Jackie's Journey "Eyes that See..."


“Eyes that See…”


           When was the last time you looked up toward heaven and thanked God for your sight?  “Ears that hear and eyes that see…the Lord has made them both”.  Proverbs 20:12  My granddaughter, Catherine, is leaving for college next fall and has been busy sending applications to various colleges around the country.  I was touched by an essay she wrote and I know you will be too…

 Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

            You don't always get to choose your circumstances in life, but you do get to choose how you respond to them.  In 2005 I remember walking into the classroom of my first grade class. The teacher introduced herself and she pointed to something written on the whiteboard.  I had no idea what she was pointing at, but she kept reading what was supposedly written there.  My peers began to copy down what was invisible to me. Why could they see what was written and I couldn’t?

     The whole day seemed to pass in a blur (literally) as I tried to figure out what was wrong with me.  I remember looking at objects in the distance, like trees, as we walked to the science building, and realized that I could not see the leaves that I knew were there. My parents were concerned and set up an appointment with an ophthalmologist.  Doctor Leila examined my eyes and announced that I was legally blind.  My prescription, instead of being a perfect 20/20, was 20/-2.00.  I was seven years old and every year since then my eyesight has progressively weakened by -1.00.  As I approached my 18th birthday my sight started stabilizing.  Today I am close to 20/-6.00.  Anything -4.00 and above is considered extreme.  Without lenses I can barely recognize my own hand if it is nearly touching my nose.     

     Sight is something that we all take for granted.  It is a constant gift that allows us to carry on with our everyday activities and enjoy the world’s beauty.  Last year I attended a life changing conference in Los Angeles known as WE Day”.  Over ten thousand people were invited to participate in this event.  I was fortunate enough to be selected along with thirteen others from my high school. I can’t imagine going more than ten minutes without being able to see clearly in such an unpredictable world, let alone a whole lifetime!  “WE Day” inspired me to help those who cannot see.  I had the opportunity to listen to speakers talk about how their particular area of interest motivated them to create change.  One inspired person can change the world.  It sparked an interest in me to pursue a career in medicine so that I can one day make a difference in someone else’s life.  There is nothing that brings me more joy than watching a child put on glasses and see clearly for the first time.

    Despite being legally blind I have been a 4.1 GPA student with four AP achievements in a highly competitive high school.  My family and my faith helped me to realize that I do not have to be defined by my disabilities.  Through hard work and determination, I realize that my academic success had more to do with intelligence than my ability to see.  I cannot see like normal” people do, nor can I go out into the world without contacts or glasses, but I have learned that my life is not defined by the things I can and cannot see, but rather by the things I can and will accomplish. I have had the privilege of playing tennis at a competitive level since I was ten, I surf, wakeboard, volunteer at school and in my local community, play beach volleyball and snowboard with my family, and hike and explore many breathtaking places in our world.  Without the modern technological advances, I would not have been able to do any of the things I love most in life.  I have chosen to respond to these circumstances by allowing them to inspire me. 

 “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”.  II Corinthians 4:18

 What do you do with your difficult circumstances?

 “Open my eyes, Lord, that I may see…” Psalm 119:18

~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights.