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Following Jesus

How a Blind Lady Helped Me See

July 12, 2018 by

Enjoy the next letter to Kiera from our blogger Eva. This letter is part of a series.


Dear Kiera,

Do you know what an amaryllis is? I didn’t have a clue until a blind lady called me over to look at hers. All I knew was that Mrs. Sherdon had rung her call bell. At the time I was working as a nurse’s aide at Ferncliff Nursing Home, taking care of the elderly people who lived there.

I hurried down the hall to Room 402. “Hi, nurse, who is it today?” Mrs. Sherdon asked, like always.

“Hi, it’s me again, Eva,” I said. “What can I do for you?”

“Oh Eva. I’ve spilled my glass of water.” Mrs. Sherdon was basically blind.

“No problem, Mrs. Sherdon,” I said, soaking up water from the windowsill and floor with a large towel.

“Take a look here on the sill, Eva. See that pot?” Sure enough, an oversized bulb in a bit of earth. “That’s an amaryllis bulb,” Mrs. Sherdon went on excitedly. “My niece brought it in.”

amaryllis bulb

“Never heard of it,” I said. “It sure is huge. Does it need watering?”

“Oh, would you please?” she asked. “That’s what I was trying to do. You’ll be by to update me on my amaryllis, won’t you?”

“I’ll come by whenever I’m on duty,” I promised.

At age twenty-three I was working at Ferncliff in Rhinebeck, New York, full time. There was always plenty to do: answering call bells, maneuvering wheelchairs, giving out drinks, changing beds, helping the older ladies pick out their clothes for the day. I loved my work!

There were forty grandmas living on Ward 4A. It was easy to make friends with them. Many of them loved to chat and so did I. But this was the first time I’d been asked to be eyes for a blind grandma watching a plant grow.

“How’s my plant looking today?” Mrs. Sherdon asked me a week or two later. That bulb sprouted overnight, it seemed.

“Big green shoot,” I told her. “More like a double shoot.”

amaryllis bud

Next time she asked it was two thick leaves with a stalk in between. “Oh yes,” she said. “That will carry the flower.”

“Can you see your amaryllis at all?” I asked.

“Oh, I can make out shadowy outlines,” Mrs. Sherdon answered. “But you’ll keep me updated, won’t you? I can’t wait to find out what color it will be. I bet it’s going to be red!”

“Have you ever had one before, Mrs. Sherdon?”

“Oh sure I have,” she said. “They grow fast. Good plants for impatient people.” Suits me, I thought.

“It’s amazing,” I told her. “and getting real tall. When I was a kid I grew garden flowers. No one ever told me about this kind of plant.” I was almost as excited as she was.

“Well, you can share it with me,” she said. “We’ll watch it together, Eva.”

About two months after Mrs. Sherdon first showed me her bulb, it had grown a tall, thick stem surrounded by long green leaves. Before my next weekend off, I went to Room 402 to have a look. “Hey, Mrs. Sherdon, guess what – there are two buds!”

She smiled in delight. “I was waiting for you to tell me that.”

amaryllis flower

When I came back on Monday I headed straight for Room 402. “Hi Mrs. Sherdon, Eva here,” I called out. “How’s our plant doing?”

“Oh Eva, come see! They say it’s bright red!”

An enormous lily-like flower shouted glory on Mrs. Sherdon’s windowsill.

Would you believe it, Kiera? By asking me to help her, this blind lady helped me see an amaryllis grow from an ugly bulb to a majestic flower. I hope you discover that other people may show you things you wouldn’t have noticed, even if your vision is just fine! And make sure to help them, too.

Hope you’re having a great summer,

Your pen pal,

Eva

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About the author

Eva Hormann portrait

Eva Hormann

Eva and her husband, Hans-Peter, live at Beech Grove, a Bruderhof in England.

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