© Copyright 2007 by Phil Scovell - All Rights Reserved
9 Body Block By Phil Scovell I lost my sight at 11 years of age. Just before turning 16 years old, I left the school for the blind, where I had been a student for the last three years, and enrolled in a public high school in my neighborhood. I was going to take my junior and senior years of high school in this public school. The public high school I would be attending had been built for 1500 pupils. They had 2600 students enrolled and I was the only blind person. This was a new experimental program they were trying back in the late sixties with blind students. If it worked, they planned on putting blind students back into public schools all over the country. Now this type of integration is common nationwide. I have to admit, being in a school for the blind is a safe, environment. Every student is like you and every teacher is especially trained to work with the blind. In fact, at the school for the blind, we only had one blind teacher; all the others were sighted. Once I adjusted to life at the school for the blind, I found it secure and shielding from the outside world. I went home most weekends and felt happy. My experiences back in public school weren't so pleasant. In fact, they were right down frightening at times. Although you can read about my story in more detail in my autobiography written in ebook form on my website, I want to tell you about one particular incident which occurred in the public high school that has always caused me more than just embarrassment, but very deep pain. Since the 3-story high school building covered a 4 block square, sometimes classes were literally a block away. I had been given permission to leave class a couple of minutes early so I could hurry to my next class. Sometimes I practically had to run to get to the next class in time. If caught when classes changed, the halls immediately were almost impassable. Making progress as a blind person in a sea of shoving pushing bodies was greatly impeded. I checked my Braille watch and realized it was time for me to go. All of the chairs in this classroom had been made into rows on the opposite side of the room from the entrance. Thus, my front row seat was half a room away from the door. I had only been in classes a couple of days so was very nervous and not 100 percent certain of where everything was. Getting to my feet, I picked up my white cane laying by my feet. Gathering up my briefcase that carried my small tape recorder and Braille writing equipment, I walked to where I thought the door was. My cane touched, what sounded like, the bottom of the swinging door. Placing my right shoulder against the door, I pushed. It didn't move. I thought I was too far to the right so I took a couple of steps to the left. Again finding what I thought was the door, I leaned into it, but it didn't move either. I stopped, wondering what to do when the teacher, a very nice lady, walked over and explained how I had missed the door. As I followed her instructions and found the door, I heard two girls who had been seated behind me in class, laughing and snickering at what they had just seen. The door swung wide as I pressed my shoulder against it and I was out in the hallway heading quickly for my next class, which by the way, was even more difficult to locate. The stinging feeling of the girl's laughter burned inside like a poisonous snake. No, I didn't cry but I sure felt like something was crying inside and I didn't know what it was. I wanted to quit right then and there but shoved it violently aside and pushed on. Over the years, this memory has returned, without warning, in my thinking hundreds of times. I'm a trained blind professional, sort of speak, after more than 40 years of being totally blind, but let me explain. Through all of my rehabilitation training as a blind person, I was taught how to control these feelings by psychological molded responses such as, "You can do anything a sighted person can do. You are just as good as they are and even better, too. You can't let things people say and do get you down," and on and on it went. If what I was taught, and trained to think, was so true, why was this memory, over literally decades, so painful? This memory, in fact, was painful and so much so, that whenever it came to mind, and always without warning, I not only felt the pain but I often literally groaned inside softly due to the heaviness of the embarrassment I felt. I know that meant the memory had to be fixed by the Lord or it would never feel any different. I stopped what I was doing on the computer at that moment and focused on the memory event. I saw myself, the teacher, and the laughing giggling girls making fun of the new blind kid in school. I felt the pain; hard, sharp, and penetrating. It hurt. I was blind! I had done nothing wrong, except being blind of course, and that I had no control over. Suddenly, I saw Jesus standing in the room of my memory event. I rarely see Jesus in this fashion. People with whom I pray, see him all the time, but not me. I watched. I wondered. "Jesus, what are you doing here?" I saw Him walking toward me as I stood near the door. He stopped. I wondered what was going on and then I saw it and smiled. Jesus had walked between me and the two laughing girls. He body blocked their laughter and it wasn't reaching me at the door any longer. No words were spoken but I just as surely received the message loud and clear. I was free. This painful embarrassing memory of blindness, as harmless as it was, no longer could hurt me because Jesus stood between me and my offenders. Now, how about you. Where does Jesus stand in your life? You may, or may not, be blind but you hurt in places. Probably in places that hurt so badly, you even groan when those memories return unexpectedly. I know how to pray with people but, fortunately, Jesus does the healing. If you need help, please call me.