The President is (Legally) Blind, pt. 4

Have you noticed that around town bike riding is coming back?

I’ve observed that all over Boston, we now have bike lanes – narrow, clearly designated paths – along even major roads where bikers can ride. We also have strategically-placed racks of rental bikes. Seemingly every corner has sturdy, one-speed, lime-colored roadsters available for a few hours of joyful meandering around town. The trend is a good one. Fewer cars equals less traffic congestion and reduced noxious fumes.

I love to ride my bike. I’ve got a beauty. It’s a Surly steel frame touring bike with disk brakes, cool panniers, rechargeable lights, and a motorcycle-style kickstand. Yes, I love to ride to work at Ruach Israel, to appointments all over Boston, and to take occasional long rides with Susie or friends. But being legally blind presents its obvious challenges. The fact is, riding can be dangerous. So, here is how I compensate to stay safe while riding.

First, I make sure my front and rear halogen lights are in working order. Maybe I won’t see a particular car very well, but the driver will surely see me coming! Next, I regularly swallow my male pride and ride up on the sidewalk. Finally, I pray for a safe ride. I think Sue prays harder than I.

All this brings me to my main point.

We are all really legally blind. That is, we have personal struggles which can defeat us if we allow them. But, I contend that God would have us all become over-comers. He would have us all learn ways of compensating for the weaknesses which beset us so that we can live life fully, capable of serving as HaShem’s joyful junior partners in improving the lives of others. Sure, maybe you’ll have to “ride on the sidewalk” a bit by re-focusing your efforts on courageously finding work-arounds which allow you to move ahead. But learn the art of compensation for whatever lack from which you may suffer.

I did not ask to be born legally blind, yet in the providence of God, that’s the way things have turned out. I will not over-identify with this “capital A Annoyance.” I will fight, and I will pray, and I will compensate, and I will live.

Join me, won’t you?

Next time, I will discuss other ways real limitations can turn out to be blessings in disguise.

This post was written by MJTI President Rabbi Dr. Rich Nichol.

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