Blind Man Walking

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As I sat in the local coffee shop this morning, a blind man picked up his cup of coffee and was trying to find a place to sit. My table was closest, so I invited him to sit. His name was Richard.

We talked for a few minutes, and I learned that he has been going blind for about 20 years. He only has about 5 degrees of vision left, and what he can see is only faint shapes and figures. He walks everywhere, and he has a cane and a guide dog.

I asked him what it was like to transition from sighted to blind. He mentioned how this new reality redefines who a person is, or perhaps, it illuminates who a person truly isn’t. When you lose your sight, everything that used to define you becomes secondary to this overwhelming reality. Career changes. Independence changes. Relationships change. Companionship changes. Richard is involved in leading some support groups at the Braille Center. He helps men through this crisis of identity as they lose one life and work to discover their new world and how they fit within it. Many men find the transition extremely depressing.

Richard said something that really struck me. He said that you just have to go for it. You have to embrace becoming blind, hence, his use of a cane and dog before he is completely blind. He is ready for it.

He then told me these words, “A sighted man has to die in order for a blind man to be born.”

Although we were speaking of very different applications, we found a commonality in our philosophy. I shared with him that this is a passion of mine. As painful as it can be, we cannot become the new man until the old man is dead. It hurts to die. It is terrifying to let go of the safety of our current mode of operation. Yet, if we are to discover new life, we have to let the old self go. We have to recognize the great pretender within, the False Self, and put it off for good. It has to die, and with it, all the self-medication, all the way we “pose” our way through life and relationship with God, so we can finally be authentic with the One who knows us anyway, and loves us regardless.

What identity of yours has to die in order for your True Identity to be born?

 

2 thoughts on “Blind Man Walking

  1. Hey Brandon! you don’t beat around the bush, huh? I like that 🙂 My truth radar secretly likes getting put in a corner with no wiggle room. Here’s my short answer to an excellent question:
    The identity that needs to die in me is the one that believes lies. Lies about reality (what is seen is more real than what is not) Lies about trust (i can only really trust myself) Lies about truth (did God really say that?)Lies about love (the true source, nature and scope) and many other lies.
    I realized in Rwanda 3 years ago that many who considered themselves followers of Jesus actually had a false identity that trumped their real identity. It shook me to see the horrible consequences of that and realized that I have the potential for the same.
    There is so much paradox in our true identity that I truly think it is impossible to grasp apart from having the mind of Christ. At the same time we are in-dwelt with the Divine and we are also dust. We are heirs with Christ (Wow!)and also a “wretched man”. We have a tendency to think either/or and in God’s economy so much is both/and. Humbling and uplifting at the same time. Great post brother!

    • Brandon Elrod

      Hey J,
      Thank you for your thoughts! I completely agree with you, but I would take it a step further and say that ALL of us who trust in Jesus Christ have to, in the language of Eph 4:22-24, put off the old man and put on the new man. It appears that Christians have two misconceptions about this process: Either we think that we are a new man, instantly, upon salvation, or, we assume that it is a process of attrition. In other words, if we just keep showing up, clocking in, we will magically change without having to change anything about our perspectives, our agendas, our pursuits, our wounds, lies, vows, and our False Self.

      Your statement is telling: “At the same time we are in-dweld with the ivine and we are also dust. We are heirs with Christ and also a ‘wretched man.'”

      That truly is the sweet spot, isn’t it? When we yield ourselves, increasingly, to our Father. Our yielding is critical if we want to be filled, to have the nature of God Himself empowered within us. Otherwise, we just keep “achieving” for God, completely of our own genesis, our own inspiration, and our own empowerment.

      Thanks J!

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