While I was in college there was a blind student one year below me. I never had a class with him, and only spoke with him once, but everyone on campus knew him. He was part of the chapel’s music ministry, having to memorize the words and notes of every song they prepared for Mass. He walked around campus with great ease using one of those distinctive white canes used by the blind.
One day after Mass as I walked out of the chapel, I noticed him standing by the door as if waiting for someone. As I passed him, I involuntarily turned around and noticed a student introducing him to an older man. The older man also had one of those distinctive white canes. The older blind man did not appear to be a student. “He must be a visitor,” I thought.
Once outside the chapel feeling the chilly air on my cheeks, I stopped a few steps away from the door to observe what was going to happen next. I saw the student and the older man exit the chapel chatting calmly. I heard the student’s distinctive high pitched laugh. As they got closer to me the young man said as he tapped the edge of the sidewalk with his cane, “here you have to be careful with the bushes.” I became intrigued and watched the two blind men descend the steps near the chapel toward the traffic circle. The young student spoke again as both men tapped the curve with their canes, “here you reach a circle. Now follow me.” The young man led the older man all around the circle, both tapping their canes along the curve as to assure that the curve was still there. I watched in amazement as they went all the way around and returned with great ease to the starting point. “Now we are back to where we started,” the young man explained.
As I walked to class I realized that I had learned a valuable lesson just as the older man had learned how to move around campus. “It is possible for the blind to lead the blind.” The young man had gained certain knowledge because he was blind, and was able to share it. As someone with sight, I would have not known how to explain things to the older man, and I would not have been aware of the dangers to avoid or the necessary precautions to take. The young student was the best teacher because he was blind. It was because of his blindness, his weakness, that he was stronger.
Saint Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “for when I am weak, then I am strong.” It is because of our life experiences, especially our mistakes, that we are able to give the best advice. It is by recognizing our very own inadequacies that God is able to make us strong. In life we are all sinners guiding other sinners to best follow God and be faithful Christians. Our weakness makes us strong, and God allows us to use it for the building of His kingdom.
Picture is mine, all rights reserved.