Covid-19 and blindness
By Maria Kovacs
As a blind person for the past thirty years, I thought I had seen it all! Oh boy, was I ever wrong! After many years of practice at being blind, I have found something that is sending me for a loop.
COVID-19 has done it to me!
My world now is cold, untouchable, lonely at times–which is something hard to handle. I am not so sure I could survive the new world we are all experiencing if I did not believe that my “Heavenly Father” would not be here to catch me when I fall.
Going for a walk, if anyone is passing me by, I’m always wondering if they will possibly get me sick. Going to a supermarket and trying to get assistance, while everyone wants to run away from you. No getting together with friends because no one wants to come and visit, scared we pass the virus to one another. Walking onto a bus and being scared that the person who previously occupied the seat you are now at had the virus.
Or, a simple walk in a park and getting lost because all the roads have no traffic to give me a sense of direction. Yes, to me, this was probably one of the hardest things to handle. My world is open when I have sounds of traffic or sound barriers to help me to be able to be independent daily.
My local park is a place I have known for the past thirty years and I am very used to going there. Now this park is very different for someone who has no sight. No children in the playground, nobody bringing the dogs to the park, no one bringing me coffee and conversation, and no cars to give me direction as to where the roads are.
The world I knew had familiar sounds to help give me direction, and this I knew was a world that was easier to deal with in my daily life. I also travel with a guide dog, which at times also can bring others to be afraid to come close, because of fear that dogs may spread the virus.
I also have had others say that many in the supermarket get upset when the dog moves into their space and does not keep the necessary distance of two meters.
Now I can honestly say that the world as a blind person is hard to cope with! If I did not live in a house with a yard and with a great garden to take care of and give me joy, my world would have been lonely and hard to handle for the foreseeable future.
Meetings online may give me many hours of involvement with my community, but the time spent on electronics is starting to drive me crazy.
I love to attend meetings in person and the opportunity they provide to get to know others and how they are engaged in our community. Now this opportunity is also lost, and I find that the computer does not bring the same spirit into my daily routines.
So, for all of these reasons, “blindness” has imprisoned me again. But, this time it feels like I have moved from a minimum-security prison to a maximum-security one.
My God, my Saviour, my Jesus has given me the strength to stay safe, healthy, and confident to survive this very hard world we are all forced to live in.
Through all of this, there is something that has happened in my world and the answer is simple. I am now much happier to talk to my Heavenly Father and ask for peace. The closeness I am feeling is giving me the peace I will need to bring forward in order to see me through.
So, I hear the Lord and walk in obedience to the things God is asking me to do, despite my fears. He reminds me that other people’s very lives may depend on it. Someone has sent me this verse and I make a point to read it when I find doubts in my daily routines. To whom much has been given, much will be required (Luke 12:48, NRSV).
Would you like to learn more? Further information about COVID-19 and blindness can be found in a thoughtful article by Nicholas A. Giudice, a professor at the School of Computing and Information Science at the University of Maine.
Maria Kovacs, Church Disability Advocate, Maple Ridge CRC