This morning, as I was washing my face, one of my contacts fell out.
I have contacts that are meant to be worn a month at a time, without being taken out, even to sleep. This means that I close my eyes at night with the ability to see, and I open them in the morning with the same capacity. It also means that I sometimes forget that I am extremely myopic, in the most literal sense. Without contacts or glasses, anything that is further than four inches away from my eyes appears blurry; things that are mere feet away look like nothing but colorful blobs.
I am supposed to change my contacts every month, and to give my eyes a break by wearing my glasses for a day in between. I hate my glasses. Not only because I think they look awful on me, but because they fall down my nose at the slightest provocation and allow me no peripheral vision. When my contact fell out this morning, I figured it had been about a month since I changed them, so I removed the other one and dutifully put on my glasses, intending to put in a new pair of contacts before shabbos started. I soon found that the glasses were almost more trouble than they were worth—getting caught on my hair and making themselves generally obnoxious. So I took them off, and tried to function.
It was then that it hit me: I have a serious handicap. I can’t do anything, really, without visual correction.
I realized that if I lived in another era, I would be practically incapacitated. Not only that, but I would miss out on so much of what brings me joy in life: a breathtaking mountain view or sunset, a thoughtful and entertaining dramatic production, watching the interesting people on the subway—even my friends’ faces would be lost to me unless inches from my own. Learning would be a lot more difficult too, and seeing the board in class—forget it.
Yet here I am, with the luxury of forgetting that I even have this disability, thanks to the wonders of modern science and technology. In a societal climate of complaint and general dissatisfaction, I can only feel incredibly grateful to God for the opportunities afforded me, not the least of which is the chance to live a normal life, independent and fully-sighted.
And in case you haven’t guessed, I put my glasses back on.