I’m in pretty good health for a sixty-eight-year-old man who’ll turn sixty-nine in September. Although I have to take four or five different types of medicine just to keep my body in reasonably good working order, I’m probably not by myself on that.
I’ve had cataract surgery on both eyes, but I still have to wear glasses because of astigmatism. But at least my overall vision is better than it’s been in many years. So I’m not anticipating that I’ll ever go blind.
I’d hate to be without my hearing aids, no matter how unsatisfactory they are compared to “natural” hearing. But they are adequate, and I have no reason to anticipate going totally deaf, either.
So why have I chosen a topic like this one?
Perhaps you didn’t notice that I said I couldn’t anticipate going blind or becoming completely deaf. But I can’t say for sure that I won’t. And neither can you. Those things–like so many others in this earthly life–are beyond our control.
Comparing the loss of sight with the loss of hearing is almost like comparing apples and oranges, though. I take both of them for granted–probably equally for granted.
In a way, sight and hearing are two sides of the same coin. With my eyes I see my sweet wife, Kathleen. With my ears I hear her loving words. The same with our grown children and our grandchildren. How could someone easily choose between seeing the people he loves and being able to hear them?
It gets more complicated when I think about my normal activities.
Blindness wouldn’t hinder me from getting around at home once I got used to it, but while Kathleen is still young enough to have to work, I don’t know how I’d even make it to the nearby Sonic drive-in for my daily diet cherry limeade. Much less the various other places I need to go when Kathleen is normally not available.
I could learn to do my novel writing on a computer that’s designed for the blind, but it would take a whale of an adjustment to do things any differently from the way I’m accustomed to doing them now. And Personal Composer, the software I write my original songs down with, would be impossible to use without sight. Not even software that turned audible notes into notes on the page would be adequate.
If I were deaf, however, at least I could get around outside. But how would I communicate with the people I ran into? Even though deafness wouldn’t affect how I write, going to writers conferences and trying to interact with readers except electronically would be useless. Learning sign language at my age wouldn’t be impossible, but it would be a challenge I’d rather not face.
Writing songs and playing guitar around the house and at our church’s weekly nursing home ministry would be impossible without hearing. As would playing bass guitar on the praise team and singing in the church choir. Those are important ministries for me.
Oh, my! And those hundreds of CDs I could no longer listen to. And giving up the challenge of picking out new downloads each month from emusic.com.
Although we don’t watch TV now–we don’t even have rabbit ears on our TV set–we subscribe to Netflix and watch old TV shows. At least closed captioning would be available for some of those.
I suppose deafness would have advantages. Like not having to listen to all of that distracting noise in restaurants. Or the sound of other people’s loud car stereos. Or the grinding of the garbage truck doing its pre-dawn pickup at the Arby’s behind our home. Or any of a million other things I would gladly give up having to listen to.
I know I’m barely skimming the surface of how blindness and deafness would affect me. But if I’m forced to say that my writing is just slightly more important than my music, then blindness would be worse. Honestly, though, I’d hate to have to adjust to either problem.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Please leave a comment.
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“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.
If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website. Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.
My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.