¡Nunca Pare Esperando Usted!

By Mary Hunt Webb

Posted Saturday, December 31, 2011

A photographic image of a boy wearing ugly glasses.

Someone should warn this child that ugly eyeglasses never break! [Photo courtesy of]

I heard my mother tell people that I had a visual impairment, but I honestly didn't think I was disabled because I had never known anything else. However, people could see that my eyes did not track together.

When my right eye moved out of alignment and appeared to be looking in another direction, others would look behind them and ask me, "What are you looking at?"

It only appeared that I was looking somewhere else because my right eye muscle was too weak to work together with my left one. That condition goes by the name of 'strabismus'. Strabismus is not uncommon in children. It also appears in some adults, particularly where earlier surgery has not been completely successful.

Since my mom was a widow and a working mother without medical insurance, surgery was impossible. We had barely enough to cover the necessities of food and shelter so that we couldn't even afford a car. Money for surgery did not exist. Since the success rate on such surgeries was only 50 percent at that time, it was a gamble we could not afford.

A photographic image of a pair of roller skates.

A visual impairment increases the danger of most normal childhood activities. [Photographers: Christine and David Schmidt via]

Consequently, I learned to read, write, bicycle, and roller skate while coping with abnormal vision. I fell a lot and still bear the scars on my knees. Thus, the way I walk and perform normal everyday tasks is different from that of other people.

A relative once told me, "You walk funny!"

Obviously, the falls that I sustained affected the bearing of my spine, my hips, and my knees.

When questionnaires asked if I had a disability, my mother wrote, "Yes." However, if I was filling out the form, I wrote, "No," because I had no other standard by which to measure my own ability and actions.

Therefore, I may have missed out on a few opportunities for disabled students because I did not consider myself as fitting in that category. My only assistive device was the ugly pair of eyeglasses that my mother and my optometrist chose for me. Although I grew out of the first frames, the second pair lasted seven long years.

A photographic image of Mary Hunt on Santa's lap.

Mary, talking to a department store Santa, happily grew out of this first pair of eyeglasses. [Photographer unknown.]

Consequently, I was mainstreamed and attended public school along with students who had perfect vision. However, keeping up with everyone else was another matter. I read slowly because my vision switched back and forth between the left and the right eyes. That meant that I couldn't complete exams during the time allotted. No extra time was given to those with visual handicaps in those days.

Nevertheless, my understanding of what I could do and the perception of others regarding my ability differed greatly. While I did not consciously fight misperception, I simply did not accept it. In the upper grades, I refused to go along with my teachers who urged me to enter the office skills program instead of the college preparatory one. I knew that if I could get past programs that depended on my physical abilities and enter one that depended on my mental acuity, I could succeed. In retrospect, that was a sound decision because computers have since replaced all those machines. The only useful skill offered was that of typing, which is still in use today and is known as keyboarding. I managed to teach myself that skill with the assistance of a used typing book.

Although I had no means of paying for college, I somehow knew that if I persisted, doors would open. While some would have said I was denying reality, I held onto my goal.

Perhaps my visual condition trained me not to depend on how things appeared. That is in keeping with the biblical admonition found in 2 Corinthians 4:18, which says, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Therefore, my imperfect vision may not have been a bad thing after all since it trained me to walk by faith rather than by sight.

Although I spent more time in undergraduate school than most students, I obtained my bachelor's degree before surgical techniques improved enough to correct my vision. I finally had two successful corrective surgeries after our son was born. Eventually, I obtained my master's degree.

In retrospect, I do not regret that my impressions of the world took shape while I had a disability. That is because my early experience prepared me to envision possibility where others see despair. I have learned that what is impossible today may be possible next year. New medical and technological breakthroughs occur every year.

If you are facing a situation that appears impossible, I encourage you not to give up hope. Trust God and keep praying. God can do anything!

Bible Verse for the Week

2 Corinthians 4:18 "while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (New King James Version)

2 Corintios 4:18 "no mirando nosotros las cosas que se ven, sino las que no se ven; pues las cosas que se ven son temporales, pero las que no se ven son eternas." (Reina-Valera 1960)

A photographic image of Mary Hunt Webb on a carousel.

Mary was out of eyeglasses for 17 years before maturity necessitated a return to wearing them again. [Photographer: Morris Webb, Jr.]

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