John Milton’s poem

Sometimes I am just a little amazed by the interest people show for certain things.  One of it is the poem that John Milton wrote when he became blind.  With what great hope he continued to live, and it is so marvellow how we can all take comfort and learn  from people who truly know how to appreciate all things. Did not St Paul tell us to praise God under all circumstances? Indeed, we must.

There was a time when someone I know had to undergo thirteen operations for a detached retina. The end result, after months of recuperation, was that the person lost the use of one of his eyes. If you were ever to talk to him, he would not lament or complain. He would surprise you in a joyful way, for his answer would be close to Job’s. . .the Lord gives, the Lord takes away. Besides, he still has the use of the other eye. Such optimism!

Another person had lost a leg in a nasty accident. He continues to be cheerful and to go about his duties as if nothing had happened. Marvelling at his spirit, I commented that I admired what I was observing. In response, the good man said, “I still have my arms and I still have another leg!”

Talk about counting your blessings. This is so true, isn’t it? Thus, it was that I told myself two years ago when I suddenly had to undergo a retinal operation that I too could expect to lose the sight of an eye. But the Lord is gracious. I continue to see with both eyes.

Is it then any wonder that when we look deeply into each person’s life, we find that there are indeed many lessons that we can share with one another. It is always a good thing to be optimistic. It is not the way of escaping from reality. It is also not a tactic of evasion or a game of ‘let’s pretend’. It is rather an exercise of growing in faith. One turns to the Lord and in faith, one says, “Dearest Lord, you who love me know what is best for me. Thank you, Lord!”

So let us rejoice as we read again a part of the  famous sonnet “On His Blindness” by John Milton (1608-74).  He rightly reflects with us that even with his disability he has a place under the sun. We all do!

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.

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