Saturday, July 13, 2013

Walking With My Eyes Wide Shut

     I know this is an odd blog post title, but anyone crazy enough to start a nonprofit is a bit "off" to begin with. There are a million reasons not to add to the busyness of daily life by starting a journey of paperwork, legal issues, bookkeeping and fundraising; all so that fifteen abandoned women and their forty-three children can eat one meal a day, have an education and sleep in waterproof housing.
     It creates a lot of mind chatter when you administrate a nonprofit. Focusing on what is in front of me, instead of worrying about what may or may not happen to our organizations future and to the future of those we help, is a challenge. 
     I'm working on it. Max has to have a long walk every day. He is endlessly patient, but when he starts sighing and circling, I know it is time. Always one for multi-tasking, I recently decided to try to calm my "hamster brain" by shutting out one of my sensory inputs while I walked the dog. Max became my Finding Freedom through Friendship seeing eye dog. 

Max, waiting patiently
When you walk with your eyes closed, several things happen. The body shifts focus; the auditory senses suddenly become more alert. Feet "feel" the pavement instead of simply moving in a forward direction. The body slows down, knowing that danger is imminent if it doesn't. Skin feels breezes, hands hold the dog leash tighter, and faith in anything but eyesight grows stronger. 
Several things happen when I participate in this admittedly idiotic behavior. 
Rosa in front of new home donated by FFF
Once my whirling brain slows down, which happens when visual stimulation is taken away, I think of Rosa, our blind mother of five in Guatemala. Rosa isn't playing a game; for unknown reasons she became blind at age fifteen. Finding Freedom through Friendship built her a home, which she will feel but never see.The donated pot she is holding will be cooked in by feeling the heat, sensing the weight of the food, hoping not to get burned. When I walk with my eyes wide shut, I feel everything so much more acutely. I feel Rosa's fear when she walks unattended, or senses a neighbor nearby that may not have the best of intentions. I sense her worry that before being accepted into our program, she could not feed her children without vision to harvest and plant crops. I shared her grief when she had to give away her youngest son to a male neighbor so Daniel could eat. And I joined her in the joy she felt when, thanks to regular food donations, he returned. 
What I see

I never make it for long....I'm not as brave as Rosa and I really don't want to break a leg while pretending to be blind. When I open my eyes it is with a new clarity, and appreciation for images (R) like this:
Instead of this:

What Rosa can see