Sacred Stories | To Truly See

“But blessed are your eyes because they see and blessed are your ears because they hear. — Matthew 13:16

While I was working the night shift, a patient forever changed my view on life. This patient was blind, so I made frequent stops in her room. Early one morning, I asked if she would like me to order her breakfast. Though swamped with the upcoming shift change, I took the time to read the menu to her, tell her which items I recommended, and placed her order.

Anxious to complete my work, I asked if there was anything else she needed. She asked if the sun was rising yet. I walked to her window and slightly opened a blind, responding, “Yes, ma’am, it is.” She asked if I would open the blinds for her. Bewildered, I opened the blinds to the new morning.

As I did, I wondered what the day would hold. What promises, heartaches and losses would each of us experience? As I pondered my silent inquiries, my patient sighed deeply and said she had not seen a sunrise in decades. She told me the heart-wrenching story of how she lost her eyesight as a young child and how she would love to see a sunrise just one more time.

I looked at the clock, then back to the silent tears streaking my patient’s aged face. I walked to her bedside, held her hand for a moment and said, “Can I paint it for you?” She smiled and said, “Well, honey, I still won’t be able to see it!”

“Yes, ma’am, you will, because God is the painter,” I said. I released her hand and walked back to the window. I described the sunrise in such poetic terms that I astounded myself. I described the shades of the shadows that tried to hide from the golden rays of the sun. I blended the hues of blue, purple, pink, orange, yellow and gray in the sky. I highlighted the greenery as it was touched by the sunlight and described the wisps of clouds with their silver linings.

I turned back to my patient, who was still crying, but smiling. She thanked me for taking the time to describe something so many of us take for granted. She said a heavy burden of grief had been lifted, and it was a gift to see again, if only for a moment, through my words. I grasped her outreached hand, and she said it was her turn to paint me a picture.

“Most people worry about tomorrow. They don’t stop to see the beauty God has placed in front of them, or the promises of beauty within that prove God’s love. If God takes care of the birds, don’t you think God will take care of you? So I ask you, who is it that is truly blind?”

Shocked, I answered honestly, “Me.”. My patient responded, “I depend on God every day to take care of me. Today, God sent you to describe a sunrise to me. If you open your eyes, you will see that God will take care of you, too.” Through my tears, I thanked her and hugged her.

On the way home, I pondered her words of wisdom. I realized that a healing had taken place for both of us, and that through us God had met our needs. I was being robbed by worry, fear and doubt, when, in fact, each day was a blessing.

Since then, I look to each morning with expectation and hope, which has changed my attitude and even “infects” the people around me. I’ve learned to count my blessings. Often, when the shadows fall just right and the hues in the sky blend perfectly, as they did on that life-changing morning, I think of my patient and thank God for sending her across my path.

Shared from the Sacred Stories Archive

Questions for Reflection

Describe a time when you were the eyes and ears for another person. What did that feel like?

Has anyone ever been your eyes and ears? What was that experience like for you?

About Sacred Stories

As CommonSpirit Health, we make the healing presence of God known in our world by improving the health of
the people we serve, especially those who are vulnerable, while we advance social justice for all.

Sacred Stories convey ways our mission is being lived out by the gifted people in our ministry. We invite you to
use these stories for inspiration, as a meeting reflection, or to encourage discussion with your team.