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  • Writer's pictureThabo Baseki

Cheerfulness - A Longing of All

Sometimes in life we find happiness where we are not expecting it. It has been a good six months of blogging by far, and I bet what you are dying to know of now is how I have managed to find joy with a life of being blind. Admittedly, living with this disability or any other is stressful and disheartening, but it's best to devise ways to uplift oneself as this blog has been about bring positivity only. Depression is real and is a silent killer, and, like some people I know, chose to embrace life and not shy away from it. The ability to keep alive is a blessing and a chance for one to act it out how they desire, responsibly though.

In some of the previous articles, I brushed through the questions I had since childhood on my condition. These questions made me rethink everything to figure out how I would survive without any sight left in me. Growing up I went to different religions and traditional healers in search of sight, which sadly I never got. At one point, I was left hopeless, I would be told that I am blind because my parents had sinned somehow, or because I did not have faith, which left me feeling empty, blamed for what I do not even know. I was angry with religion and magic.

In 2010, I started studying the Bible with Jehovah's Witnesses, which was the turning point of my life, a breath of fresh air. I was taught that only God Himself can restore my vision - not any other being or power. They clarified the ever-haunting question I had, “why are my mother's sins rendered a punishment onto me through my vision, when I had no contribution to any of it?". They told me that being blind has nothing to do with my mother's sins. For the first time ever, I was happy to hear about the scripture of Isaiah 35:5 which says in part, “At that time, the eyes of the blind will be opened...” This saw me let out a heavy sigh of relief and invited in the feeling of acceptance and love from Jehovah. As time went by, the Witnesses proved to be more than just profound friends and religious mates, but also a good spiritual family structure I needed.

A man's hands holding a wedding ring

Seeing people in my circle marrying and getting married to, one other question I asked myself through adolescence was if I will ever be a man who's married and settled with his own family. God lovingly, I was gifted a book by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania entitled Questions Young People Ask Answers that Work, volumes 1 and 2 in English Braille by the Witnesses. I learnt a lot from the book, but what stood out was a phrase that said, “what you are on the outside is less important than what is on the inside". How bright my face lit up as I read that part, and my heart went into great ease and comfort. A heavy stone had been lifted from my shoulders.

Worshipping in the Kingdom Hall, what others call a church or so, taking part in Christ related activities and preaching are essentials to the Witnesses. This was proved as they went the extra mile to include me in many activities that took place. For over a decade now, I have been transported freely to reach out to Jehovah's sons and daughters across the nation which gives me a sense of belonging. Seeing myself being provided with Braille publications, audio books, and videos that have audio descriptions to help me get the same equal amount of message as my sighted congregants is like hearing every one of the Witnesses saying to me, “you are as important as everyone of us here.”

Thabo and his friends from the Kingdom Hall
Thabo (standing, 3rd from left) and friends at the Kingdom Hall

I grew up without a father, and I never knew him. To add more salt to injury, I tend to have days where I feel so overwhelmed, and this takes a huge emotional and physical toll to me. Being blind at times is discomforting and unbearable. In all this I find peace in what I have learned. Thanks to scriptures as Psalm 68:5, 146:9 and Revelations 21:5, I am able to cope, having full confidence that all promises in the Bible will surely be fulfilled in the appointed time.

I am so grateful for people who have accepted me as I am because this has influenced the abundant joy I have in my life. From the Witnesses involving me in every event and giving me opportune times to present assignments and the word of God, to volunteering at our congregation's literature counter, with assistance of course, to conduct computer-based tasks, learning and sitting for my exams like every scholar, I am grateful. My love for technology after using the sound system at some point has seen me grow stronger. I must say though that using the sound system felt like an incredibly challenging task to do. I wonder how one with sight deals with it if I feel this way! These minute chances give me a new lease on life every time and I'm thankful to how I always get to manage. My family, friends, and colleagues in the organizations I'm a part of certainly tolerate me well and treat me like an independent being. There's enthusiastic respect and understanding of my existence as a person. Jehovah's ability to attract such good people has been a major source of comfort, peace, and confidence over the years. Life is beautiful. Life is joyous.

Looking back to 2010, my decision to start growing under Jehovah's way has brought me nothing but happiness and serenity. My brief interaction with that sound system and other technological devices has helped me to sharpen my capabilities and self-esteem. To my fellow like mates, i say - do not be knocked down by the umpteenth instances of getting up and being beaten down again. Find an element of joy in your life, embrace and cultivate it until you become a well-rounded person to whom many can look up. Be optimistic. Lastly, be nice to yourself, pal.

Thabo and friends outside of the Kingdom Hall
Thabo (center, front row) and friends outside of the Kingdom Hall

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