As most of my friends know, several years back I lost a significant amount of my physical vision. Back in October of 2012 I had a swift onset of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertention, which ultimately claimed 85% of the vision in my right eye, and about 60% of the vision in my left eye. Leaving me with zero peripheral vision, a label of legally blind, unable to drive ever again, and a new perspective on life.
The first year after the diagnosis was hands down the hardest. Getting used to my new reality, understanding my limits without limiting myself, the learning to give myself a lot of grace in the process. There are still hard days (weeks, and months even). But what I have come to find is that not just my physical vision changed. I have found myself in a whole new place! Let me back up a little bit. Before my vision changed I was a full time working momma. I was struggling big time at life. My marriage was going through hard stuff. Work was grueling. I had a 3 year old who was absolutely the best gift I'd ever been given, and the most challenging obstacle I'd ever encountered up to that point. I felt like I was being pulled in a million different directions all at once, and was not doing any of the things well. I was good at my job, I loved working at the L'Oreal Bentonville office. My team was amazing, and lots of fun to be around. It was the first job in my whole career that I actually didn't dread going to work every day - because I enjoyed the people I was around. But I also felt like I wasn't giving my marriage, and my child nearly enough of me. And there were just no good options. I felt like I was just slogging it out.
Looking back I can see that God set me on that path in order to set me up for the next phase. Because of where I was, I was able to utilize amazing health insurance benefits that kept us from major financial ruin when my health catastrophe hit. It also meant that I was able to secure long term benefits once it was confirmed that my vision would never return. But these were just things to maintain care of myself and my family. God had/has bigger plans for what happened.
Over the years I have been amazingly blessed by the women that have come around me and offered love and support. Whether it be a ride to the grocery store (Hello Teena Taxi Ladies!), or friends that stop by to chat "just because". The body of Christ has really been there for me in ways that are just amazing. It has taken me a long time (and sometimes I still struggle) to get used to accepting help. But I have found that - if nothing else - it is an amazing way to start a relationship. Many of the ladies that I so lovingly call my Teena Taxi Ladies I had never met before they volunteered to drive me around. Now - I love them all dearly and call them all friend.
So for this introvert - it's been a good thing that I have to call on others, and ask for help. Because if I had simply been a stay at home mom when I felt like I wanted to be, my life would not be nearly as rich in relationships as it is now. It's so easy for us introverts to hole up and go about our day to day without ever popping our head out of our holes to see who or what could use our assistance. But now, I'm finding that the more I spend time around the ladies in my circles, the more enriched my days are. So even though I may be bent on my introvert ways, I recognize that it's not always healthy for me to stay there. So now I challenge myself as often as I can build the emotional energy to do so, to engage with others and live in community. Bring it all; the good, the bad, the ugly.