WHEN LESLIE FIRST BEGAN SEEKING ASSISTANCE with his loss of sight from organizations who offered us assistance I was asked to call someone who offered to help pay for a visit to see an eye clinic. After I was finished writing down the information he was giving me, he asked me what felt like an odd question,
" Mrs. Farrell, are you blind too? "
I answered truthfully, " No. Why do you ask? "
He spoke with conviction when he answered my question,
"Well my wife is blind and you know it just works better when a blind person marries another blind person. "
" Are you aware that my husband just recently lost his sight, Sir? He wasn't blind when we married each other."
" Well if he had been blind when you met himwould you have married him?"
I considered that question to be irrelevant because that had not been the case.
The conversation ended on an awkward note with me feeling like I had just faced
a major inquisition.
As time went on and we immersed ourselves in the rehab process I felt my head spinning with all the references to the fully blind versus partially blind, total occlusion and was more than annoyed at the literature which declared that the only "real" blind person is one who lives in total darkness...and in order to teach someone to cope one should simulate total blindness...Dark with dark, light with light...here we go again I thought...
This emphasis on Dark Vs. Light had been in our relationship earlier but for a
IN THE SPRING OF 1986, Leslie and Mary made the decision to have a church wedding gathering to celebrate a union begun by mutual consent and privately blessed by God on January 1 of 1985. We would need an ordained minister, recognized by the church and the state of Pennsylvania to preside over the ceremony. Therefore, the search began…
A FEMALE CO-WORKER told Leslie that she would be delighted to officiate for us and invited us to come to her home for pre-marital counseling, which is standard procedure for most pastors who offer wedding services. Upon our arrival we were ushered into the dining room where the woman gave Mary the once over and from that point on seemed intent on ignoring her completely leaving both Leslie and Mary to be quite uncomfortable. To add to the awkwardness the woman called her unmarried daughter down from upstairs to make coffee which she served to Leslie only and not to Mary.
IT CAME AS NO SURPRISE that the next day this female co-worker called Leslie and advised him that she felt “this marriage is not made in heaven.” Leslie became confused and called Mary from work to let her know what had happened. Mary simply asked for the woman’s phone number and gave her a call herself. She began by asking the woman why she had discerned that this was not a blessed union. The woman stated it was “spiritual insight”. Mary then asked her if she believed that there was such a thing as a marriage made in heaven. “Of course” was the reply. “I see,” said Mary.
NOW IT WAS TIME …
“Tell me dear lady,” said Mary, “when you became a Christian did you tell God you were perfect?”
“Of course not” said the minister. “Why would you ask me that?”
“Well I just wondered if you told God that you were perfect when you made a commitment to follow Christ and to become ordained, that’s all," Mary explained.
“Why would I do that,” the minister continued.
“Good point,” Mary responded. “You see Leslie and I have invited over 100 guests from as far away as Canada, California and Florida to come watch us make a formal public commitment to them and to GOD that we will work hard to make a GOOD marriage. We believe that marriage is not made in heaven but that it is made on earth, one day at a time, getting better and better each day, because 2 people work together to make it that way with God’s help.”
“Well if that’s the way you feel, okay,” the minister said quietly after a pause, “but I just don’t approve.”
“Isn’t that the real reason?” Mary asked. “We don’t need your approval. We have God’s approval.”
WE DID FIND A MINISTER, recommended by Mary’s father, who stated to us, “I feel the presence of God in this home” when he came to our apartment. He offered us good counsel and conferred with us about the upcoming wedding. On the day of the wedding, we really appreciated his being there as the guidance Gene Smith gave us has helped our marriage to last for 27 years so far.
FOR BETTER N BETTER…rich or poor, sick or healthy until we leave this physical realm…PRAISING THE CREATOR for those who believe in DOING GOD’S WILL ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN...and we will "but love thee better still after death..."
We will continue to pray for INTEGRATION AND INTERDEPENDENCE to triumph in the journey of seeking acceptance and love for families touched by blindness.