ravelling home from university, sitting on the train, I looked out the window as the train stopped at a station. On the opposite platform, I saw a man. He was walking towards the tracks, and for a moment, I thought he’d walk right onto them. My heart jumped at the sight, thinking he was mad. What on earth was he doing? Then, all of a sudden he felt the edge of the platform with the stick he held in his hand and he abruptly stopped.
The man was blind.
Sitting on that train at the opposite platform, my heart still racing, I thanked Allah for all of those blessings I take for granted. As I looked around the platform where the blind man stood, I noticed numerous people. In fact, there was a group of teenage boys right next to him. They were heedless of the situation that had just played itself out in front of my eyes. They were so consumed by their gadgets – earphones in, swagger on, and no sign of sight. It was then that I realized how blind we’ve become. We’ve become so consumed in the attempt to fill ourselves that we no longer recognize those times when others need us.
Seeing that blind man today really made me think. Who is it that’s really blind? The blind man recognized his place on the platform and he figured out when he should stop by using his cane. But what about all those standing by his side? Even with the capacity of vision, they remained blind to the assistance that was required of them. There was no concern, no movement, not even a worrisome glance towards the blind man. Those 30 seconds at that subway station may have opened my eyes to one of our greatest and most deeply rooted problem: we’ve become desensitized.
No problem in the world is greater than the discomfort of removing our earphones, taking our eyes off our phone, or taking a few steps because we feel utterly lazy. Those are our justifications, completely blind to everything and everyone but ourselves. And so I wondered what it is that I should do more of: be grateful for my ability to physically see or pray for vision that goes beyond just the physical dimension, somewhere far deeper, somewhere profound.
by Hirra Skeikh