By Jason Leib
From “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul”
When I was fifteen, I stood in front of my English class and read an essay I had written. I talked about how excited all my friends were to be taking driver’s education and getting driver’s licenses. I was jealous. I knew that I’d always be walking everywhere I went or else dependent on others to drive me. I am legally blind.
Since I was four years old, I have had a condition called dry-eye syndrome. While I do have some sight, I never know when I wake up in the morning exactly how much I will have that day. The reason for this is that my eyes do not produce enough tears to lubricate my corneas. As a result, my corneas are scarred. Glasses cannot help me.
There are many things I cannot do. I can’t drive, read the blackboard in school or read a book comfortably. But there are far more things I can do.
In high school, I played varsity basketball. My teammates game me oral signals and I learned to gauge where the ball was by the sound of their voices. As a result, I learned to focus extremely well. I earned the sportsmanship award my senior year.
In addition to basketball, I was a representative to the student council. I also participated in a Model United Nations program, travelling to Washington, D.C., with my class to see our legislators in action. I graduated from high school with a dual curriculum in Jewish and general studies.
After graduation, I studied in Israel for two years. Today, I am a sophomore at Yeshiva University. I plan to go to law school and maybe rabbinical school.
Do I wish I could see like other people? Of course. But being blind hasn’t limited me in any of the ways I consider important. I’m still me. If I’ve had to be more dependent on friends, at least I’ve learned who my friends really are.
Because I’ve had to struggle to find ways to learn that didn’t include sight, I’ve made superior use of my other senses.
I don’t know why God chose to give me only a little vision. Maybe he did it so that I would appreciate what I do have even more. Maybe he did it so that I would have to develop my other capabilities and talents to compensate. Or maybe he gave me this special “gift” because I am, in every other respect, so normal that he wanted to push me to excel. It worked.
There are many different ways to look at life. This is how I see it.