Many have heard of Helen Keller, who at the age of two years old became blind, mute and deaf. She could not communicate with anyone until five years later when Anne Sullivan managed to ‘reach’ her through the sense of touch. Later on in life, she had an article published entitled “Three days to see”. In this article she outlined what things she would like to see if she were granted just three days of sight.
As can well be imagined, it was a thought provoking article coming from such an eminent blind woman. On the first day she said she wanted to see friends. Day two she would spend seeing nature. The third day she would spend in her home city of New York watching the busy city and the interaction of people. When given the opportunity, we want to use it to the utmost. She concluded it with these judicious words: “I who am blind can give one hint to those who see: use your eyes as if tomorrow you were stricken blind.”
Physical blindness however is not the only loss of sight there is in life. We can lose sight of so many things. Even of ourselves. Even of others. Even of what life is all about.
They say that Sigmund Freud’s favorite story was about the sailor shipwrecked on an island. He was seized by the natives, lifted on their shoulders, carried to their rural community, and set on a makeshift throne. Gradually he learnt that it was their custom once each year to make some man a king, king for a year. He did not mind. In fact he liked it until he discovered that at the end of his year as a king, he would be banished to an uninhabited island and basically starved to death.
But the sailor was smart. He realized he had one full year to make sure that the following years will be secure. Since he was king, his orders were followed without any discussion. And so he put his carpenters to work making boats, his planters to work transplanting fruit trees to the island, farmers growing crops, masons building houses. When his kinship was over, he was relocated to the island – but this time it was not a barren island but an island full of abundance.
This is a allegory about life. We are all kings here, kings for a while. We can take advantage of our kingship and build something safe and secure for the afterlife or we can waste our kingship risking to find ourselves in serious predicaments later on!
There was a man who loved gold. Then he inherited a fortune. With joy he renovated his bedroom. He put gold color wallpaper up, hung yellow curtains, had a golden colored carpet and yellow sheets and quilt. He even bought yellow pajamas. But then he got sick and came down with, of all things, yellow jaundice.
When the doctor came for an examination, he was ushered in the ‘golden’ bedroom. He stayed there a long while. When he came out, the wife anxiously asked, “How is he?” “I don’t know,” the doctor answered. “I couldn’t find him.”
Indeed many people today are absolutely absorbed and lost in a world of self-indulgence and materialism. Blind!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.