Freedom. A Word That is Re-Creating it’s Definition
Freedom. It’s such a simple word with so many meanings. Do you assimilate freedom with your rights as a person? Or the ability to do whatever you may want to do? Or do you align freedom with an ideology or mindset?
Whatever your assimilation, Freedom is a word that we all need to hold on to. The ability of free choice, ability to make decisions based on your moral code and obviously, the ability to express yourself and being who you are.
In this absolutely wild world we all call home, the word Freedom is becoming a privilege, not a right. Freedom is being taken from us all in some way or another. Whether it’s the Freedom to travel, the Freedom to have your kids at a school of your choice, or the Freedom to visit with your family without worry, our FREEDOM is being quietly and slowly stripped from us.
Welcome to the painstaking reality of what it’s like to go blind.
The reality hit me this morning as my wife and I loaded up the kids to take our oldest to school. It hit like a 1,000 pound anvil in a cartoon from the 80’s. Freedom is one of the largest things that is lost when going blind and now, for the first time, many of you reading this, may understand a bit more.
Last night, my oldest daughter disclosed to Mom that she was bummed that all of the other Dad’s can drive and drop off their kids at school. She sees the line of cars with parents picking up their little ones and noticed, maybe for the first time, that there are a lot of Dad’s driving the cars. As she sat and waited, car by car drove past. Eventually, we greeted her with smiles and enthusiasm but that reality of Dad’s driving stuck with her.
For her, Dad doesn’t drive. She remembers me driving my old Tacoma and the fun we had in doing so. She remembers me picking her up from pre-school. She remembers Mom being in the passenger seat, not always in the driver seat. Now, as an adult, I grasp the reality that I can not drive, it’s not safe for me, or anyone else that may be on the road. I haven’t had a drivers license since 2020. I’ve accepted the reality but it still stings. Not only do I want to help my wife with the daily driving, errand running or long trips, but I miss driving.
Once upon a time, I drove. I drove a lot. I loved it and loved everything it provided me. Whether it was a commute to work or a trip to the beach to catch some waves, the moments I remember driving are vast… and missed. The Freedom.
That Freedom is what I miss most and as a blind man, that Freedom won’t ever return. The wind in your hair, the music turned up and the ability to change your day, just by making one single different turn.
Now, at 37 years old, I understand that I had my time behind the wheel. I know I enjoyed that part of my life but as a father, it breaks my heart that my daughters don’t and won’t have those moments with me. It hurts to know that I can’t take them out for donuts in the early morning. It breaks my heart that I can’t take them out for a Daddy Daughter date. It wrecks me that my oldest feels the way she does and unfortunately, it won’t ever change.
As of late, my vision is continuing it’s decrease. The light is getting darker and the days are getting shorter with Fall upon us. Challenges are growing and the simplest tasks find their way into the difficult zone more frequently. It’s sad and downright depressing.
The reality that my Freedom is being taken from me, in terms of my vision, reminds me of what is happening in the world. We can’t travel here or there, we can no longer trust the people that have control over our country and a disease has caused the world to utterly live in fear. YOUR Freedom is being taken away, in a much different way.
How do you like it? How do you feel to know that you no longer can do the things you want? Do you feel trapped at home? I know I do at times, for a couple of reasons.
We all vary in political stances and moral structure but the facts are true. No matter your outlook. For the first time, you may be feeling similar to someone with a disability, but you aren’t disabled. You may feel like the world is getting smaller, that is what it feels like when you’re going blind. You may feel like you are scared to do or try new things, I am too.
I am going blind, not by choice but because of a gene that decided it for me. I am adapting every single moment of the day, every day. I am scared to try new things. I get frustrated every single day at how hard things are becoming. However, this disease continues to give me insight and a new outlook at life. It continues to give me strength through weakness and an ability to find a way to enjoy life, as much as possible. It has given me empathy, humbleness and gratuity, to levels that I have never felt or experienced.