Gratitude For Our Sight

by Dave Block

Our eyes are a blessing to us.

Yet many of us take our eyes for granted. We do not realize how important eyesight is to our daily lives.

We have eyes so that we can read and learn, work and play, and see the beautiful earth.

Now imagine what life would be like if you couldn’t see at all.

What would that feel like?

I just recently returned from New York City and was able to find out when I visited a place called Dialog in the Dark.

Dialog in the Dark will give you what that experience is really like. Relying on blind and visually impaired guides, visitors use an authentic walking cane as they are led through a series of New York City environments, highlighted by city-centric scents, sounds, temperatures, and textures, in complete darkness.

My experience with Dialog in the Dark was really special.  Being cordially invited by Orly Wahba, I was feeling a little nervous, holding a cane, as the lights went out. Making my way though the darkness, I felt very uncomfortable and helpless as I started to have thoughts of not wanting to continue.

But what propelled me to move forward was when I was being guided by Valerie, our visually impaired guide. She made me feel more comfortable, as she held my hand and guided me through. My sense of touch was truly awakened.

During the tour, Valerie shared with us what’s it like to be going to a supermarket, getting on the subway, or visiting Central Park without being able to see. This experience put a new perspective in my mind of what it is these amazing people are going through on a daily basis.

After the lights came back on, I was able to see Valerie for the first time. I felt a special connectedness with her. And a feeling of gratefulness that I was able to use my eyes to see her real beauty. It gives you a humbling perspective on how difficult life is without your eyesight.

Orly’s interpretation of the experience is really powerful. She says, “Dialog in the Dark is all about taking away our physical vision in order to awaken our inner vision. The idea is that we are all walking around in our own “i world ” completely unaware of the people who are surrounding us. What Dialog in the Dark does is it increases our awareness of the people who are around us because now your other senses are awakened. Like the sense of touch, which is so important, because in this world there is such a lack of human connection. The human touch is gone because everything is so digital, so people need this. And when you walk out of this experience, you feel really grateful for your vision. This person who has guided me through this tour can’t see, doesn’t have the benefits and privilege of being able to see all the beautiful colors and textures and everything that is around. They have been robbed of something so precious. How can I not be grateful.”

Finally, I must say that those who do have the ability to see, should say a blessing everyday of how fortunate we really for the eyesight we have. I will never again take my eyesight for granted and neither should you.

There is a beautiful world out there.

We just need to focus better.