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Prompted by Andrea Bocelli: Rather be Blind or Deaf?

The conversation arose because of an Andrea Bocelli DVD Mike and Melina bought me for Christmas. We stood in the kitchen where I had taken my computer, and together we watched and listened to this phenomenally talented man. I cried…because it was so beautiful. His voice, timing and nuance are remarkable; many say the best in the world. A handsome Italian man, as Andrea Bocelli sings, he usually has his eyes closed, and even when the camera closes in on his face and his eyes are open, it is obvious that his eyes are not focused. Andrea Bocelli is blind.

The son of Alessandro (died on April 30, 2000) and Edi Bocelli, Andrea Bocelli was born on September 22, 1958, in Lajatico, Tuscany, Italy, and grew up on the family farm. Having been born with congenital glaucoma, young Andrea had problems with his sight and became completely blind at age 12 after a soccer accident. Despite his misfortune, he showed a great talent for music and began taking piano lessons at age 6. He soon added the flute, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, guitar, harp, and drums to his list of musical abilities. Andrea also developed a love for opera at an early age and sang throughout his youth. By age 14, he had won his first song competition. He recalled, “I was one of those children who would always be asked to sing for my relatives. I don’t think one really decides to be a singer, other people decide it for you by their reactions.”

After completing his secondary education in 1980, Andrea attended the University of Pisa and later graduated as a Doctor of Law. He then worked as a court decreed lawyer for a year and used the money to pay for singing lessons with legendary tenor Franco Corelli. To make ends meet, he also performed evenings in piano bars and clubs.

Blind. And so began the talk among us: If we had to choose one, would we choose to be blind or to be deaf?

I’ve considered this question before, and talked about it more than once…and I always decide…I would rather be deaf than to be blind. I can’t imagine living in darkness, having difficulty finding my way, unable to drive a car, not able to hold a book and read, or type on my computer, then see the corresponding marks on its bright screen.

“Not I,” Michael said. “Think about it. If you were deaf, you could never hear music like this, never hear your loved ones’ voices…”

“True…” I granted. And I thought long about being denied the pleasure of beautiful music…and it was terrible to contemplate.

Awful discussion. There is no satisfactory answer, for we who are so fortunate as to possess normal hearing and sight find it difficult to imagine life if either of those important senses were to be taken from us.

And you? If you must choose, would you  lose your sight, or would it be your hearing? Which seems more important to you?

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Blinded, Looking for Mary

There is something in the heart of man that causes him to search for God, for the supernatural, for more than this physical world offers. Sadly, some are misguided, and suffer greatly for their false journeys. Such seems to be the case in this story, where, in India, following the reports of the image of the virgin Mary appearing, many have gazed directly into the sun, hoping for a glimpse. They are now blind.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: At least 50 people in Kottayam district have reportedly lost their vision after gazing at the sun looking for an image of Virgin Mary.

Though alarmed health authorities have installed a signboard to counter the rumour that a solar image of Virgin Mary appeared to the believers, curious onlookers, including foreign travellers, have been thronging the venue of the ‘miracle’.

St. Joseph’s ENT and Eye Hospital in Kanjirappally alone has recorded 48 cases of vision loss due to photochemical burns on the retina. “All our patients have similar history and symptoms. The damage is to the macula, the most sensitive part of retina. They have developed photochemical, not thermal, burns after continuously gazing at the sun,” Dr Annamma James Isaac, the hospital’s ophthalmologist, said.

The complete story is here. 

This is such a sad story of sincere people who are suffering extreme distress today.


My devotional blog is here. 

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Seeing Eye Dog? No, Seeing Eye Pony!

Guide horse, originally uploaded by DanDee Shots.

A couple of days ago on Flickr, I came across this picture and was astonished, having never before heard of guide-ponies. I researched the subject and found this very interesting material concerning the Guide Horse Foundation.

Our mission is to provide a safe, cost-effective and reliable mobility alternative for visually impaired people. The Guide Horse Foundation is committed to delivering Guide Horses at no cost to the blind, relying on un-paid volunteers and charitable donations to pay all travel and housing expenses for the blind handler’s on-site training.

The Guide Horse Foundation was founded in 1999 as an experimental program to access the abilities of miniature horses as assistance animals. There is a critical shortage of guide animals for the blind and guide horses are an appropriate assistance animal for thousands of visually impaired people in the USA.

In early experiments, Guide Horses have shown great promise as a mobility option, and people who have tried Guide Horses report that the Guide Horses perform exceptionally well at keeping their person safe. These friendly horses provide an experimental alternative mobility option for blind people. People who have tried Guide Horses report that the horses demonstrate excellent judgment and are not easily distracted by crowds and people.


There is more material here.

Guide Horse trainee meets Police horse in Times Square, NY

There are lots of pictures and more information in the link I provided. Please take a look.


My devotional blog is here.