by Jacinta Tevaga Vito
How do you begin to walk with God when life becomes a burden too hard to conquer and nothing in life is worth living for?
I was diagnosed with a rare eye condition at the age of 16. The familiar surroundings of this world no longer existed in my life. Darkness had already come upon me. My father passed away when I was about s
even years old — I became very depressed. Although I had a good upbringing and moral values, even in faith I lacked all these beliefs.
I felt obstructed, severely inflamed with misery. Spiritually, emotionally and mentally blinded. My father’s death has affected me so strongly.
I was his favourite girl and losing him became a way for me to lose touch with God and all reality of life. I felt like my life had ended then and there. Nothing had prepared me for what was ahead. In 1998 I was still attending high school and I started noticing a change in my vision. Still it had never occurred to me that something was seriously wrong.
By the end of 1998 I had lost 80 % of my sight. Although medication and drops were to reduce inflammation in my eyes, it was incurable. I then started hoping for a miracle.
I became more depressed. I started isolating myself from the world.
As life continued, so did my depression. I guess through all these years I tried to comprehend, and at times over-analysed, my situation, having self-pity. I was left with emptiness. In my darkness my thoughts of God faded as in disbelief, disregarding hope, faith and the support and sympathy of my family.
I became selfish in my needs. I conjured images of a perfect world — of what life should have been for me. I rejected advice and words of comfort from loved ones who had tried to ease my pain.
Nothing helped, everything I planned for the future was now a calamity, a catastrophe, a disaster that in my mind I deserved, unworthy of privileges because I had deserted God in the first place.
For so many years I blamed myself. I came to a realisation that nothing was going to change. As a modest and shy person this did not help. I was also filled with pride.
Asking for help was not relevant, nor could ever be an option for so many years. My dark thoughts of death and suicide rotated in my mind every day.
There were times I acted out my thoughts. The fear of living life in darkness made me more anxious.
I started having anxiety attacks. Not knowing what these emotional breakdowns were, I thought I was having heart attacks. I was startled and confused.
I was petrified at the thought of being dead, yet I wanted to die. The feeling of being blind caused confusion and anger. Being this way was considered to be a death sentence.
Losing my sight was a heartache that seemed unreachable for God to mend. My pain increased to a never-ending rivers of tears. My heart felt like it had broken into millions of pieces and was impossible to mend.
Devastation and disappointment that I could not see, it was literally the end of everything.
It has been 21 years since the passing of my father, and 12 years that I have been visually impaired. What has happened to me now?
Life has been a continuous journey and I am still learning about myself. It has been a rocky road since then. The transformation of my life started a few years back.
I had started to attend church regularly — I began to be enlightened by the Word of God.
At this time I had gone through some personal problems, however they did not stop me this time. In my deepest prayers I cried out to God that I have had enough.
I was getting tired, weak — I needed help. I became stronger in faith and at last I started to envision hope in my life.
The voice inside me became stronger each day, so I decided to do something about it.
One day I woke up with the urge to see my family doctor. I don’t know how this came about, but I guess only God knows. It was the beginning of an incredible, life-changing experience. I had always had ideas about how, being this helpless, that even doctors cannot understand, but I guess I contradicted myself.
My GP diagnosed me, in the terms used by medical experts, as clinically depressed and also, as a child, having suffered from post-mortem depression. Even though the word depression sounds so cynical in one’s mind, I was actually relieved. A weight was lifted off my shoulders. I finally knew what I had been facing those 20 years.
The overwhelming support I had from family, doctor, therapist and spiritual advice from my local priests was for sure the answer to my prayers.
I was surprised and amazed at the outpouring of support from people who I didn’t even know me and organisations that are available out there for me to use whenever I needed help. I no longer felt alone.
God’s guidance had led me to an astonishing reconstruction of my spiritual being. The people who I have encountered through this process have changed my life in a positive way.
The progress of becoming who I am took effort and help from families, and all those who had lent their service for me, enabling me to unlock barriers in my mind and open the door to opportunities that I was so oblivious to.
Through this I found confidence and courage to take on life in an assertive way.
What I have learnt through these struggles was that we need other human beings around us for comfort and strength in order to grow to always have a connection with humanity.
My passion now in life is to give back to life all the blessings and life experiences that I have, to assist or to inspire anyone out there to have hope and faith in themselves and in God.
In my situation it took years for me to realise the unconditional love of God. Was I meant to recognise this now?
However God had planned my path in this world, it had the meaning of a God-purpose in this life. We pray for our needs to be accommodated in the hope of immediate answers.
Despite our ignorance of how God has already acknowledged our requisites, we have the tendency to give up so easily.
I now thank God
Do your plans include God? Talking to him and asking him for counsel and advice have become a regular meditation that is vital for me now. I have grown to an acknowledgement of my own character, personality and strength.
My life is not perfect, I still go through normal stresses of life, but I thank God every day for the outpouring of peace that I have now. I have found a great gratitude for all that I am blessed with. Despite my sight lost, I can safely say I am fine just the way I am.
Never in my life would I have thought to encounter God in the dark.
It has been a journey of trials and triumphs. If I had never lost my sight, I may have never have the privileges I have now.
This article is dedicated to the one woman God has given me for a purpose to live and the strength and prayers she endlessly gives each day for me. The most beautiful gift God has ever given me, my mother. Thank you mum, for your unconditional love and prayers over the years of my life — and also the rest of my siblings.
“God is truly good all the time, and all the time God is truly good.”