My eyes aren’t much, if any better, than hers. But having shopped for her several times recently when she was ill, I had a much easier time of it. I have been dealing with bad eyesight since I was born. When you cannot see well, you adapt. I learned a lot of tricks a long time ago. I cannot see faces across a room, but I recognize walks; I memorize clothing colors; I know voices and laughs. So after the first time I shopped for my mother I knew that her variety of yogurt had a little blue circle on it. I didn’t need to turn the box upside down looking for the necessary phrase, nor try to read the fine print. I didn’t even need to know that the little blue circle said “60 calories.” The reason the calorie count is so low is that there is “no sugar added.” I learned that the first time, when I did have to pick up the box, hold it close to my nose and scour the surface. I learned that her favored fruit cups have a blue banner on them. No blue banner and it’s the wrong fruit cup. I do a lot of things like that.
A long time ago we did not have color coded road signs. But once they came out, I was home free. I picked up on the colors immediately. Forty years ago we were in a strange town visiting a friend at a hospital. We did not know exactly where the hospital was, but it was a small town so we figured we could find it. As we crossed every intersection I looked one way down the cross street and Keith looked the other. “There!” I said. “Turn here.”
Keith turned and seeing no hospital said, “How do you know?”
“Because there’s a square blue sign down there.”
“So?” he said.
“Hospital signs are blue squares with a big H on them.”
And sure enough, as we got closer, there was an H on that sign and two blocks later the hospital appeared on our right. I could not read the sign, but I could see a blue square.
Before long Keith picked up on the color coding too. When we camp, we always look for brown, the telltale color of a state park sign.
Do you know why I can do those things? Because it’s necessary to my functioning independently. As long as I want to do for myself, regardless my decreasing vision, I pick up on these things and use them. My various eye drops have different colored tops. The individual vials that look almost the same, feel different in my hands. That is very important because each eye requires different medications. I could cause a lot of damage if I mixed things up.
I started teaching myself these things before I could even read. When I was 4 and there were a lot fewer car models, I recognized them by their taillights. It used to tickle my Daddy to death when four-year-old me identified cars to startled friends and neighbors. I learned those tricks and devices then and I just keep on doing it. It’s habit, and it’s habit because it’s important.
Now don’t tell me you can’t learn Bible facts because you are “too old” or you’re “not smart enough.” That is not the problem. The problem is that it’s not important enough to you. Didn’t you have to take a driving test? How about tests at work to earn promotions? When it becomes a necessity in your mind, you can do just fine. You may have to learn a few mnemonic devices, but you can do it. I am not good with numbers any longer, but I always remember what side of the page a verse is on, and once I remember the book I can browse through and find it. I make up silly songs and sing them (silently) in my head. I remember alphabetic tricks.
And finally there is this: if you read something enough times and study it deeply enough, not just once but again and again and again, you will eventually know it just like you know your own name, address, phone number, cell number, social security number, PIN number, and the dozen passwords you have to know to function in this technological world. And I bet you know the addresses and most of the phone numbers you had before the ones you have now. Why? Because you had to know them all at one point in your life. 4916 Bristol Court, 8011 Pine Hill Drive, 125 W Walnut Street, Route 4 Oak Drive, Route 2 Box 790-B, Route 3 Box 1559—all of those used to be my addresses, the first one before I even started elementary school.
Don’t tell me you can’t learn the Bible. Don’t tell me that so-and-so’s Bible class is too deep. Don’t tell me you can’t remember the 12 sons of Jacob, the judges, the kings, the apostles, and all the books of the Bible. If you can’t, it’s because you don’t want to badly enough. It isn’t necessary for you to function in this life. And that’s where the problem lies. God and His Word do not constitute your life and your reason for being. If they did, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you…In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. Ps 119:10-11,14-16