Written by Tom Deighan, LPS Superintendent
By the time the elderly woman motions them into the Valentine’s marriage counselor’s office, they are both a nervous wreck. The therapist is old and blind, and without any conversation, he tells them a story. “Once upon a time, a baby girl and a baby boy were born. One was born blind and the other was born deaf. They both grew up very happy, surrounded by loving families, and as fate would have it, the two of them fell in love and eventually married.” The old man then smiles as the receptionist enters the room, every bit as frail as the old man and every bit as deaf as he is blind. “We have come to believe that every marriage contains one person born blind and one person born deaf.” The young couple smiles with understanding. “But please know,” he says, “that story is not about us. It is about you.” The husband and wife look puzzled, and the old man chuckles as he imagines their shock.
“My husband is blind, and I am deaf,” adds the old woman. “I have never heard the birds sing, except through him, and he alone convinces me of the brilliance in the lightning that my eyes cannot perceive.” The young couple relaxes. “He introduced me to beauty I never can know, and that is why we fell in love, because we never doubted each other’s truth, no matter how impossible it seemed. Nevertheless, as the excitement faded and the years added up, our inability to comprehend each other’s world separated us.”
“If you want to know frustration, try to describe a red bird to a blind man!” He interrupted, smiling. “But as ridiculous as it sounds, I had to accept that she would never hear my cries, and she had to accept that I would never see the anguish in her eyes. Likewise, you now suffer in silence and darkness because you are demanding impossible things of the person you love most.” The old man patted his wife’s hand. “What if she refused my adoration because I have never seen her face, or I rejected her love because she never hears me say I love you?”
“We have become each other’s eyes and ears, accepting each other version of things we cannot possibly comprehend. I don’t know what it is like to hear, and he does not know the gift of sight,” the old lady says, “but that is no different than your inability to be a man or a woman. Trust me, you are not falling out of love, you have just fallen so deeply in love that you are ashamed to discover your own inability to love each other enough.” She paused for that to sink in. “You will never fully understand each other or meet each other’s needs, and that is the greatest hurt of all when you love someone as much as you do. Yet as you again trust the colors he hears and he accepts the music you see, your journey will be more magical than you ever imagined.”
And as oddly as the Valentine’s marriage counseling session starts, it ends. Only couples who cannot see or hear each other can participate, and it only happens on Valentine’s Day. As the couple departs, they remind them that the blind cannot lead the blind . . . but the blind and deaf can lead each other. Every marriage and friendship and relationship in history has proven it, because at some point, we all have to trust someone else with those things we cannot see or hear. Happy Valentines, and please pray for the safety of our schools this second Sunday of the month!