. As I did so, it became clear that she needed someone to chat with . . . she had quite a story and wanted/needed to tell it. In a short period of time, as we walked slowly along, she told me:
. . . She was born blind (in Austin);
. . . Her parents divorced when she was a little girl;
. . . Her dad moved to Detroit;
. . . She has two sisters who live with her mom and step dad;
. . . She lives with her grandmother (dad’s mom);
. . . She went to the School for the Blind located in Austin;
. . . Her mom and step-dad are mean people who have had some legal problems involving abuse of her sisters;
. . . That she really wants her mom to go to jail; and
. . . That she plays both the organ and piano and plays for her church; she lives near the Church and can walk there if assisted.
As I slowly walked with her and listened to her sad story, it broke my heart and reminded me that everyone has their story, and some folks really need to tell theirs. It was a half-hour well spent! In a bit a couple of older ladies I see around entered the pool . . . Carol the local pecan lady and her very quiet and reserved friend, Rebecca. I introduced the ladies to my new friend Casey . . . they said they knew Casey and she moved over to a corner of the pool with them to tread water. I resumed my workout while the girls visited.
Casey remains pretty heavy on my heart. She is a very sweet, gentle 28-year-old lady with a sad and pitiful existence. Blindness can be a dark and lonely dungeon.
I was reminded of the two blind men who sat by the roadside in Matthew 20:30 . . .
“And, behold, two blind men sitting by the wayside, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, you son of David.”
Think about that scene: those guys had surely been frustrated time after time . . . visits to doctors and likely a few faith-healers throughout their lives . . . yet here they sat . . . blind! They had surely heard about that miracle-working, compassionate carpenter from Nazareth who was said to be able to walk upon the water and even calm the raging storm at sea! You just have to know that they had often thought, “What if . . .?”
The truth is that we don’t know why they were blind . . . or even why they were together; we are just told they were both blind and they were together! In that I see the truth . . . that it is one thing to go through something, but it another thing to go through it with someone who understands.
Blind is blind . . . but, unlike today, in that time period blindness was terrible, there were no paved surfaces, roads, or walkways upon which to walk . . . just rough, rocky, and uneven roads (dangerous for the blind); there were no brail signs posted . . . no seeing-eye dogs available . . . the blind were totally dependent on the kindness of others to lead them by the hand and set them in a safe place.
As those guys sat by the road that day, they felt the sun on their face, the smell of the fish from down at the harbor, and felt the sea breeze . . . then suddenly they heard the excitement of the approaching crowd . . . and heard someone exclaim, “Jesus is coming!” Those two men had never seen a miracle . . . but they had heard enough to believe . . . and they called out to Jesus, “Thou son of David . . . have mercy on us!” That was the first time Jesus had been so addressed . . . and in that I see a very real truth: those two blind men were not nearly as blind as were the most religious people on the planet at that time in history! The blind men saw who Jesus was . . . while the religious leaders had seen miracle after miracle . . . but were so blind they could not see God when they saw God!
Of course, The Master healed them and gave them sight! That very same Master is coming back again . . . and when He does, He will open Casey’s eyes and she will be set free from her darkness!
Oh what a day that will be . . .