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The day after Mother’s Day, I woke up to another eye hemorrhage.  It was in my left eye-my good eye.  This was the eye that had most recently been operated on, only six weeks earlier.  Because of that, it was the eye that seemed less likely to have a hemorrhage, at least that’s what I thought.

“No!” I said as I sat up in bed.

This wasn’t supposed to happen.  That eye had a vitrectomy only six weeks ago.  It had been doing great.  This is wrong.

“Mom, it’s happened again.”

She put her arms around me and held me.  All I could say was “Why?  Why?”

Why did this happen again?  What did God have against me?  Why did I have to suffer through this again?

“I can’t believe it . . . I can’t believe it.”

Mom held me close, not saying much.  She was just as surprised as I was. 

Another call to Dr. Landers and the same advice: Wait.  It might dissipate.  There had been a small bleed in one of my eyes earlier in the year that had done just that.  But this was a big hemorrhage.  If it did dissipate, it would take a long time.  There was a whole lot of blood in there.

I don’t understand.   It had been doing great.  Everything had been going along just fine.

I had let my guard down.  I had allowed myself to stop worrying.  I had given thanks to God for my restored vision.

Is this how it’s going to be for the rest of my life?

The hemorrhage didn’t get better.  My spirits fell.  This was an all-time low.  Hadn’t I been through enough for regaining my sight?

On a rainy afternoon, I listened to my stereo while curled up on the carpet in my bedroom.  Things seemed so hopeless.  There didn’t seem to be any point in fighting this.

My mind drifted to a dark place.  It was the place where hope never goes.  I stepped to the edge and peered into it. 

For the first time, I understood why people kill themselves.  It was from lack of hope.  Hope for a better future is what keeps us going.

That abyss was deep and the bottom was nowhere to be seen.  There was only darkness and fear down there, an even darker, more fearful place than the inside of my mind.

Get out of here.  Get away from here, fast!

I slowly backed away from the abyss. 

“You don’t belong down here,” someone, or something whispered to me.  I know it was right.  This was the worst place for me, for anyone, to be.

There I was, curled up on the carpet again, where I had been before.  But now I felt like a tourist who had returned from a miserable vacation.  Now that I had seen firsthand an ugly country where some people go but never return, I vowed not to go back.

Now that you know which road takes you there, you can avoid the place.

I would find hope.  Somewhere, I would find it.  My survival depended on it.  Now I was certain of it.

But where do I look?

“Look everywhere.  It’s all around.  If you don’t find it out there, look within yourself.”

Since then, I have examined every situation for the tiniest grain of hope-and most of the time, I have found it.  My disability had forced me to find opportunity in every setback.  What might have seemed like a road block often was only a detour.

From then on, I learned to find hope in any situation.  Never before had I realized how important hope was.  Take away hope and you’ve got nothing.  Hope keeps people going.  It can save your life.