What Blindness Taught Me About Seeing and How You Can See Better Too

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “People only see what they are prepared to see.” How do you see the world?

In this time of fear and darkness and suspicion, it can be easy to see the world as depressing and scary. You watch the news or read the headlines and brace yourself, preparing to see the worst, right? I get it… I do — it can be pretty dark out there, but can you still see beauty and goodness and hope too?

You can if you are prepared to. So, I ask again, how do you see the world?

I see the world more clearly since I’ve been blind. Or at least, I try to.

Not being able to physically see has opened my eyes to recognize how to really see — I mean that see beyond the sorrow and see hope within the tragedy.

Let me pull out my iPhone to show you what I mean.

I know, I know ... it’s quite a jump to go from Ralph Waldo Emerson to an iPhone app, but stick with me!!

The app is called “Color Identifier.” It uses the camera in the iPhone to capture my surroundings and then it announces the colors it sees. But, unlike the color detector I use to identify my clothing, it has a huge, descriptive and downright fun vocabulary. My color detector simply announces “black” or “blue” or “light yellow” when I press it against fabric. It’s so helpful when it comes to knowing the colors of my clothing but it serves merely as a reporter.

The Color Identifier app, on the other hand, interprets what it sees like a bohemian artist or imaginative poet would! It uses names for colors like those creative people at Crayola do! For example, the sky isn’t simply “blue” it’s “Baltic Sea” on a bright day or “Gun Smoke” on a cloudy one. Lovely, right? According to the Color Identifier, my front yard is blanketed with tones of asparagus, avocado and Rangoon green! Can’t you just see that?!

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