Through my eyes

Image of Author Heidi Gray McGill and her sister, Denise, at the MAB 5K race. Charlotte, NC, 2017.

You may know me as an author, but did you know I am also the retired Director of an ESL program, regularly walk 12 plus miles a week, occasionally care for my two grandsons, scrapbook, read voraciously, cook, and am legally blind?  That last phrase was tough for me to say out loud not that long ago. 

Vision loss does not discriminate.

The spectrum of vision loss conditions is broad. Not everyone can only “see” darkness, and in fact, only 10-15 percent of people with visual impairment are blind to the point of seeing nothing at all.

I fall into this category.  I am legally blind—the criteria set of having less than 20 percent peripheral vision, and I have 5 percent. To help put that into perspective, when I look a friend in the eye when they are speaking, I can’t see their mouth. If someone gestures or points, I most likely won’t see their hand movements. And, if something like a toy is on the floor, a drawer left partly open, or furniture is rearranged, there’s an excellent chance I won’t see that either. I have the bruises to prove it.

My diagnosis in 2001 of Retinitis Pigmentosa was devastating. There is no cure, and there is no surgery. But that does not mean there is no hope.

I still have value

Those who do not know me well often don’t realize I have low vision. As humans, we are amazingly adaptable, and I do a pretty good job covering up my disability. My friends have learned to watch out for me and alert me to potential pitfalls, some better than others, which is always good for a laugh. I use a cane when I’m navigating alone, and I’ve traveled to China—that cane my only companion.

Everyone is dealing with something.

I’ve learned that “Facelessbook,” as my husband often calls it, isn’t always the best visual reality indicator. I have friends dealing with auto-immune diseases and other health issues, depression, aging parents, job loss, and special needs children. Yet, they frequently post about God’s goodness and mercy.

Psalm 27:13

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”

That verse does not mean I am confident I will have my sight for as long as I live. To me, it means I can CHOOSE to see the goodness of the LORD. And Choosing Joy is something I do daily. It’s my mantra.

I don’t need my vision to see

I see love in the tender way my husband speaks to my grandsons. I see compassion when my friends pray for another in need. I see beauty when those around me raise their voices in praise to our Heavenly Father.

Being blind is certainly not something I would have chosen,
but it does not define me.

Don’t let your current situation define YOU either. One of my favorite quotes is by Nido Qubein, “Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.”

I hope today you remind yourself to Choose Joy when there seems to be no hope.

May is healthy vision month.

Author Heidi Gray McGill is legally blind, but she doesn’t let her disability hinder her from achieving her goals. Heidi keeps a positive attitude by surrounding herself with caring friends and colleagues, like Amy Bovaird, who encourage and support her. Learn more about Heidi by visiting her website.

Published by Author Heidi Gray McGill

Heidi is an optimist who chooses to find the silver lining in life’s clouds of doubt. She lives with her husband of thirty years near Charlotte, NC. When she isn’t writing, you will find her outside playing with her two grandsons, walking, scrapbooking, reading, cooking, traveling, or finding an excuse to have an outing with a girlfriend.

8 thoughts on “Through my eyes

  1. You are such an inspiration to me. My mom had wet macular degeneration and lost most of her sight very quickly. She was elderly and never really adjusted to this. My eye doctor is on watch for that as well as glaucoma for me. I don’t worry because whatever God wills is what I want for my life. He will use me no matter my circumstances – and I see that about you in all your posts. Truly you are a blessing to your readers!

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    1. Your attitude of choosing joy no matter the circumstance is wonderful. I would not wish the burden of lost sight on anyone, but you are right in saying God’s will is always worth it in the end. Thank you for your thoughtful words.

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  2. I totally understand your RP. Three of my siblings and a niece have (had) it. One of them is not a Christian and he is having the worst time with it. Your attitude is amazing. I will add you to my prayer list. Thanks for being a testimony!

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  3. Heidi Thank you again for sharing. I know we all have are burdens to bear. Some more than others. You are truly a blessing in your living. I don’t know how you write? Maybe with the Dragon program or something like that and have proof readers. I am here to assist in any way I can. May God richly bless you!

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! I am blessed to have 5% of my central vision remaining. It is enough to utilize traditional software with a 3/4″ mouse with a VERY long tail to help me find it on my screen. It gets comical at times. God has given me what I need and I am thankful.

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  4. Praise the Lord that He made you with such a sweet spirit and soul! I love your writing and hope nothing but the best for you! I pray for miracles and cures in the field of vision!!

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