The LORD Alone Opens the Eyes of the Blind, PART 2
Rehabilitation for the Adventitiously Blind

Arrangements were made by my local BSB counselor for my enrollment in a newly started private agency program under contract with the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission, Bureau of Services for the Blind (BSB). In January 1974 I temporarily moved to a residential center in the greater Cincinnati area to enter the program that was structured specifically for adventitiously blinded adults. Here's the definition from the American Heritage Dictionary: "adventitious adj. 1 Acquired by accident; added by chance. 2 Biol. Appearing in an unusual place or in an irregular or sporadic manner: adventitious shoots. Lat. adventicious, foreign adventus, arrival.^see advent. ad venti tiously adv. ad venti tiousness n." The state was using the term adventitiously blind to differentiate them from persons who were congenitally blind. So an adventitiously blind person would be anyone not born blind, but who became blind at some random point in life through a health related cause or an injury. The adventitiously blind person must transition from functioning in everyday surroundings that are best suited to non-handicapped individuals, to the position of adapting to a vast array of situations and settings normally inaccessible to the blind. In my case, I was born with retinitis pigmentosa that resulted in a gradual loss of eyesight, and at age twenty-seven I was physician certified as legally blind. . My group for the planned fifteen week session had four men and 3 women, ranging in age from the twenties to the fifties, with all but one client having some useable residual vision.

I arrived on a weekend to settle in to my room before the start of the first week of regular Monday through Friday daytime classes. The eight dormitory rooms each had two beds to allow for a maximum of 16 clients, but since there were only seven clients for this session we did not share our room. However, the rooms were in pairs and shared the toilet and shower facility with the adjoining room, having a door from each room to the facility, and privacy locks for the other door when in use. There was a sink and vanity area in each room for personal grooming. The building had been constructed specifically for the program which began in 1973, and it had two levels with the front entrance facing south in the center of the building at the top level. Because of the slope in the terrain, the lower level of the building was at ground level in the rear with another exterior door to the north. A long hallway ran from east to west in the rectangular shaped building on both levels with one exterior access door on each level. The residence quarters were on either side of the hallway in the western half of the upper level of the building. Administrative offices were on the north side of the hallway in the eastern half of the upper level, and there was a client recreation room on the opposite side of that hallway, so the building could be described in quadrants separated by north/south and east/west halls. The lower level had food service and general purpose space in the northwest quadrant, an exercise room, and a complete model apartment in the northeast, a laundry room and small offices in the southwest, and classrooms in the southeast. This may seem like a lot of layout detail, but one of the very important factors for effective mobility for a blind person is to be as aware as possible of the details of surroundings to maintain clear orientation. Maintaining a good mental image of layouts is one of the things I had developed on my own for the plant buildings, grounds, and many appurtenances as my eyesight declined. This was also true for the neighborhoods and commercial districts in which I traveled around the city where I lived. When your distance eyesight is limited, it is a good idea to know what to expect beyond the range of your sight. As a parallel comparison, apprehension about what lies ahead in the unseeable future for our lives can be significantly reduced for the Christian who has increasingly turned such matters over, by a trusting faith, to a loving God.

As I entered this rehabilitation program I was not yet a Christian, and after I became a Christian, I would need some definite maturing to counteract the long-term influence of the world system on my thought processes. You might say that the Lord had, unbeknownst to me, entered me into His custom program for adventitious salvation to new life in Christ in similar manner to the rehabilitation for physical sight loss. At the same time, the term adventitious doesn't really fit the condition of spiritual blindness because there was no random aspect to my need, and that need for salvation was present from the very beginning of my life. As I entered the state sponsored rehab program, I had little confidence that it would make a significant difference in my life. I was mistaken about that, but I was so much less aware of the tremendous present and eternal benefits of the Lord's rehab program for my spiritual blindness! It is also interesting to me now to realize that even my physical blindness was not by chance, for the Lord is in control of all things. I can praise Him now as I "look" back on those past events. Neither having physical sight nor being physically blind is worthy to be compared with the absolutely critical importance of receiving our spiritual sight from the Lord.

"And the LORD said to him, Who has made man's mouth? or who makes the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?" (Exodus 4:11 AKJV)

"47 And if your eye offend you, pluck it out: it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: 48 Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched." (Mark 9:47-48 AKJV)

"And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness." (Isaiah 29:18 AKJV)

"And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do to them, and not forsake them." (Isaiah 42:16 AKJV)

"And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind." (John 9:39 AKJV)

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Published 7 August 2007