One of my favorite lines from the movie, Top Gun (1986) was when Maverick was told in the final battle, “You can’t last out there alone.” It was true for the phenom Naval aviator played by Tom Cruz and its also true for us who navigate life’s contours blind. We need others to cover our six or, at times, hold our hand as we go through new and challenging experiences. That’s why so many independent living centers around the country and agencies like the Light House for the Blind offer organized times when people who are blind can talk….blindness.
No matter how capable you consider yourself, you face those opportunities or barriers where you need to adapt or cope. Maybe, you’re a first time guide handler, so you join a email list or Facebook group to talk dog care. Or you may have friends in your town who also have guide dogs, so you hang out at the local coffee shop or bar to swap adventure stories of crossing streets, meeting up for a date, or those embarrassing moments when your dog turns teenager on you and does something ornery.
In Fort Wayne and several other cities, various Christian congregations host outreach centers for the blind. During after their monthly meals, attendees often shoot the breeze and talk how our blindness affects how much we travel by bus, what choices we make in medical insurance plans, or excursions into the job market.
San Francisco’s Lighthouse for the Blind has a neat opportunity every couple weeks for sharing these coping stories called The Business Of Blindness. After all, being blind is a full-time gig in itself. So, as the coordinator says here, pour your coffee or other favorite beverage and join in the discussion. You can also sign up at this link to get further online and in-person updates from The LIghthouse. There are other cities with other affiliates that offer similar experiences.