Unmistakable Beauty

Early in 2008, I found myself in a local recording studio, working on my first full-length CD. One by one, I played the piano parts for each song and everything was laid down on the computer so I could later come in and finish things up with my vocals. I can remember stopping a few times here and there to start a song over again. I would mess up on a chord here or there, and it would throw off my rhythm or focus. At one point, I began to play “When the Angels Sing,” and something remarkable happened.
I had only played the first few measures when my finger slipped and I played a strange, dissonant note to off-set the chord I had played. At first, I grimaced at the sound, but I kept playing. For some reason, I wasn’t willing to stop the recording after only a few minutes of play. I had paid good money for studio time, and I couldn’t waste minutes on endless corrections. By the time the song drew to a close, I had practically forgotten about the mistaken note in the introduction… until the recording engineer played it back to me.
“Do you think I should fix that?” I asked in reference to the mistake.
“Fix what?” the engineer asked. “I didn’t hear a mistake?”
“But the chord, the wrong note…” I said hurriedly. “It sounds bad.”
“No way,” he responded. “It sounded natural to me… like it was written and supposed to be played that way.”
I thought about what he said for few moments and then shrugged it off. “Okay,” I said. “Let’s keep it that way. It’s kind of growing on me.”
So weeks later, when it came time to finalizing the CD, the track stayed that way, mistakes and all. In fact, when I play it live now, I don’t even remember how I originally wrote the introduction to that song. The mistaken chording is now the “right” way to begin the song.
These circumstances came back to me as I finished up a Bible Study a few weeks ago. We had spent a few moments talking about the mistakes in our lives or one element that we would like to see changed if we had the opportunity to do so. Someone asked me point- blank if I would change the fact that I was blind. Tears filled my eyes instantly at this question. “No,” I said quickly. “I would not wish away my blindness. And here’s why.”
I proceeded to share about the opportunities that have come my way simply because I have a disability. True, I have faced many challenges, but the blessings of my blindness have carried the greater purpose and promise. Some might see my blindness as a flaw, a birth defect that occurred because something went wrong in the womb. Oftentimes, I am reminded that my blindness is not beautiful. My eyes are misshapen and underdeveloped, and I need a prosthetic to cover up a less-than-perfect cosmetic reality. I am imperfect in physical appearance, and my blindness has definitely cast a shadow over my life.
But as I said before, my blindness has been a blessing too; in fact, I might even call it a beautiful blessing. For like my song, imperfections can be turned into something beautiful. Through my blindness, I have built relationships with fellow individuals with disabilities and mentored teenagers who face a reality of challenges. I would like to think that out of my imperfect experience, I have brought some hope and community in the midst of struggle. I have also been pushed into living independently and building a life for myself. Blindness has taught me to lean on God for what I need and trust the path He has laid out for me even as I struggle to navigate life with a disability. And finally, my blindness has made me a more well-rounded musician. It is practically a necessity to memorize all of my music due to the fact I can’t see sheet music. It has been a stressful process with a lot of forgotten lyrics and fumbled chords, but it has been worth every nerve-wracking Sunday morning on the platform.
I don’t exactly know why God allowed this disability in my life; sometimes I get a brief glimpse of His plan in the little things each day. But even though I am flawed by physical challenges, there is something beautiful about living life through clouded eyes. I pray that my temporary trials and imperfections will bring me an increasingly greater appreciation for the beauty of eternal life where everything will be made new. But until that day comes, I will keep stumbling along until my imperfect progress is rewarded through Him.

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