Mark 10: 46-52 tells the story of Bartimaeus, the blind man who asked Jesus to be healed as he was leaving Jericho. I recently re-read this, and it startled me to truly think about how being blind presents so many struggles.
I have a dear friend, Sue, a doctor and teacher of the visually impaired, who simply states, “It is all about access. Blind people need someone to go with them to do what sighted people never think about. Just this year, a blind and deaf Olympic swimmer was unable to compete because she was denied access to help from a sighted person. With no access, the visually impaired live a limited life.”
Woah. A limited life. It seems overwhelming to me.
You can’t go to the store.
You can’t cook for your family.
You can’t care for your loved ones as you used to.
You feel useless in your home.
You can’t go work at your normal job.
You are confined to your house.
You can’t assist in the economics of your family.
You lose purpose.
You can’t sort the beans, or get the eggs, or sweep the floor, or get on a bus to go sell your tree’s fruit, or participate in school events, or hold the grandbaby, or make a cup of coffee for a loved one.
As a visual artist, a photographer, and painter, it breaks my heart each time I see an older person just sitting, excluded from being a part of their family’s daily rhythm.
Feeling like they have more to give, but they can’t.
Bartimaeus asked for mercy. Mercy is a simple act of compassion. Sharing in someone’s suffering and, if you have the power, helping. Blessing the other with no thought of recompense. Jesus healed him because HE wants us to be a part of HIS plans. To be useful. To help each other and serve each other and simply enjoy the daily act of living and loving others. To live fully. Jesus wanted Bartimaeus to not just SEE but to LIVE.
A group of doctors decided that their purpose was to do this exact same thing here in Nicaragua. To have mercy and bless. We teamed up, and Amigos for Christ and Chosen Eye Mission have built a state-of-the-art surgical ophthalmic center.
Here. In Chinandega. A place that has no access. Two brave doctors will soon move to Chinandega with their 1-year-old twins to live and work alongside Nicaraguans. They will start with cataract surgeries and move towards retinal repairs. The eye clinic will be the only place in the region that is capable of performing these operations. Free. For anyone.
The blind will one day see.
I am amazed at the way God plants the desire to find our purpose and live fully in our hearts. If we can just turn away from the interior mirror and look outward. If we can just look at the reality and capability of our own hands. What can these do today, here, now, to bless someone?
For me, it is a meal cooked for those I love. For these brave and generous surgeons, it’s a commitment to provide their skill to bring sight. For Amigos for Christ, it has always been and will always be to serve to make Christ more visible.
Visible. Seen. Known.
With this partnership, we are blessed that we can now do this even more.