It was a long time before I knew my blindness, that special blindness that made me think I was invisible. I didn’t know anyone could see me or cared what I did. Especially not Him.
When I knew my blindness, I feared it. It was not the blindness of human kind–a blindness that knew itself and used caution–but the blindness of a lamb constantly losing itself.
The lamb knew where she wanted to go: the top of the mountain. She was confident in her path, that she could find the true way when the other sheep had failed. She looked for the steepest paths, for that’s the quickest way, and she was big enough and strong enough for anything.
She tried to leave her Shepherd behind. He had the sheep to care for. Couldn’t He see she was fine?
He called out to her, “Little lamb, your eyes are infected. Let me help you!” But she didn’t hear. Perhaps she was deaf, too.
The Shepherd was patience itself. He came faster than was safe, to stay near to her. He allowed her her own path, although little progress was made. He caught her many, many times when the dirt and gravel slid out from under her.
She didn’t notice, thinking she had caught herself or that a tree branch had broken her fall. She struggled out of his arms and continued on her way, her way that was not His. And still He followed.
But then came the terrible moment when the lamb ran so far ahead, the Shepherd let her go. She had to learn her blindness, and this was a safe place. She rejected His help, and He let her go.
Lost, lost, lost, indeed! How the lamb struggled to do things that were once so easy. She realized, now, that all the powers, which she had thought were hers, had truly been gifts from the Shepherd. Now she knew that the ways she chose were full of brambles–which He had always removed–and ditches–which He had always bridged for her. What she had thought was up had made very little progress. Or perhaps it was not up at all.
Eventually, there was a plain, a great flat expanse that gave her no direction at all. She stood in what seemed the middle of it, unable to tell where her hope lay. She collapsed into the cold grass of the field. She tried to call out, but she could only voice the faintest bleating. Then she was silent, without hope.
A long time she lay, almost unable to breathe. Fear was all around her. But then she heard His voice.
How she wanted to leap up and run to Him! But she no longer trusted herself. She let out a sob.
He found her. He took her up and comforted her. All she could do was bleat the more and more, as if sorrow only truly came when His ears could hear it.
“Little lamb,” He said, “do you understand now what blindness is?”
She wept and wept and pressed herself into Him. He said nothing more. In His arms, she rose surely up the Mountain. She could not tell, but knew that His way was the true Up.
They came to a place that was warm and dry, and He washed her eyes. Tears and His care did something wonderful to them. Soon she was asleep.
The next day, it seemed she was cured. But now she keeps close to Him on the journey. She comes neither too far ahead nor far behind. And still, there are so many patches of darkness, times of blindness.
Although they are frightening, the lamb loves those times. Darkness, fear, pain, all make her fall, like the little lamb she is. She stays still, tucked into herself, as small as she can. For she knows what she is and Who has care of her.
Sometimes the Shepherd comes Himself to reclaim her. Sometimes, it is His mother who takes her up. Either way, it is those times of darkness when she trusts the most, and it is those times of darkness when the greatest heights are traveled in the arms of one she loves.