Future Reflections Summer 2000, Vol. 19 No. 2
Editor’s Note: Jude Lincicome, mother of Jeremy, found the NFB during her son’s preschool years. She enthusiastically embraced the positive philosophy of the NFB and did her best to implement it as she went about the daily tasks of raising and educating her son. Like many other parents, Jude believes that religious training is an important part of her child’s education. But Biblical texts that deal with blindness can raise troublesome questions even for adults, not to mention a young boy who is struggling to understand who he is, and why he is the way he is. Jude, who has a flair for the dramatic, describes below how she helped shape an important breakthrough moment for her son:
Father, it’s me again. Today in Sunday School the teacher read
one of the stories about how Jesus healed the blind. Dear Lord, Jeremy has been troubled since then, and I know he is not sure what it should mean to him. I need your help to know what to say to my son. He started to ask me a question a few minutes ago, and I know that what I say to him will have a profound effect on the way he will see himself for the rest of his life. I made an excuse, and here I am.
Jeremy is nine years old now, Lord. He is a good boy, and I love him very much. Remember when I found him at the hospital? They told me he was blind and profoundly retarded. They were right about the blindness. I think the doctors didn’t want me to adopt him. He was so tiny then, about four pounds, I think. I remember how he used to scream—scream so loudly that I could feel his pain in my head, my heart, and in my gut, all at the same time. I think that was the first time I talked to you about him.
Remember the rocking chair in the nursery, Lord? I held him nestled in right close to my heart. His little body was so stiff. It was so tightly clenched into a ball that when it was time to change his diaper, it was hard to pull his legs down. As I remember, we both cried a lot that first day. I knew you had given him to me for there was an unmistakable bond, there in that rocking chair, between that tiny child and me.
You were there with me the first time I saw him, and you have been with me since. You were with me as we put him through the kinesthetic exercises that reprogrammed his brain that had been damaged from severe hemorrhages. You were there teaching me when to be patient and when to press hard for action or answers, especially when it concerned his education and his needs for blindness skills. All praise to you, Jeremy is a bright third-grader in regular elementary school. His cerebral palsy, which made him, as a baby, crawl in circles around his withered arm, is no more than a nuisance now. He walks independently with a white cane and runs and plays with the other kids in his class—just like everyone else. Lord, you should hear him read his Braille, and he does his math in Braille, too. His teachers tell me that he is the best in his math group.
We have come a long way, you and I, but we are coming to the hard stuff now, Lord, and that’s why I’m sitting here in the bathroom talking to you. You see, I told Jeremy I would answer his question as soon as I come out of here. I don’t have much time. This is it, Father. I wish I could curl up in your lap, for I am scared. I’m going to put all my trust in you, Father, because I have no clue what I should tell my son to let him know that he is as special to you, Lord, as he is special to me. I want him to truly understand that the poet’s song I hold so dear is worth remembering. “There is another way of looking, but it’s up to you to see. If you saw through my eyes, what would you see?” Lord, you have given me an understanding of the power to be had by looking at all points of view. Hold my hand tightly Lord, it’s time to go.
“Mom, I’m waiting!”
“I’m coming Jeremy, now what did you want to ask?”
“Mom, do you remember in Sunday School, we were talking about when Jesus was tired and went across the lake to an island to rest, but the people followed him with the crippled and the blind people for Jesus to heal? And He did?!”
“Yes, I do, honey. Jesus did many miracles everywhere he went.”
“Well,…I was thinking.” A tear falls from his eye. “Mom, ahhh, I’m blind, and Jesus didn’t heal me?!”
I feel your hand, Lord, tell me how to make him strong within himself and with your love.
“My precious Jeremy, in Jesus’ time, the blind were beggars. They begged for food, and slept where they could find shelter. There were no white canes for them to use, or orientation and mobility instructors to teach them how to get around by themselves. They had to be led around everywhere they went or stumble around alone. They did not have Braille so they could not read or do math. They really were blind.”
“The Bible said that the blind could see after Jesus healed them. There are many ways to see. You see with your ears and your skin. You see with your mind’s eye and with your heart. There are also many ways of healing. There is the kind when your knee gets better after you skin it falling down on the sidewalk. And do you remember when your sister Karen died? We cried a lot then, but now we can smile when we think about her. That’s a different kind of healing.”
“You, my love, have a white cane to walk with, and when you try really hard, you don’t need anyone to guide you. You are learning how to find your way around, even when you are in a strange, new place. You can read Braille, and you are in the same school and grade with all the other boys and girls in our neighborhood. When you grow up, you will be able to have a good job and be able to take care of yourself and your family. Truth is, you are a pretty amazing young man, and I am very proud of you.”
As I talked, the sad worried look on his face turned to curious, then thoughtful, then became soft with a slowly spreading smile that became an absolute glowing beaming grin. His eyes twinkled and sparkled with a revelation that would change forever the way he would see himself.
“You know, Mom, I think Jesus did heal me after all!”
Oh, thank you, thank you, Father. I think maybe you can let me go now…for awhile.