If you know people without sight, you learn quickly that they most often see much more than people who can "see." Rocky reminds me that life and circumstance challenge us to grow and change – to confront our fears – or to surrender to them. This is the drama of those without biological sight. This is their choice.
I learned quickly that Rocky sees more than any other animal I know. He is acutely aware of sound and smell. His hooves know every safe and worn path. His nose finds buckets of grain, water, obstacles. His senses are acute, almost supernatural sometimes. He knows I am coming before my car has even turned onto the driveway.
In my own life, I have been learning, struggling to see – through fear, anger, confusion, through the alarm and judgement and panic that swirl around around me, through the poisoned media and political system, the angry harangues of the left and the right, the greedy and fear-peddling insurance, bureaucratic, medical and legal systems. Sometimes it seems as if the point of our world is alarm and confrontation, the spreading of fear for profit and power.
Fear has helped me grow, challenge and adversity is helping me become an authentic human being, one step at a time, day by day, revelation by revelation. If we had sold Bedlam Farm right away, if we had gotten all the money we asked for when we asked for it, if we had bought a finished, polished, ready-to-live-in house, if I had all the money in my bank account and IRA that I was supposed to have, then I would not see so many of the things I see today, these great gifts to me:
- What a real partnership with a loving human being can accomplish.
- The joy of knowing a home so intimately when you have painted, scrubbed or scraped every inch.
- The strength from making good, fast, quick and creative decisions.
- The sense of accomplishment – late for me – in knowing I can manage the money I have well and resourcefully.
- The joy of finding there are good people in the world who make wonderful friends, are supportive and helpful, encouraging and present.
- The great gift of understanding what health really is, and of pursuing in a safe and productive way.
- The thrill of changing in creative ways, taking control of your life.
- The liberation that comes from seeing that money does not bring love, security or peace of mind. It is our greatest myth, perhaps the leading cause of our spiritual blindness.
- The pleasure of knowing I can learn how to take the wallpaper off of a wall, prep and paint, mop and polish, scrape and brush.
Fear is, after all, a geography, a culture, a habit, and more than anything off, it feeds off of itself and the toxic fumes in our unthinking world. When you are forced by circumstance to confront the world, then the choice – like Rocky's – is to give into it, and surrender to its awful and relentless power, or to see it for what it is – a wall around your life, a choker of the soul, a crusher of the spirit. So this is the great gift of fear unmasked, rejected and turned away from. It can make us strong. It can make us safe. It can make us see.
Without trouble and challenge, my own blindness might have crippled me for the rest of my life. Rocky reminds me that it has helped me to see.
This is a meaningful message for me to take on the road, as I begin my 22nd book tour and set out into the country to see different things and meet some of the people who read my books, share my life on the blog, look for my photography, walk with me through life.