A Radiant Glow
At 13 years of age, my parents and I visited an ophthalmologist.
As I sat in the examining chair, my face firmly on the chin rest
and pupils dilated, the doctor looked into my eyes, shining a bright
"She did inherit it," he said with coldness. "You need to be
prepared. There is no cure for this retinal disease."
My father carried the Retinitis Pigmentosa gene causing a
deterioration of the retina which, in most cases, results in
blindness. Although my brother's retinas seemed to be fine, I'd
inherited the gene.
Fifteen years after my initial diagnosis, my father began to
lose his eyesight and so did I. He was 55 years old, but I was only
28. In a matter of two years, we had both lost our sight completely.
I focused on the effects of my own darkness. My world crumbled
as the black curtain fell, destroying the dreams my husband and I had
for us and for our three little boys. But when I turned to God for
hope and strength, He responded by opening my eyes to a new
My father had given me not just the RP gene, but the example of
determination and tenacity as well.
We were all living in Bolivia in 1964 when he defied the
family's opposition to move to America. He and mom worked tirelessly
to satisfy the requirements imposed by the U.S. Immigration
Department to enter the country and establish residency.
Once in the states, he overcame humiliation, intense loneliness,
helplessness and uncertainty. He endured ridicule due to his lack of
fluency in English, but he pressed on. And he managed to gather
enough money for the basics -- rent a small apartment, buy modest
furniture from thrift stores and put a down payment on a car. Nine
months later, he sent airline tickets for my mom, my brother and me.
Decades later, as an American citizen, I look back at what he'd
shown me. He taught me the determination to move forward when facing
adversity. He set an example proving that humility is crucial to
success. He demonstrated the commitment to family and the importance
of setting priorities.
His journey taught me valuable lessons for my own path in the
darkness. Much like a baby takes its first steps holding tight to
his father's hand, my dad held onto God as he stepped from the
comfort of our hometown in Bolivia to the unknown in a foreign land.
I did the same as I stepped into the unfamiliarity of a
sightless world. Holding onto God's hand, I gained confidence and
learned the language of gratitude. With profound appreciation for my
father's example, I learned how he had applied a powerful blend of
faith and tenacity -- the same blend I used to fulfill my own role as
a wife, mom, Sunday school teacher, Spanish court interpreter,
inspirational speaker and writer.
What I inherited from my father helped me to see my life with a
more radiant and meaningful glow.
~ Janet Perez Eckles ~
<jeckles at cfl.rr.com>
Janet Perez Eckles is a conference speaker, free lance writer, contributor to ten books including
the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and Guidepost books. She authored the inspirational book,
TRIALS OF TODAY, TREASURES FOR TOMORROW—Overcoming Adversities in life. Janet imparts nuggets
of inspiration at: www.janetperezeckles.com
Please take a minute to let Janet know what you think of her story:
Janet Perez Eckles
[ by Janet Perez Eckles
Copyright © 2009, ( jeckles at cfl.rr.com ) -- submitted by: Janet Perez Eckles ]
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