Learning to Walk Blind
“How are you guys doing?”
This is a question I get regularly since Kaleb’s death in December of 2019. It is a hard question to answer. If you say, “We’re doing good,” it comes across like your heart isn’t broken into a million pieces, when it really is. If you say, “We’re struggling and heartbroken,” that doesn’t mean we don’t have moments of laughter and joy in our lives. We do. We are thankful for the blessings God has given our family.
Answering this question is hard for the first year. But now I believe I have language and a way of describing it that captures what it is like. I think I found a way to help others know what life is like for us now.
When people ask me how we are doing, I answer them, “We’re learning to live blind.”
This doesn’t immediately make sense to them, but I quickly explain what I mean. You see, for someone who was born blind, they don’t know anything but living life as a blind man. But for the person who could see, and then lost his sight, it takes serious adjustment to learn how to live blind. They remember life with sight, but now they are reorienting their life around not being able to see.
If you ask a person who could once see how life is like now that they are blind, the first days are probably the roughest. Everything about being blind is new to them. Every task and activity is redefined by their blindness. But as time goes by, and they get used to living blind; it gets easier. However, the reality is: they are still blind. They once could see, but now they’re blind. It’s just getting more normal to live life without sight.
The same is true with losing Kaleb. We experienced over fifteen years with our son. We loved him so much, and had so many wonderful experiences and moments with him. His absence from our life is hard. The first few days, weeks, and months were completely disorienting. Walking by his room assaulted our hearts with grief and emptiness. Loading up the car with the kids to go eat at a restaurant and only answering, “Four,” when the hostess asked us how many were in our party sent mini-shockwaves of pain through our heart. We were living blind when we previously had the ability to see.
But as time kept moving, and the Lord’s grace continued supplying for our needs, hurts, and weakness, living as a family of four instead of five became more routine. We were learning to live blind.
If you ask, “how are you guys doing?,” the answer is: we’re doing okay. We’re learning more and more how to live blind. You see, living blind is still hard. All the comforts, joys, and experiences we had previously when we could see—Kaleb being in our lives—are no longer there. We remember them, but we can’t go back to them. We are blind now. Kaleb is with the Lord in Heaven, and for that we give thanks. But we are left to continue living without him, and that is hard, no matter how normal it becomes.
We can become very skilled at living blind, but it doesn’t mean we wouldn’t prefer to live with sight. However, in the plan of God, that was not His will for us. So we learn to receive from His hands what He gives us with a thankful heart and a childlike trust. We would never voluntarily choose to “live blind,” but we know there are things about God’s character and grace we wouldn’t know about Him if we hadn’t experienced hardships and suffering.
The same is true for whatever you are going through in life. The trials, pains, and sufferings you endure are often not things we would volunteer for. Life changes. Trials come. And we cannot turn back the hands of time to relive old days. We have today. The challenge we face with living today is learning to trust God for what He puts in our hands. Whether we see or are blind, our trust must be in the Lord. We can live content with God’s will for our lives when we learn to walk hand-in-hand with Him. Especially, when we can’t see.