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A Five Part Lenten Reflection
Part 1: Sightless In The House
By Dick Donnenwirth

As my feet left the grass and began to shuffle along the stone path, I sensed I was nearing the house. It was simply a feeling--for, you see, I am one of the many who have eyes but do not see and who have ears but do not hear.

Mounting the few steps with the help of the firm handrail, I found myself in the presence of something very definitely personal. Stepping inside I felt myself to be a stranger and yet warmly welcome and familiar. Not being able to see, I began to explore with my hands. Soon I learned the house was a different sort of building with only three primary walls. 
The first wall responded to the touch with the sensation of rock. As my fingertips ran over the strong, hard surface, the feeling of strength and security came upon me. It was much the same as the child's feeling in the mother's lap or the father's arms. The transcendent power of the first wall gave way to the structured strength of the second. This was surely build of brick, row upon row. It suddenly occurred to me that my life is like this. Personal experiences are piled one upon the other and the whole is only as strong as the mortar binding the separate experiences together in a meaningful pattern. The bricks were rough to the touch. It seemed as though through the raw and distant force of the first wall had been rough-hewn into daily-life in the second. The third wall was found to be of wood. The fine graining running along beneath my fingertips awakened a sensitivity in me--a sensitivity of the spirit at once both keep and deep. And then came the window. The glass felt cool to the touch; and in my mind's eye I pictured breeze-blown trees, a warm sun, an expanding world and hope. I was made aware that hope lay outside of this place. 

Stooping to gain greater knowledge of the floor, I felt smaller and the room seemed strangely in size. Stretching to grasp the ceiling, I found it beyond reach except where it joined the three walls. 

A table in the room called attention to itself as I stumbled against it. Groping over the surface, I encountered bread and drink. Being hungry and thirsty, I was somewhat surprised to find a crumb and a sip were most filling.

It was then I heard the voice I had been unable to hear before. I was being called out of this place. Upon leaving, I discovered sights and sounds before unknown. It was as though scales had dropped from my eyes. I knew myself as human and personal. What was even more thrilling was to be able to "behold" other persons.

(March 1965)





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