|View From The Steps of The Monastery Church- July 14, 2013|
Imagine this scene: A blind man takes his wife to the eye doctor and as she is having her check-up, the doctor asks if the man would like to have his eyes checked out also. "I think you will find I am blind", the man playfully says, but allows the doctor to examine him. Upon completion of the exam, the doctor pauses and said, "I think I can make you see".
There are certain books that you read in your life that you instantly forget, others that will never leave you. The book, "Crashing Through: The Extraordinary True Story of Risk, Adventure, And the Man Who Dared To See" by Robert Kurzon is in the latter category. It is the true story of Mike May who was blinded in a childhood accident at three years of age. His mother was an incredible woman and insisted that he become used to his loss of sight and that it should not hamper him in any way. Mike May "crashed through" his childhood enduring many bumps and bruises. To say that he became an overachiever is an understatement. Amazingly, he rode motorcycles, broke world records in downhill speed skiing, joined the CIA, became an inventor and successful businessman. He was also quite popular with the ladies! He married and had two sons. In 1999, when the doctor explained that with the new stem cell surgery available to him, it was possible that his vision could be restored, you might think that Mike May would jump at this chance. Actually, it was a big decision for him, since he felt that he could already "see".
This book is a fascinating story about Mike May but it is also interesting since it raises so many questions about how we truly see. Our vision is not just our eyesight but it is also very much about our perception. There are some chapters in this book that go into some detail about how our vision is shaped by what we expect to see, rather than what we are actually seeing. You must have seen the picture above...is it an old woman or a young woman? It depends on how you are looking at it. Our brain is wired in such a way...oh, I am beginning to sound like I know what I am talking about, you will just have to read the book!
Once his vision was restored, Mike May felt there were a couple of things he truly wanted to see - a beautiful panoramic view and...wait for it...beautiful women! I had to laugh since, after all, he is a man! Also, I remember that once his sight was restored he knew, for the first time, the meaning of the word "sparkle". (How would you explain "sparkle" to a blind person?)
The panoramic views at Arabia Mountain and Stone Mountain are breathtaking, and the sight from the top of Beachy Head in England is something I wish everyone could see. At the same time, a very small wildflower growing in a crack in the sidewalk can be just as appreciated. If you read this book, please let me know what you think about it. I did have a copy of it but I gave it away to a friend and I hope they passed it along for someone else to read! Some of the reviews of the book mention that there is a bit too much written about Mike May's personal life, and I can see that point, but I think the author was trying to be true to the life story of Mike May and felt those intimate details needed to be included.
This book made me wonder...what are some of the most beautiful sights that you have seen in your life? And the first sight of your newborn child does not count, that is a GIVEN!!