Last week I shed some tears over this book:
Yep, standing there in my bathroom getting ready for the day, listening to the most beautiful words wash over me from a copy I was listening to from the library.
After I “bookmarked” probably half of the lines in my very first listen I decided I had better get the real-deal hard-copy book because this was one I was going to love.
My sister Saydi had recommended it to me this last summer and I called her in tears asking why she hadn’t forced me to read that thing right then and there. It just spoke to me, you know what I mean?
It is the memoir of a man named Jacques Lusseyran who became blind from an accident when he was eight-years-old. So of course, that part spoke to me and made me emotional because it hits so close to home. But it so beautifully chronicles this man’s journey. Never once is he sorry for himself. He learns to live life in a different way, following light. And that is what I loved the most: the thought that even without our eyes we can follow light. It is there.
“Barely ten days after the accident that blinded me, I made the basic discovery. I am still entranced by it. The only way I can describe that experience is in clear and direct words. I had completely lost the sight of my eyes; I could not see the light of the world any more. Yet the light was still there…All that world around me was convinced that I had lost it forever. But I found it again in another place. I found it in myself and what a miracle! — it was intact…
“I felt it [the light] gushing forth every moment and brimming over; I felt how it wanted to spread out over the world. I had only to receive it.
“This was something entirely new, you understand, all the more so since it contradicted everything that those who have eyes believe. The source of light is not in the outer world. We believe that it is only because of a common delusion. The light that dwells where life also dwells: within ourselves.“
“…Yet I had to make the effort to find my way between doors, walls, human beings, and trees. As happens to all blind persons, I hurt myself often. But quickly learned that I knocked against things only when I forgot the light. When I paid constant attention to the light, I ran a much smaller risk.
“The second great discovery came almost immediately afterwards. There was only one way to see the inner light, and that was to love.”
Jacques was aware enough to realize that the light he found was dependent upon how much he let in. He was in charge. If he was angry, unkind or unforgiving he could no longer see the light, but when he was happy and lovingly attentive to the world around him the light was bright and guiding.
“I could no longer afford to be jealous or unfriendly, because, as soon as I was, a bandage came down over my eyes, and I was bound hand and foot and cast aside. All at once a black hole opened, and I was helpless inside it. But when I was happy and serene, approached people with confidence and thought well of them, I was rewarded with light.”
The story goes on to tell how he and a group of friends joined the French resistance in World War II, and with his ability to discern the light inside others, he was able to help in unconventional ways. He is later captured and sent to a concentration camp and is one of 30 to survive out of 2,000 in that particular camp.
The story is interesting and filled me with awe wondering how someone can be that aware, that positive, that strong. How much work and effort did it take to really overcome a problem (blindness) that can be so devastating to someone in the exact same situation? Just so interesting to think about!
I’m sad I didn’t have the best book-marking abilities when I listened, and I’m only here so far in the hard copy:
But just wanted to share some of my favorite things that I could find so far:
“Inside me there was everything I had believed was outside. There was, in particular, the sun, light, and all colors. There were even the shapes of objects and the distance between objects. Everything was there and movement as well… Light is an element that we carry inside us and which can grow there with as much abundance, variety, and intensity as it can outside of us…I could light myself…that is, I could create a light inside of me so alive, so large, and so near that my eyes, my physical eyes, or what remained of them, vibrated, almost to the point of hurting… God is there under a form that has the good luck to be neither religious, not intellectual, nor sentimental, but quite simply alive.”
“Two truths: the first of these is that joy does not come from outside, for whatever happens to us it is within. The second truth is that light does not come to us from without. Light is in us, even if we have no eyes.”
Beautiful truths right there. Gives me so much hope for Lucy who, although her vision is dwindling, has a light within that is strong and vibrant. And it has motivated me to search more for my own inner light and to let it guide me more in life.
Click HERE if you want more information about the book. xoxo, happy Monday!
Stop recommending so many good books! I can’t keep up 🙂
Sorry but even more coming soon! Ha! Just come back when you’re ready for more 🙂
I listened to this book this weekend, per your recommendation and I wept. It felt like a friend sharing his story and I listened. It contained so much beauty and truth. It seems dramatic but this book changed me. Thank you for sharing it.
I’m so glad you loved it! I know I have a special reason for having it hit me so hard with Lucy’s blindness, but I think it’s so beautifully inspiring for anyone don’t you think?