The book, “I Wanted to See” was written by Borghild Dahl, a woman who was practically blind for half a century. “I had only one eye,” she writes, “and it was so covered with dense scars that I had to do all my seeing through one small opening in the left of the eye. I could see a book only by holding it up close to my face and by straining my one eye as hard as I could to the left.”
But she refused to be pitied, and refused to be considered “different.” As a child, she wanted to play hopscotch with other children, but she couldn’t see th markings. So after the other children had gone home, she got down on the ground and crawled along with her eyes near the marks. She memorized every bit of the ground where she and her friends played and soon became an expert at running games. She did her reading at home, holding a book of large print so lose to her eyes that her eyelashes brushed the pages. She earned two college degrees: an A.B. from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Arts from Columbia. University.
She went on to teach in the tiny village of Twin Valley, Minnesota, and rose until she became professor of journalism and literature at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She taught there for thirteen years, lecturing before women’s clubs and giving radio talks about books and authors.
Then in 1943, when she was fifty-two years old, a miracle happened: an operation at the famous Mayo Clinic. She could suddenly see forty times as well as she had ever been able to see before.
From that point forward a new and exciting world of loveliness opened before her. She found it thrilling to wash the dishes in the sink and play with the white fluffy suds in the dishpan. She held them up against the light, and in each of them she saw the brilliant colors of a miniature rainbow. She spent hours at the kitchen window watching the flapping of sparrow wings as they flew through thick, falling snow.
Most of us have full control of our five senses, but do we think of what life would be like without one of them? We’ve been given gifts that Borghild Dahl was denied of most of her life. Indeed, let’s count our blessings—not our troubles!
Photo credit: jannoon028