Gift of Love
The passengers on the bus watched sympathetically
as the attractive young woman with the white cane
made her way carefully up the steps. She paid the
driver and using her hands to feel the location
of the seats, walked down the aisle and found the
seat he'd told her was empty. She settled down,
placed her briefcase on her lap and rested her cane
against her leg.
It had been a year since Susan, thirty-four years
old, became blind. Due to a medical misdiagnosis,
she had been rendered sightless and she was suddenly
thrown into a world of darkness, anger, frustration
and self-pity. All she had to cling to was her husband,
Mark was an Air Force officer and he loved Susan
with all his heart. When she first lost her sight,
he watched her sink into despair and was determined
to help his wife gain the strength and confidence
she needed to become independent again
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After some time, Susan finally felt ready to return
to her job. However, how would she get there? She
used to take the bus but was now too frightened
to get around the city by herself. Mark volunteered
to drive her to work each day even though they worked
at opposite ends of the city. At first, this comforted
Susan and fulfilled Mark's need to protect his sightless
wife who was so insecure about performing the slightest
However, Mark soon realized the arrangement wasn't
working. He admitted to himself that Susan will
have to start taking the bus again. Nevertheless,
she was still so fragile, so angry - how would she
react? Just as he predicted, Susan was horrified
at the idea of taking the bus again.
"I'm blind!" She responded bitterly.
"How am I supposed to know where I am going?
I feel like you're abandoning me."
Mark's heart broke to hear these words but he knew
what had to be done. He promised Susan that each
morning and evening he would ride the bus with her,
for as long as it took, until she got the hang of
it. That is exactly what happened. For two solid
weeks, Mark, in his military uniform and all, accompanied
Susan to and from work each day.
He taught her how to rely on her other senses,
specifically her hearing, to determine where she
was and how to adapt to her new environment. He
helped her befriend the bus drivers who could watch
out for her and save her a seat.
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Finally, Susan decided that she was ready to try
the trip on her own. Monday morning arrived and
before she left, she threw her arms around Mark,
her temporary bus-riding companion, her husband
and her best friend. Her eyes filled with tears
of gratitude for his loyalty, his patience and his
love. She said goodbye and for the first time, they
went their separate ways. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday... Each day on her own went perfectly and
Susan had never felt better. She was doing it! She
was going to work all by herself.
On Friday morning, Susan took the bus to work as
As she was paying the fare to exit the bus, the
driver said, "Boy, I sure do envy you."
Susan wasn't sure if the driver was speaking to
her or not. After all, who on earth would ever envy
a blind woman who had struggled just to find the
courage to live for the past year?
Curious, she asked the driver, "Why do you
say that you envy me?"
The driver responded, "It must feel good to
be taken care of and protected like you are."
Susan had no idea what the driver was talking about
and asked again, "What do you mean?"
The driver answered, "You know, every morning
for the past week, a fine-looking gentleman in a
military uniform has been standing across the corner
watching you as you get off the bus. He makes sure
you cross the street safely and he watches until
you enter your office building. Then he blows you
a kiss, gives you a little salute and walks away.
You are one lucky lady."
Tears of happiness poured down Susan's cheeks.
Although she couldn't physically see him, she had
always felt Mark's presence. She was lucky, so lucky,
for he had given her a gift more powerful than sight,
a gift she didn't need to see to believe - the gift
of love that can bring light where there is darkness.
By Sharon Wajda
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