The passengers on the bus watched sympathetically as the attractive young woman with the white cane made her way carefully up the steps. She paid the driver and, using her hands to feel the location of the seats, walked down the aisle and found the seat he’d told her was empty. Then she settled in, placed her briefcase on her lap and rested her cane against her leg.
It had been a year since Amie, 19, became blind. Due to a medical misdiagnosis she had been rendered sightless, and she was suddenly thrown into a world of darkness, anger, frustration and self-pity. And all she had to cling to was her husband, John.
John was an Army soldier and he loved Amie with all his heart. When she first lost her sight, he watched her sink into despair and was determined to help his wife gain the strength and confidence she needed to become independent again.
Finally, Amie felt ready to return to her job, but how would she get there? She used to take the bus, but was now too frightened to get around the city by herself. John volunteered to drive her to work each day, even though they worked at opposite ends of the city. At first, this comforted Amie, and fulfilled John’s need to protect his sightless wifewho was so insecure about performing the slightest task.
Soon, however, John realized the arrangement wasn’t working. Amie is going to have to start taking the bus again, he admitted to himself. But she was still so fragile, so angry – how would she react? Just as he predicted, Jamie was horrified at the idea of taking the bus again.
“I’m blind!”, she responded bitterly. “How am I supposed to know where I am going? I feel like you’re abandoning me.”
John’s heart broke to hear these words, but he knew what had to be done. He promised Amie that each morning and evening he would ride the bus with her, for as long as it took, until she got the hang of it. And that is exactly what happened. For two weeks, John, military uniform and all, accompanied Amie to and from work each day.
He taught her how to rely on her other senses, specifically her hearing, to determine where she was and how to adapt to her new environment. He helped her befriend the bus drivers who could watch out for her, and save her a seat.
Finally, Amie decided that she was ready to try the trip on her own. Monday morning arrived, and before she left, she threw her arms around John, her temporary bus-riding companion, her husband, and her best friend. Her eyes filled with tears of gratitude for his loyalty, his patience, And his love. She said good-bye, and for the first time, they went their separate ways. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday… Each day on her own went perfectly, and Amie had never felt better. She was doing it! She was going to work all by herself.
On Friday morning, Amie took the bus to work as usual. As she was paying the fare to exit the bus, the driver said, “Boy, I sure do envy you.” Amie wasn’t sure if the driver was speaking to her or not. After all, who on earth would ever envy a blind woman who had struggled just to find the courage to live for the past year? Curious, she asked the driver, “Why do you say that you envy me?”
The driver responded, “It must feel good to be taken care of and protected like you are.” Amie had no idea what the driver was talking about, and again asked, “What do you mean?”
The driver answered, “You know, every morning for the past week, a fine-looking gentleman in a military uniform has been standing across the corner watching you as you get off the bus. He makes sure you cross the street safely and he watches until you enter your office building. Then he blows you a kiss, gives you a little salute and walks away. You are one lucky lady.”
Tears of happiness poured down Amie’s cheeks. For although she couldn’t physically see him, she had always felt John’s presence. She was lucky, so lucky, for he had given her a gift more than sight, a gift she didn’t need to see to believe – the gift of love that can bring light where there is darkness.
We take our senses for granted. How much money would you except if someone asked for your eyes? You wouldn’t. Not a single penny. Because you know how precious your eyesight is to you.
But then again, eyesight is a wordly thing. When you feel no-one is there for you, just think that all this is going to end one day. And always always have hope.