Thursday, May 25, 2017

EYES WIDE OPEN by Isaac Lidsky

Lidsky writes without any grandiosity about the debilitating visual degeneration he went through, or the 100% blindness that is a daily reality now.

“With hard work comes strength; with practice, mastery.” He doesn’t say this as one whose only handicap is the lack of will-power and self-determination. He’s talking about adjusting from the normalcy of a seeing person to the realities that a blind person 'sees' every moment.

Discouragement, disappointment, frustrations are compounded when one is also going through major life crises. At the back of your mind, you wonder how long people will stick around and how much they can bear to look at what you are going through. Many don’t and that’s the only way they know how to respond. Who can stand being around someone with no more laughter, no more imagination, and when is there no more emotional and esteem benefits for sticking around. Yet he wrote about his wife Dorothy, “She never doubted that I would provide for our family. Decision by insane decision, she was there for me. It was fine by her if her fancy lawyer husband wanted to reinvent himself as a construction guy. Her reward? I turned our lives upside down. In New York we had dreamed I would build a business empire. Last week I told her I would likely file a personal bankruptcy.”

And his Jewish mother stood by him. “Please be good to yourself, tatele. (a Yiddish term of endearment or little boy) She heard the pain in my voice. She wanted to save me.” Only mothers do that: some mothers. They can hear pain, but you have to make the phone call. She gave him her entire life savings of $350K in a duffel bag and walked back to her car. That’s what some mums do because hope is priceless and they would do anything to bring that back to life.

It is not mentioned in the book but perhaps these two women are walking by faith and not by sight, and it is a faith that rests not in a man’s talents and abilities, but in God who is larger than the man they both love. 

Some people face debilitating diseases like Lidsky, some face the unexpected death of a loved one, others battle life-long depression or deal with crushing post-divorce realities. The world doesn’t need another ‘do this and you’ll be fine’ book under self-help or Christian titles. Nothing in this book claims that promise. If anything, it preaches vulnerability and urges those going through their dreaded and irreversible D’s to breath and focus on the flow of taking things one step at a time. For many of these on many days, those are big steps: to focus and to keep moving.

For a book titled “Eyes Wide Open”, he ends with chapter 8 titled “Heart Wide Open.” Lidsky says, “I’m a funny blind guy with an open heart.” I think so too.