By Angela Koltes
On a dreary and overcast winter day, I set out with a few friends to spend the afternoon at the nearby school for the blind. It was one of those “any old Sundays” where I was exhausted from the week’s busy schedule and longed for the comfort of my warm bed and the welcoming idea of lounging at home.
I had no desire to go outside; after all, almost everyone would be spending time on themselves and taking the day off. But because we had promised to go by the school to give the children a little cheer and fun on a lonely Sunday afternoon, we were obligated to go.
On weekends, most of the families of students came to pick up their children, as the blind children boarded at the school during the week. So there were few kids this Sunday, yet each one of them showed their delight at our coming, welcoming us with joyful expressions.
We didn’t have much of a plan, but we brought a guitar, shakers, and bongos, hoping to bring some happiness into their seemingly colorless worlds. The children crowded around us, listening to the music and trying to understand where we came from and what we looked like. Some of them had their own instruments, as most of them are musically talented, and they played along, enthusiastically showing us what they knew.
In the midst of all the noise and activity I noticed one little short-haired girl sitting shyly away from the other children. I wondered who her parents were and why they hadn’t come to visit such a beautiful little girl. I felt angry, wondering how this child could deserve to be deprived of her sight and made to live as handicapped.
While watching her, the first thing that captured me was her bright and radiant smile. “How could this little blind girl, in her sad condition, be so happy?” I wondered to myself. The teacher, who followed my gaze, began to tell us her story. Seda was seven years old and had been through a brain operation two years before. “I could see the trees, the birds, the doctor’s face, everything.” She added, listening to her teacher, “But after I woke up, I couldn’t see anything anymore.”
It was as if a rock fell from a high ledge and landed at the bottom of my heart! I could only continue to watch the little girl in silence.
“But I am so happy!” she exclaimed, giggling and playing with her hands. “Why are you happy, Seda?” her teacher asked for us. “Well,” she began softly, “Even though I cannot see on this earth anymore, I will be able to see again in heaven—and I am waiting and looking forward to that day.”
My eyes filled with tears, and I knew by looking around that my friends shared the same feeling. The rest of the afternoon Seda stuck near me. She grabbed my hand and led me around the school. She sat on my lap and talked about all the food she liked to eat, each vegetable and fruit she enjoyed and why. She found such delight in the tastes and sounds around her, it was as if she had forgotten she could not use her sense of sight.
When I drove home that evening, Seda’s face stuck in my mind. What did this girl see in her black world that made her so happy? Later, when I would feel the strain of a difficult workday, whatever I might be going through at the moment, when I thought of Seda, I knew I couldn't complain.
Sometimes the dark days we are forced to pass through seem unbearable and we see no shining rays of dawn. We struggle each day while despising what we see around us. Yet I know if I can only strive to think as that little angel did, whose sight had been taken from her, and look toward heaven as she did, I can praise for each day I have been given on this earth.
Whenever I am tempted to curse the darkness and criticize what I see around me, that little girl’s smile comes to mind. I think of her faith and I think of the eyes that were given to her to see the daylight of tomorrow, and I know if she can, I surely can too.