MY REFLECTION ON FINDING HOPE ON THE UNCERTAIN ROAD OF LOSING AND FIGHTING FOR SIGHT
The one day I had freedom and sight and the next I was losing both. A very aggressive bacteria broke through the defenses of my eyes and started eating away at its corneas (the transparent layer at the front of the eye). Something of a nightmare that wouldn’t end for weeks and months. It affected every area of my life and made me very dependent on others.
With the help of an Ophthalmologist the right eye got stabilised and has no permanent damage. The real battle centered around the left eye. The bacteria was prevented from reaching the iris, which would have destroyed my eye completely. It got so badly scarred that only a blurry 10% of disturbed and confusing vision is what is left today.
The last chapter is yet to be written. I am consulting with a specialised Optometrist on custom made contact lenses. If that doesn’t work, then the next step will probably be a cornea transplant.
Have you ever thought about the value of your sight? If you could measure its worth in terms of money, what amount could even come close? Eyesight is simply invaluable.
WHAT IS A VISUAL ARTIST WITHOUT VISION?
Through the loss of vision, I nearly lost my inner vision too. I was able to work as my right eye is fine, but it became a battle of the heart. Personally I don’t like dark or depressing art, but here I was, facing the most depressing situation.
It all started back in February this year (2016). I find it hard to describe what I experienced. Something like having a stick in your eye, having it turn slowly, pushing deeper, hitting every nerve. I couldn’t speak for the pain was overwhelming. The Doctor prescribed different eye drops at various times, starting with drops every half hour, day and night. These drops decreased gradually over the course of 5 months. The cumulative effects of a lack of sleep, incessant pain, a tremendous amount of discomfort and the loss of life as I had known it overwhelmed me.
As the situation stabilised, the process of coming to terms with my loss began. While working on art projects I became frustrated fairly often. Being able to create visual art is so dependent on vision and fine observation. I had to learn to live with myself and my new handicap. The question remains – what will “the end” look like? Will I ever get rid of the double & blurred vision?
CLIMBING A MOUNTAIN IN JAPAN
My boyfriend and I recently went to visit some family members in Japan. I find traveling adventures absolutely irresistible and can draw a tremendous amount of energy from looking forward to a trip like this one. It was exactly what I needed.
During our visit we climbed a dormant volcano – Mt. Kurikoma in Miyagi Province. I enjoy long distance running and haven’t been able to really pursue it the last few months. As we climbed, for the first time since the infection, I felt that exhilarating feeling and sense of accomplishment as we got closer to the top. At first it was tough as I struggled to navigate over the rocks due to my lack of depth perception (another side effect of only having good vision in one eye). Luckily one’s brain can adapt and soon it became easier. The mist came rolling in, folding over the mountain like a soft blanket. It was cold and wet and the top was out of sight and felt somewhat out of reach.
For me, climbing this volcanic mountain became symbolic of my journey with regard to my eye. The end is still unclear and an unknown distance away.
The image of these flowers there, on an unfamiliar road in a foreign land, at that particular moment in time and space stayed with me. Here I am, not yet at the top, “the end” is unclear, but I can find hope where I am. I can surrender without giving up. I can stop fighting my situation and put my trust in the only place I can find rest and peace; in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ.
MORE THAN SIGHT
I still do not understand why this happened to me. I still don’t know where it all will end. I still don’t know when and if I will ever see properly again. But what I do know is that hardship lays bare exactly what you believe, what you build your life on.
There were dark moments when I cried out to God for help when I simply couldn’t deal with the pain and discomfort and lack of sleep any more. He was quiet and seemingly distant for longer than what I could bare. But deep down I knew and chose to stand on the fact that even when it does not feel like it, when it does not look like it, that God is still faithful and good. I can still trust Him. My future is in His hands because He is my Father, my Savior and my Comforter. He is the Author and Finisher of my faith.
Those who were involved in this process were incredibly gracious to me, helping me wherever they could. For that I will remain eternally grateful. All of you were God sent. Thank you so much.
ABOUT THE ARTWORK
Art can have many layers of meaning and various interpretations. I encourage viewers to find in it their own story; their own way of relating to it. The article “Out of the Blue – my reflection on finding hope on the uncertain road of losing and fighting for sight” gives some background on what led to the creation of this Artwork.
The artwork combines elements of precise lines and blurred edges, abstract and realism, palette knife strokes all the way to water colour effects. Out of the blue some white flowers grow, surrounded by a patch of small rocks and leafy greens. If you step back and ignore the flowers and plants, it can almost seem like an aerial view of sea and land masses. This artwork seems clear and unclear all at the same time.