I will lead the blind by a road they do not know. By paths they do not know I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light. The rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do. I will not forsake them.
I found the above quote a few months back. Whether you are religious or not, it seemed to me an uplifting statement of a thought. I found
through Facebook and online. Her mention of travel caught my attention and I hope to speak with her more on that in the future. Today, though, I am pleased to be featuring her memoir “Mobility Matters – Stepping Out in Faith” here on my blog.
Check out more on the memoir
and you can visit her Facebook page,
Book Review: Mobility Matters – Stepping Out in Faith
By Amy Bovaird
In “Mobility Matters – Stepping Out in Faith” teacher, author, and ghost writer Amy Bovaird lets the reader in on a particularly difficult year in her life. She is in the midst of a transition from the sighted world into that of living blind.
Pity. Denial. These are the themes found throughout this memoir, but why should others not be pitying us if we pity ourselves? I didn’t know what sort of memoir to expect when I started to read, but I was soon drawn in by Bovaird’s storytelling style of some of the biggest hurdles of her life.
In her Spanish class she disguises her vision loss and develops tricks for getting around her hearing loss.
The Spanish word, “ceiga”, in Spanish literature, meaning destitute, old, and either ill-mannered or helpless woman. She has been teaching others for most of her life. She is about to need a teacher, someone to teach her about white cane travel and that is where blind orientation and mobility instructor Bob comes in.
She has been slowly losing vision for years, but up until now able to brush off the signs and pretend it wasn’t really effecting her life. Her Retinitis Pigmentosa, vision and hearing loss are getting harder and harder to ignore.
She has been to thirty-three countries and has lived in six and she is used to being highly independent. Now it is hard not to feel nothing but pitied. The first time she tries out a white cane and a whole new phase of her life is opened up, even if it takes her a while to see it. The white cane is meant to help the user stand out, but that is the last thing she wants to do. I was abel to relate with that, when all you want to do at times is to blend in and to fit in.
From reading I learned Terms like catastrophizing, a great way of summing up a trap people easily fall into. I could immediately relate to many of Amy’s battles in trying to adapt to a life with less sight than before.
Words like sight, vision, and seeing are explored throughout this book and the interpretations of each of these words vary with the person. Amy is learning to live with one foot in each world, but learns from those in her life that the two aren’t all that different in the end. These people remind her to, “filter her circumstances through a lens of laughter. This lesson in itself sums up the contents of this book. Even during her worst moments throughout this story humour finds its way in through the cracks of her fear of the unknown.
She finds herself caught in a trap of denial and fear of being honest to those around her and to herself. People like Bob show up and make her see that she can keep her independence, even as she navigates a new world with less and less sight.
This is a memoir of faith, but you do not need to believe in God to be touched by the lessons Bovaird learns along the way. This is a terrific book for anyone losing their sight and fearing an unknown and sometimes dark future or for anyone who wants to understand what it feels like to live in a world without the sight most take for granted.
In her own dark moments, the voices in her head (or Satan, whichever you believe) she hears things such as:
You should have stopped teaching years ago. How did you ever think you’d be a successful language teacher? You’re deaf, you know, and the way you manage your class is pitiful.
Would I ever feel like one of them? Or would my differences always set me apart?
I am sure we all feel that at one time or another, but as I read statements such as these from Amy, I was happy, at least, to learn I am not alone in feeling like the odd one out sometimes.
She speaks of feelings such as, “the hard bitter pit” in her stomach. Just such lines in this book spoke to me when I read them and are incredibly relatable. She can hardly imagine a day when she might feel comfortable with these new changes she is being forced into.
When the principal of her school asks her to speak to the students about her blindness she resists, unable to imagine finding the courage to make her situation public, but she soon discovers that she can teach others in more ways than she ever thought she could.
She slowly reveals her blindness to one student, showing the girl the tools she uses to help her read. The student shows her interest by looking into the magnifier, commenting how looking through the monocle makes her eye tired and a little dizzy, like blindness. It can be hard to trust others with what you are going through, the disorientation of it all. Amy’s story shows that it is important to let others know what it’s like because they truly do not know.
She will find acceptance from her students, the other teachers, and people she runs into everyday.
One of her fellow teachers makes her aware that she is not alone:
- We’re in this together Amy. God wants to use us all to the best of our abilities. Even when things don’t go as planned, God has his reasons. So don’t let it get you down. Just go forward.
- By the end of this book Bovaird has come so far in a short amount of time. She leans on her faith in God and realizes the people in her life have been put there for a reason. She has been taught the tools to succeed and has discovered a motivation and the coping skills for success.
- Amy comes to a crossroads in her life and knows she has what it will take to live the best life possible.
Stand at the crossroadsAnd look; ask for the ancient paths and where the good way is, and walk it and you will find rest.
Jeremiah 6:16, NIV.