The loss of my eyesight and what I turned out to be today is a clear evidence of how powerful forgiveness can be. Car crash. Frontal collision, I was 3 years old. An uncontrolled Ford Maverick hit Dad's fragile VW Bettle '81. Bloody mayhem. No one used seat belts at that time. The Maverick's driver – not so surprisingly – didn't get hurt. Mom and Dad, however, literally broke the front windshield with their bodies. Mom was 3 months pregnant. She lost the baby. Dad had his face severely wounded and lost a lot of blood, though he still managed to remain conscious. I was thrown to the car floor during the collision, preventing me from getting multiple injuries. Still, my left eye got sharply hit by a cracked piece of glass from the front windshield. Precise as a scalpel. No one knew, until we arrived at the ER...
Around 40 days and numerous surgeries later, my eye structure was miraculously preserved. Its sight, however, was gone forever.
Days after the accident, Dad was prompted to press charges against the reckless driver who hit our car. The man did not have a driver's license and, in fact, didn't even know how to drive. Dad, however, courageously decided to forgive him, to let him go. No charges were pressed. No money was charged. Both Dad and Mom settled on keeping no bitterness, no sense of revenge in their heart. They truly committed to it, for good. Even as a little child, I sensed their bold attitude deeply within me. As a result, almost instantaneously, I also let go of the guy who took my eyesight away. By letting him go, I unknowingly let myself go of a terrible burden. At that moment, my future was untied from being negatively affected by that particular event. I was free to be whatever I wanted without having to carry any stigma.
Carl Jung said once that we are not what happened to us, we are what we choose to be.
Forgiveness is unintuitive. It requires a conscious choice against our primitive nature that always seeks for justice and revenge. Nature wants to leave an open wound until things are made right. Until the bill is paid. It can leave you hurting for the rest of your life. Forgiveness does the opposite. It chooses to make things right in advance. It chooses to pay the bill upfront. By doing that, it cleanses the open wound, closes it and even though it leaves scars – like the one in my eye – it truly heals.
Forgiveness has also an incredible sense of humor. My job title today? Visual Designer.
In more practical terms:
- My visual cortex adapted rapidly to use only my right eye;
- I never had to use prescription glasses;
- I do have to wear sunglasses during the day, as my eye pupil adjusted to capture more light than it would if I had binocular eyesight;
- I lack a bit of peripheral sight on the left side. It's great for playing disappearance tricks on me;
- My eye is in "focus mode" the entire time. I don't need to close one of my eyes to focus through a camera viewfinder, aim at a target, or anything similar. It's quite handy for design;
- Small children always stare at me, both puzzled and amazed. I wish adults did the same thing;
- Well, some of them actually did, I even got married to an outstanding beautiful woman;
- I can wear a pirate eyepatch like no other.
I lost my sight, but I haven't lost my vision. Only forgiveness could ever give me that.