red, white, and blue star with initials B V A

Blinded Veterans: Always rising to the challenge

How many times have you heard that you amaze people with what you can do while being blind? How about the statement that they couldn’t do it? Sometimes you may have felt this way about yourself but then you realize that, at the end of the day, you can’t take off the nightshades. Yeah, it’s a challenge.
At some point in our lives, somebody told us we were blind or going blind. All blinded veterans felt the same fear, nervousness, and anxiety at realizing that life had just dropped a new challenge in our laps. This one is different in that we didn’t ask for it, but we knew we had to rise above it to continue on with life.
We have all faced those challenges and work hard to rise above them. We have no choice. The sense of accomplishment is also a real boost to the ego. I still remember learning braille and the very first time I found a braille translation that was truly wrong, I thought, “Was this written by a 3-year-old?” No, it wasn’t, but the person responsible just didn’t want to rise to the challenge of doing the right thing.
Then along comes COVID-19. Talk about a challenge for the whole world. In speaking with people who are not blind, I found that their biggest concern is if we are okay having to be quarantined. I loved the humor in that. Many sighted people I know started going a little stir crazy with cabin fever after being locked in their houses for a few weeks. Many of us just giggled to ourselves – welcome to our lives. We have previously risen to the challenge of not be able to go out since no one lets us drive, for obvious reasons. Sure, we can still go for a walk, but we always could. Social distancing – that challenge was covered too, so many people don’t understand that we are only blind, not contagious, so they typically get really quiet as we approach. Challenge accepted. I was listening to my book on earbuds anyway. Just got to a good part.
So, as we keep going and are met by new challenges, keep rising above them, and don’t forget to enjoy life and smell the roses.
Tracy Ferro
Louisiana/Mississippi Regional Group
BVA District 6