For the first time in my life, I work in a city with an extensive public transportation system.  And so my commute to work every day is very different than it has been in the past.  When you drive into work alone in your car, it can be very peaceful and quiet and you really don’t have to acknowledge that anyone else exists (except when they cut you off while changing lanes).  But when you ride on the train or subway, you are thrown into the masses, and they will definitely bump into you and step on your toes.  It’s painfully obvious that you are not the center of the universe.

I’m a people watcher (as an introvert, I often find life safer that way).  So, while I am waiting on the subway, I tend to spend a lot of my time observing those around me.  And there’s definitely some interesting stuff going on.

Lately, I’ve taken note of several blind passengers.  I’ve been wondering why they have been so noticeable to me, and I think that it’s because when you live in a city with many driving commuters, you don’t often see people who are blind.  They can’t drive, so you just don’t have much opportunity to interact with them.  But with access to public transportation, they walk down steps, find the right trains, and manage to survive the experience to get where they’re going.   

So, you ask, why are you telling us about the blind people you see on the subway?

Well, they’ve gotten me thinking about what it would be like to live in this world without sight.  It would be one of the most frightening experiences I could imagine.  I find great comfort in being able to see what is around me, behind me, before me.  But if you have no vision, you must rely on other heightened senses, so you’re able to discern what is going on around you.  And you really can’t be fully independent.  People have to move to the side when you are headed towards them because you don’t know they are there.  You have to use a walking stick to insure that you avoid obstacles in your path.  Sometimes, you even have to rely on people to transport you places because it would be completely impossible for you to get there otherwise.  It really requires a great deal of trust.

And it has occurred to me that I am far too independent to be a successful blind person. 

Don’t get me wrong.  If I lost my sight, I’m sure I would adapt to living that way because it’s the only way I could survive.  But it’s that whole dependency thing that really freaks me out. 

I have always been independent to a fault, and I think that our culture upholds self-sufficiency as the ultimate goal.  But I’m wondering if that keeps us from living the way we were designed to live. 

Paul says that “we walk by faith, not by sight.” (II Corinthians 5:7)  And if that’s true, then how do we survive?  How do we get where we’re going if we can’t see what’s before us?  How do we avoid the obstacles in our path?  How do we protect ourselves from unseen danger lurking ahead?

I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

Nothing.

Apart from intimate fellowship and – dare I say – dependence on the only One we can truly trust, we cannot survive, much less bring forth anything of worth from our lives.

I want to survive this treacherous world.  And I want my life to bear much fruit.

I guess this independent streak has got to go.

To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!  Amen.  (Jude 24-25) 

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