© Copyright 2007 by Phil Scovell - All Rights Reserved
6 Snow Blind By Phil Scovell In mid November of 1964, my mother and I walked out of the Iowa University hospital. I was holding on to my mother's arm because I had just been told by my doctor that I was blind and would never see again. My retinas were shredded into thousands of tiny fragments and after a dozen surgical procedures, including the laser beam, the latest invention for retinal surgery, I was told nothing more could be done. "Is there any hope at all, doctor?" I heard my mother asking. "No," he said softly, "I'm afraid not." Now, as we walked into the windy November day, I could feel the warm sun on my face. When we got to the parking lot, I well remember the crunching of the gravel beneath my feet as we walked to the car. My mom placed my hand on the door handle. It was warm from the sun's rays. When I heard the click of the door being unlocked, I punched the button under the handle and climbed into the passenger's side of the car. I was blind but didn't know it yet. "It would be," I told myself, "just like all the other times. I'll go home and after a few days, my sight will come back. Oh, it won't be as good as it was," I knew, "but it will come back. It always came back. Always." Reaching Des Moines a couple of hours later, we stopped at some friend's home. They were having church friends over for supper. I sat on the couch and listened to my mom as she cried and told her friends what the doctor had said. I was numb. The words I heard my mother speaking didn't seem to effect me; as if she were talking about someone I didn't know. My sight would come back because it had every time after each operation. It would this time too. Making one other stop to see mom's best friend, we talked for awhile and then as we left, the lady gave me her dog. He was the father of Corkey, my fox terrier, who had run away after we moved to Omaha and we never saw again. I petted my new little dog as he lay on the seat next to me in his blanket all the way through the dark night to our new home in Omaha, Nebraska. I hadn't gone to the school for the blind yet. I remembered my mother talking to the doctor about putting me in a special school just for blind people but I wouldn't be doing anything like that because my sight would be coming back. It always did. Ruth and I begged mom to let us go out into the snow. "But it's dark out," she protested. "We don't care," my little 7 year old sister and I said; jumping up and down. "We want to go out and play in the snow. Besides, the street lights are on." "It's really cold out there," mom tried again. "So. We don't mind." We were so bundled up went leaving the house, we could hardly walk. It was cold, too, but soon we were sliding down the short hill to the snowy sidewalk below and holding on to the hand rail, we walked up the steps to achieve the hilltop again. Mom had called our neighbors and asked them to turn on their porch light so the area where we were playing would be illuminated and she could easily see us from a window. It wasn't long after my sister and I began sliding down the hill that two other little girls from our new neighborhood heard our laughter and came to investigate. They asked if they could slide down the hill with us and we said yes. For over an hour, we each took turns sliding down the steep hill. Sometimes, due to the deep snow and having gotten turned away sliding down the hillside, I couldn't find the hand railing and would ask for help. My little sister, Ruth, helped me find it several times and soon the two little girls, who had come to play, were helping me find the hand rail, too, thinking it was just part of the game, I'm sure. It was getting late and it had gotten much colder. We were covered with snow and it was in our boots, inside our gloves, under our hats, and down our necks. We were getting cold and tired. Sliding down the hill, I couldn't find the hand railing and asked where it was. One of the little girls took my gloved hand and guided it to the iron hand railing. "Why do you keep asking us to help you?" she asked innocently. Suddenly, I was cold; very cold. I was wet and tired and exhausted. I had only been home from the hospital for a few days. My sight wasn't slowly returning as it normally had after each of the other surgeries. A couple of days after coming home, I asked my mom for the book she had been reading to me as I lay on my back in the hospital. She gave it to me and I went to my room. Closing the door, I switched on a light and held the book in front of me. I couldn't see it. Holding it closer to my eyes, standing as close to the light as possible, I could tell the cover was red but I could see nothing else; absolutely nothing. I knew my sight would return, though, because it always did. During my last stay in the hospital, I had been made to lay on my back for two full weeks. They had placed rolls of sand bags on either side of my head, and they had covered both my eyes with thick patches. "Keep your eyes closed, Philip," the doctor said. "Try not to move and try to stay as flat as you can. We want your retinas to be at rest as much as possible so whatever you do, don't move your head." "But I hate laying on my back," I protested. "I understand but it is necessary," he said gently." After the surgery, it was another two weeks of laying on my back, sand bags rolled up on either side of my head to keep me from turning my head, and patches on my eyes. When the patches came off, all I could see was watery light. As I stood at the cold iron hand railing, I suddenly felt the cold of the night rushing in. It felt as if it had even penetrated my heart. Realization sparked to life and everything became suddenly very still. It was like the planet slowed to a stop and a huge spotlight was focused on me. "Because I'm blind," I blurted too loudly, and I burst into uncontrollable sobbing. My little sister, Ruth, realized why I was crying and took my arm. As we both stumbled down the snow covered sidewalk to our home, we sobbed. Something in my thoughts seemed to say, "And I'll never see again." Crashing through the front door, the warmth of the house nearly knocking us over, we cried even louder. "What's wrong? What's wrong?" our mother said; hurrying over to the front door to help us in. "Did somebody get hurt?" she wanted to know. My sister and I started immediately pulling wet snowy cold coats and clothes off. "It's Philip. It's Philip," my little sister stammered through her tears. "Philip?" mom said with alarm in her voice. "What happened?" "I'm blind," I sob nearly incoherently, "I'm blind, and I'll never see again." Seated on a plastic lawn chair on the edge of the long driveway, I listened as my two sighted 4 year old grandsons raced their tricycles back and forth; complete with their own made up guttural engine sounds. By the way, all three of my children see normally and all of their children see normally. So rest easy. Blind people don't always reproduce blind offspring. My wife, by the way, is blind, too, so there. It was a nice comfortable Colorado day. Seated just behind the 5 foot wooden privacy fence, I was shielded from the brightness of the sun as it slowly crawled westward across the big sky where it would soon drop behind the Rocky Mountains behind me. I was bored. There wasn't anything to do. My grandsons were having fun, though, and it felt good just sitting outside and listening to them play. A good 40 years had passed since my realization of blindness had occurred. I had been to that memory many times, even describing it in my autobiography, but now it didn't hurt or cause me pain as it did that day. Listening to the little boys racing around and laughing, I leaned back in my chair and began to pray. Much of my prayer time is in thought only. I learned a long time ago, prayer is in no way confined to kneeling, folding your hands, closing your eyes, and praying by starting, "Oh, God, and great Heavenly Father." Since being filled with the Spirit in 1982 and receiving the gift of tongues, I have also learned that speaking in tongues isn't the only way to pray. So, as my grandchildren played nearby, I thought in my mind to God. That's right. I allowed my thoughts to become exchanged with God's. Which, by the way, is my basic definition of prayer: Exchanging our thoughts for God's. Moments later, I wasn't getting anywhere. So I said, in my thoughts, "Ok, Lord. You know where I need healing. What are the three major areas you want me to focus on for healing." The response was immediate. God said, "Your blindness, sex, and money." "Woe, horse!" I nearly fell off my chair. I wasn't expecting anything along those lines but there it was; big as life. Finally, once I had recovered some of my composure, I said, "Ok, Lord, but I doubt I can get all three of those things cleared up in one day. So," I said, "let's take them one at a time." I suggested we start with the blindness because, frankly, I thought it was there that the least amount of healing would be required. After all, I reasoned, I was pretty familiar with most of my blindness problems. Yeah, sure, right. Leaning back in my chair, I asked the Holy Spirit to search my life and to bring to my attention anything relating to my blindness that needed healing. Bing. Bing. Bing. Three memories suddenly surfaced in my thoughts. I carefully looked at each of the three memories but really felt no pain or discomfort of any kind in any of the memories. I decided to take them one at a time and look them over very closely and pray about how I felt in each memory. The first memory I prayerfully examined is the one I have described in this testimony. This memory has returned to my thinking dozens and dozens of times over the 40 plus years I have been blind. It has never been particularly painful other than it was the moment in time I suddenly realized, with harsh reality, I was really blind and, as the doctor said, I recalled, I'll never see again. I told the Lord, in my thoughts as I prayed, that I didn't see anything wrong with this memory. Since the memory often returned, I knew there had to be something I was overlooking so I prayed and asked the Lord to show me. I went over each phase of the memory step by step. Yet, nothing was apparent. I even complained to the Lord. "Lord," I said, "I don't even feel any pain in this memory. So what is wrong with it?" He did not answer me that day. In fact, he did not answer me for many months. One evening, I was conducting a prayer session with someone. I was trying to explain to them the nature of healing through intercessory prayer. I used this very story to explain to them that I understood how they felt in the situation they were in at that moment. As I told the story, just as I told it here, the Lord said, "There's your lie." I almost stopped talking in mid sentence so I could think about it but decided to come back to it later so I could focus on the memory. After that prayer session that night, I sat in my office and reviewed this experience of coming face to face with my blindness as a 12 year old boy. When the little girl took my hand and placed it on the iron hand railing to the steps, she wanted to know why I was always asking for help to find it. When I blurted out, "Because I am blind," that is all that was spoken aloud. In my thoughts, however, whenever I told this story, I finished how I felt at that very moment. I did not just feel blind; I felt I would forever be blind. That's the implanted lie. Confessing my blindness, as painful as it was that first time, hurt a great deal but I never realized the rest of what was spoken, "And you will never see again," was not spoken by me. It was, in fact, as Jesus said, a lie. I rejoiced in the truth Jesus spoke. Now, about this time, many people are curious. "So what?" they say. "You are blind and you are never going to see again." Excuse me, but the first part is true and the second part, Jesus identified as a lie. I no longer, when telling this story, use the second phrase because my Lord clearly pointed out the second half of what I heard in my thoughts was a lie. In other words, if I didn't say it, and Jesus didn't say it, who did? You get only one guess. This immediately singles me out from the Christian crowd who no longer believes that Jesus does miracles today. That died out with the last apostle; whoever he was. Let me confuse the issue even further. To receive my physical sight, I don't need to be healed; I will need a recreative miracle. Why? Both my eyes, for now, are artificial. So, I don't need to be healed; I need a miracle. "Has Jesus ever performed a recreative miracle?" John Chapter 9 would appear to be just such a case. Of course there are many others such as the lepers he healed and especially Lazarus. You know, the dead man? Sort of difficult just to heal somebody who has been dead for a few days without having to recreate something in the process. Blood, comes to mind right off the bat. Some may choose to suggest Jesus was referring to His return and that is when I would receive my physical sight. If that's what the Lord meant, that is fine with me. However, during prayer times, the Lord has told me more than once things along these lines. Again, as I say, if He is referring to His return when all born again Christians will receive their perfect glorified bodies, that will be fine with me. You are welcome to think as you wish. I, on the other hand, know what Jesus was talking about and I am thankful He saw fit to heal me in one more place where lies were believed instead of God's Word.