Tuesday, 31 Aug 2021
“I had very poor eyesight all my life and retinal detachment is a bigger problem if you had surgery.” This was the dilemma faced by CBM supporter Florence Liddy, voiced in her beautiful Irish brogue, still strong in her 80s, as she describes how her ophthalmologist was reluctant to operate.
Weighed down by this, Florence came across a Bible passage, Isaiah 58: 8, 9. “Then shall your light break forth like the dawn. Your healing shall spring up speedily.” She contacted the doctor and asked for the operation to proceed. It was successful.
After the surgery Florence’s eyes were covered. She needed to wait for someone to help her to the bathroom. She heard a man and asked him to call a nurse. “She put her hand on the cup to show me where it was and on the biscuit. To me, it gave me a complete understanding of what blindness is like.”
Florence’s vision was restored but not perfectly. If she had been given full distance vision, she would have needed to take off her glasses for reading and writing. She now leaves them on all the time. But needless to say, Florence is thankful for the doctor’s work.
Born and raised in Ireland, Florence married in Dublin before going to work in a hospital in Papua New Guinea. It was here, after a difficult pregnancy, that she gave birth to twins. One of the girls’ feet were turned inwards
Her doctor advised her to turn the feet and massage them several times a day, and to persist with the procedure even if the child cried. Florence continued with the practice for a few months and eventually the feet straightened. At school, this girl became quite a successful runner.
Because of this experience, Florence embraces the way CBM has reached out to support other groups of people with disability.
It was in PNG that Florence came to know the Lord. She met some American missionaries from the Southern Linguistic Institute. One of the missionaries, on leaving, said that he may not see her again in this life but hoped to meet her in Heaven. Florence wondered how he could be sure. He replied that he loved the Lord. The mission organisation sent a young woman to Florence’s home to help her know the Bible. After some weeks of such visits, Florence knelt by her bed and asked the Lord into her heart. Her husband noted Florence’s transformation.
She became aware of CBM at an event in Tamborine, Queensland, and she selected it to support because of their work with eyesight.
Florence loves to receive our calendars. She will pick out an image or a name and pray over that person. She is touched by a boy who expresses happiness that his cataract has been removed. “The joy that this boy has in seeing gives me great joy to read about them and pray for them.”
Thank you Florence for your enduring faith and for your wonderful vision.
Written by Graeme Turner who has worked in the contact centre at CBM for more than four-and-a-half years. Graeme is a keen historian, writer and poet. Graeme lives with a vision impairment.