Being diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease has caused a great deal of change in my life. Perhaps, none so great as the day I discovered I would have to stop driving.
While the news of RP created an initial shock, I was able to continue with my normal routine for some time.
One day, I was pulling into a parking lot, and almost ran over a woman crossing in front of my car. I simply hadn’t noticed her. Slamming on the brakes and nodding an apology, I headed home immediately, too shaken to finish my errands. At the time, I didn’t attribute the incident to changing eyesight. But, I would soon know otherwise.
A few days later, I noticed I was unable to see things I had been able to before. My night vision didn’t allow me to see steps or curbs. With alarm, I realized I could no longer read road signs or see lines on the highway. Blind spots dotted my visual fields—as if I was looking through thick lattice. When I walked to the mailbox, I was shocked to realize I couldn’t see the basketball pole and hoop I knew stood across the street. How could something so large not be seen?
I was stunned as I began to grasp the magnitude of what was happening.
Another trip to the retina specialist showed a drop in both my peripheral and central vision. She told me the change was “significant” and it was “no longer safe” to drive.
When we left the doctor’s office I felt assaulted. My body ached with the blow of the news. Driving was a vital part of my life and ministry and I could not imagine life without it. What would I do with my time?
When I stopped driving, I lost something I loved. I grieved the loss of freedom and the feeling of control. With my husband at work and my boys in school, I spent days feeling lonely and isolated, even depressed and sorry for myself.
This change in vision changed everything, and I now had to readjust both my schedule and my mindset. Instead of getting in the car to go and do, I pulled out my Bible to sit and listen. As I spent time alone with Jesus, I learned that I was not at all alone. I was at home with the God of the Universe.
I made a decision to stop feeling sorry for myself and to embrace the time with God. Daily sitting at the feet of Jesus through prayer and God’s Word, I soon learned that giving up driving paled in comparison to the pleasure of knowing Him better. I found peace and purpose I had not discovered until forced to be quiet.
In my loss, I discovered a pearl of great price—the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus as my Lord. How grateful I am that I can say, with Paul:
What is more, I consider everything a loss
compared to the surpassing greatness
of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.