The LORD Alone Opens the Eyes of the Blind, PART 6
A Modified Lifestyle

As I approached the end of my time at the rehab Center in March 1974, and continued my adjustments to sight loss, the staff worked individually with me for items that would be applicable specifically to my situation and my modified lifestyle as a blind person. This individualized approach to training was a very effective feature of this rehab program. The Braille instructor read from a Braille version of the manual so I could become familiar with some of the less obvious features of a variable speed open reel tape recorder. Again I was impressed with this totally blind woman as she read so fluidly that it seemed she was sight reading. A high school volunteer then worked with me a few afternoons as he recorded the print manual that accompanied training material on 33and 1/3 records for a course on Effective Listening that I had purchased. This provided me with a customized package that I could use without further assistance. The staff also arranged for a sales representative to demonstrate to anyone interested, a closed circuit TV system with a zoom lens and reversed image for higher contrast. This was an expensive unit (models ranging from $1800 to $2700) for viewing print material by a person with low vision. When I was ready to return to work, I purchased one of these units to use on the job. Because of my salary range, the state could not offer any financial assistance for this purchase.

In the model apartment of the Center there were practical exercises in organizing storage of items in the kitchen with tips on using touch, sound, and smell rather than sight for information. Examples: Brylcreem and toothpaste both come in tubes, but you can tell the difference by smell. Orange juice and milk may each be in a carton, and again by smell you can tell the difference before you accidentally pour orange juice on your cereal. If you are very careful, you can hold a glass while you pour, and you can feel the weight change. Another method is to slip one finger inside the glass so your sophisticated built-in heat and pressure sensor can detect the liquid level. Aluminum clothing tags are available to be sewn onto clothing for color markings. The tags have standard two letter abbreviations for colors, and are safe for going through laundry. Learning to make more use of the other four senses can reduce much of the everyday frustrations of little or no eyesight. Many of these techniques are easily available to a normally sighted person, but they usually are not developed because sight is more commonplace and often more effective. Since I had lived in an apartment by myself for six years, I had improvised many adaptive techniques on my own. There were other tips such as noticing the difference in size for coins and whether their edges are smooth or have ridges. With some sighted assistance, bills could then be organized by different folding techniques or different billfold compartments for the different denominations. A sighted person can place a straight edge above or below a signature line as a reference point so a blind person can write a signature. There are many more techniques, and most blind people develop their own variations according to personal preference. It is also very important for the blind person to communicate any important preferences when working with various sighted people for a mutual comfort level.

When I first entered my office building to return to work after the rehab process was ended, I was somewhat startled at the way the room "sounded" to me. The walls and doorway openings were so pronounced in location that it took me by surprise. It didn't take long for that effect to dissipate to a more subdued level, but I did enjoy my increased awareness of sound cues around me. There also was an element of novelty about my white cane, my use of Braille, and my closed circuit TV viewer. So, there was a period when most of the people around me had questions about my experience and about some of the devices I now used. I began to use a dictation recorder more frequently for work notes and for some memos for the secretary to transcribe. As I got back into my routine of reviewing handwritten logs on the CCTV, and dealing with a variety of other supervisory pressures, I realized I was no longer in the idealized environment of rehab where acceptance of blindness and generous accommodation were inherent features. Some of my high level of confidence with rapid success in the rehab process (I finished the planned 15 week schedule, after only 11 weeks) was now ebbing away. My biggest "fall" was not far off, but my greatest recovery would follow that; and my life would be forever changed in the most positive manner possible!

Now that I have been in the church as a believer in Christ Jesus for over thirty years, I have seen some instances of people who were in a local church with the atmosphere of the truth around them, but without that change in their heart that will sustain the believing Christian. When hard times come, or when the world system seems to have more to offer, they wander away, losing what they could have received as a free gift with untold benefits. The separation that should be somewhat evident in the life of a Christian (a lifestyle modified by choosing to live for God) may sometimes be uncomfortable to the point of causing some to abandon those differences in favor of blending in with those outside the church. Unlike a physical impediment that cannot be removed (i.e. my blindness), the restrictions from behavior displeasing to God can be thrown off to allow the return to what is actually bondage to sin. The Word of God and the fellowship of other believers can provide new tools for dealing with life’s difficulties, and a hope for a far better life after this one has passed! Nothing can separate us from the love of God, so no circumstance proves Him unfaithful, but we must maintain our trust in Him, and remember that as Christians we are in the world, but not of the world. "15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain my own ways before him. 16 He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him." (Job 13:15-16 AKJV)

"In you, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in your righteousness." (Psalms 31:1 AKJV)

"In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do to me." (Psalms 56:11 AKJV)

"Cause me to hear your loving kindness in the morning; for in you do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul to you." (Psalms 143:8 AKJV)

"35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35-39 AKJV) Praise the Lord for His boundless mercy and unfailing love!

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Published 7 August 2007