I admired her from a distance as she walked into church with her guide dog, Fiesta. Julie was so joyful, wearing a big smile. Several excited children ran up to her, wanting to pet her beautiful Labrador Retriever guide dog. Julie let them pet Fiesta. Julie was confident, comfortable, effervescent.
It has been only a few months since I had joined our church. They said I could show up on Wednesday nights to sing in the choir. Although not formally trained, I love making a joyful noise and singing those beautiful words of hymns, as well as praise and worship songs. I showed up to choir practice a few Wednesday nights ago and loved every minute.
This past week in choir was life-changing. Julie walked into the choir room with Fiesta and sat beside me on my left. Fiesta sweetly and obediently laid down on her left. And then I saw it.
As we opened our songbook binders, Julie opened hers. A lump formed in my throat. Braille sheets, printed out on card stock paper and perfectly three-hole-punched, filled her binder.
The musical accompaniment started for our first song. I watched closely as her hand gently started at the top left and followed every word and note. She sang beautifully, joyfully, confidently, not missing a beat.
Tears welled up in my eyes. I immediately thought of the Philippians passage:
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” –Philippians 4:12a-13.
After we practiced in the choir room and were about to process into the sanctuary choir loft, Julie asked if she could hold my left elbow as we walked. What a gift to me. I looked down and Fiesta patiently walked to the left of her master.
As we walked down the hall to the church sanctuary she told me of meeting her husband in college, who is also blind. I watched her face radiate as she described her family.
Both their precious sons are sighted. The two boys had joined us in the choir room, the children’s choir practicing one beautiful song with the adult choir.
I found out Julie is also a top seller of Mary Kay cosmetics. She even walks her sons to Taekwondo in downtown Matthews. Is there nothing this girl can’t do?
Julie, Fiesta, and I made our way up the two steps into the choir loft. We stood together to sing. We sang the hymn with passion, feeling the presence of the Lord in a way I can’t describe.
She had told me she would dismiss herself after the first hymn to go to her Sunday School class. She graciously declined needing my assistance. Julie is a woman on a mission.
Helen Keller once said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”
Julie has more vision than most sighted people I know. She is content in her circumstances.
She is such an inspiration and true ambassador for Christ.
It is an honor to sing off the same song sheet with Julie. Thank you, Julie, for bringing more vision and clarity in my life. I pray to be more like Julie, my sweet new friend and sister in Christ.
Who is the Julie in your life? How can you be more liker her? Please comment.
Would you say you are content in your circumstances like Julie? Why or why not?
“One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” –John 9:25b
“Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.'”–John 9:39.
High King of heaven, my victory won,
may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all. —Be Thou My Vision (4th verse