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Open Eyes

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I once saw a blind man walking down the street, feeling a surge of pity I stopped to say hello. We chatted for a while, became fast friends, but all the time I talked to him I felt only sad. That a man this kind could be so dreadfully handicapped and not see the beauty that surrounded him. We made plans to meet the following Saturday at a place he knew well. Again as we conversed I could feel only sadness for this wonderful young man. Every Saturday after that we met and grew a friendship. One day I asked him if he ever felt resentful of the cards that he’d been dealt. A rather odd answer he gave me.

“I am so glad you asked that question, the only thing I miss is the sunsets, or mountains covered in snow, I will never see the Mona Lisa, or know my daughter’s smile, but I can see so much more than the average human being. When you see a pretty face you are automatically attracted, you want to bask in the attention they get. Sometimes, beauty isn’t the equivalent of a friendship and I bet you’ve found that out. But I have nothing to be attracted to but a beautiful soul, a kind word, or a gentle touch, I can feel pain without having to look, because it is etched in the voices of the grieving. Likewise I can feel joy and taste it, since those who are happy are wonderful to be around, they are kind, without a bitter thought or voice. They see not their own problems but those of the rest of the worlds and they try to make it better.

I have heard people talk behind a friends back saying certain things about them, among them is usually a remark about their make-up or appearance in general. But what I wish they knew is that the outside of a person has nothing to do with what the person is, or what the person wants to be. The make-up a person wears on their soul or heart, is much different than the make-up of a face, and much more devastating. Make up is used to cover up flaws, so why would you put make up on your soul? Your soul is uniquely you, and so wonderfully made, that make up can only mask its beauty and degrade it.

I see not the color of the sky, but the color of love, that is what I imagine the sky to be. I see not the color of the ocean, but hear the cry of pain and paint the oceans with it. I cannot see the reddest of flowers, but I know the tenor of hate and see the wildest of poppies in that light. No, I am not cheated out of anything, for I can still feel the wind blowing against me, I know my wife’s face by a touch, and I can see what others are blind to. The greatest beauty in life is what cannot be seen. Yes, in what cannot be seen lies the greatest beauty of all creation, and I am very grateful that my eyes have been opened to it.”

I fell out of touch with this man after a few years of a beautiful friendship. I moved on with my life went to college and found what made me happy. I remember this man now, thirty years later, as he left a message on my answering machine. I know not how he found me, or what made him think to call me. I like to think that he somehow knew I was in need of a reminder of what is important in life. And somehow I would like to thank him for that. And wherever you are, Brent, I am still looking for a beauty unlike any other, thank you so much for teaching me how.





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