The Blind Side

“My heart is warm and glad this morning,” my friend Kim blogged on Tuesday. Truthfully, it wasn’t all that unusual, since Kim is a generally sunny person. But this week she was particularly moved. Backtracking: Kim writes a blog that I love to read, called “Great Things about Being Blind.” I’m her number-one fan.

Kim, a storyteller and disability trainer, lives in Ottawa and has been blind from birth. I’ve known her for years. On her blog, she talks about some of the most rewarding, fascinating or just plain funny experiences that her blindness has afforded her.

“I started the blog because I was concerned about the way blind people are perceived and portrayed,” she says. Read a few of her posts and I promise you’ll learn, and laugh. Maybe occasionally blubber a bit.

Often, even while you’re giggling, your eyes are opened. Read this story about two obnoxious ladies on the sidewalk (and Kim’s grace in an awkward situation), and you’ll see what I mean.

Sometimes Kim writes about her work, or media, or travel. There was that time an airline pilot, in full uniform, took Kim’s guide dog for a pee break during a flight stopover – earning some extremely startled looks on the tarmac. Sometimes Kim talks about her childhood: the letters from Santa that were written to her in Braille, the time she gazed romantically up at the moon, only to learn she’d been staring at a streetlight. The site is full of details about Kim’s job, about her guide dogs, about learning to ice skate, about how she identifies money or reads audio books.

For Kim, it’s an outlet. “Even on the day when my retired guide dog died, writing about it was so wonderful,” she recalls.

The thing about a blog is that anyone in the world can read it. “You never know what situation someone is in when they happen upon your words,” Kim says. “You don’t know who you will reach. You offer a gift, and someone takes from it what they take.”

This week, the woman who took Kim’s gift was a new mother across the Atlantic Ocean who had just learned that her baby is completely blind. She was distressed and despairing – until she found Kim’s blog and started reading. That’s when some of the anguish slipped away. She had found hope. And she emailed Kim to tell her so.

“I felt so touched,” Kim says. The new mom lives in England, but the two women have been exchanging emails all week. Even Kim’s own mom has been passing along encouraging messages.

Just imagine the impact that Kim’s funny, encouraging, personal stories have now made on a family three thousand miles away.

“We may never meet,” Kim says. “But I’m glad to know I made a difference for her at a rough time.

Kim smiling while her guide dog gives her kisses.

My beautiful friend Kim with her unquestionably devoted (if slightly slobbery) guide dog, Tulia.

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