Visual Acuity

By Toni Fammartino

She smiled as I greeted her, and our eyes met. Hers, ablaze with light and joy, connected deeply with mine.

In that moment, time stood still.

I felt as if I could see her soul, the purest presence of God within.

An unexpected outpouring of tears arrived, expressing feelings from the depths of my heart as I so fully received her loving gaze.

We hugged, filled with warmth and affection. No words were necessary.

Her name was Erica; her mother brought her to our Medical Ministry International eye project in Leticia, Colombia. She was 22, and mentally and physically handicapped since age 7, after an illness robbed her of her previous faculties.

Her command of language had been gradually improving during recent years. She squealed with delight when I gave her a doll, and excitedly announced, “Barbie!” as she hugged her newfound friend.

I waited with her while her mother left to get new glasses in another area of the clinic. We named favorite foods, parts of our bodies, and colors. She thought it was hilarious that Barbie was not wearing underwear; we laughed heartily more than a few times about that.

And we never tired of hugging.

Initially, my heart ached to think of what Erica must have been like in her early years. As I continued to experience her fresh and pure innocence, I soon realized that hers is a life of contentment.

Her outlook is cheerful, and her joy infectious.

Erica’s eyes were fine. Unfortunately, there was no way for us to help her with her other problems.

I think of her, happily going about the day, oblivious to any worries or “what-ifs”. Such a clear and unfettered view of life is a true gift.

This brief encounter with this beautiful child of God stirred my emotions; it took a long while to refocus on the work at hand. I thanked God for this divine appointment.

He strung my heart together with Erica’s for a brief, intense, unforgettable moment. She is part of me now.

I felt God within her, His love flowing, effervescent.

My hope is that I will continue to recognize Him, in everyday encounters. Perhaps, all that is needed for this to happen is improved vision…

God…in constant focus.

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’ ~Genesis16:13

Read more from Toni on her blog: BeWARM

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