Friday, October 10, 2008

Seeing Light

Late Afternoon Sun through Patio Wall
(click to view full size)

From And There Was Light, by Jacques Lusseyran, a French Resistance hero who was accidentally blinded at the age of seven:

It was a great surprise to me to find myself blind, and being blind was not at all as I imagined it.... They told me that to be blind meant not to see. Yet how was I to believe them when I saw! Not at once, I admit.... For at that time I still wanted to use my eyes. I followed their usual path. I looked in the direction where I was in the habit of seeing before the accident, and there was anguish, a lack, something like a void which filled me with what grownups call despair....

...some instinct — I was almost about to say a hand laid on me — made me change course. I began to look more closely, not at things but at a world closer to myself, looking from an inner place to one further within, instead of clinging to the movement of sight toward the world outside.

Immediately, the substance of the universe drew together, redefined and peopled itself anew. I was aware of a radiance emanating from a place I knew nothing about, a place which might as well have been outside me as within. but radiance was there, or, to put it more precisely, light. If was a fact, for light was there.

I felt indescribable relief, and happiness so great it almost made me laugh. Confidence and gratitude came as if a prayer had been answered. I found light and joy at the same moment...