When I was in Mauritius a few months ago I met – or, rather, I saw – a couple in church, a blind couple. I saw them in church one day from afar, wearing heavily dark glasses, and I felt threatened. I was glad I had spotted them from a distance and I purposed to keep it that way. I did not know what I would do with two blind people, so I decided the safest thing was to keep my distance. Whenever I walked into church I would keep my eyes peeled, just so I would not bump into them and be forced into a very compromising situation, and in church I always made sure I located them first so I would sit as far away from them as possible. Inevitably I would breathe a sigh of relief whenever I saw them safely packed into a car for the trip back to wherever they were staying.
God is merciful, and in His love He always takes us back to the Cross.
One day, a car stopped outside the house I was staying in. I was in my room upstairs and when I glanced down whom do I see being helped out of the car but the two blind folks! I stood frozen at the window, thoroughly petrified. I just could not believe it! My mind hurriedly told me they must have come for a quick lunch; but the thought was immediately snuffed out when I saw the couple who had brought them take out bags from the car boot. With a sinking feeling in my heart, I knew they had come to stay.
A nightmare of the worst proportions was unfolding right in front of my eyes. I seriously wished that that day should have been the day of my flight back home!
I stayed in my room for as long as possible; but soon enough I had to go down for lunch. Now, my host’s wife happened to be one of the best cooks I had ever met and meals in this house were something that I always looked forward to. She had introduced me to so many specialities. I especially enjoyed the dessert, which much of the time was chocolate ice- cream.
But on this particular day, my stomach felt tight and I did not feel hungry.
I sat at table with the visitors and my hosts. The man had removed his dark sunglasses and I could clearly see that he was totally blind. His partner wore hers and she appeared to be staring straight at me. I shifted uncomfortably on my seat, sure that she was looking straight into my rotten heart.
The lady of the house, the most cheerful woman I had ever seen, stood and made the introductions.
“Zakaria, meet Patrick! Meet Gina! These are our brethren from Reunion.”
Then she spoke to them in French, which I supposed was my introduction. They were looking my way and all of a sudden, they both flashed the brightest smiles I had ever seen. I smiled sheepishly back, not really understanding that they were seeing absolutely nothing. We shook hands and sat down for our lunch.
For many weeks I stayed with this blind couple. I slowly came to realize that these people were as normal as anyone else. In fact, we developed such an intimate relationship that whenever I would go to church, coming from wherever I had spent the day, my first thing was to seek them out and go greet them.
I would holler out: “Patrick!”, or “Gina!” (I could not speak any French, and Patrick and Gina hardly spoke English. Names were the only things we could properly do with each other.)
They would holler back, “Zakaria!”, all the time sporting their larger-than-life smiles. Then we would hug or shake hands. These were always intensely intimate moments.
Patrick knew a little English, though, and we used that to share our experiences. Whenever we were at home, Patrick loved having someone to talk with, and I was always willing, although it was very difficult. I came to know about his life, and even how he and Gina met.
Sometimes I would find one or both of them seated quietly on the sofa. After the customary hollering of each other’s names, I would ask them what they were doing.
“Just resting”, they would reply. “And listening.”
“Listening to what?” I would ask.
One day, I saw them both walking in town, just the two of them. I could hardly believe it! I had always thought they had to be driven to town, if they ever needed to go there. I watched in amazement as they walked closely bunched together, their white sticks hitting the concrete ahead of them. Curepipe is a pretty big town and I was simply unable to comprehend how they could know their way about, let alone avoid the traffic.
In the evening I asked Patrick all about it. He told me, “Zakaria, we always know where we are going. Today, for example, when you saw us, we were going to church; and we went and came back without incident. I know the direction to church and I simply follow the road.”
He then told me something very profound. He said, “Zakaria, I see things. I see on the inside. I can tell, for example, that such and such is a linen shop; or even a jewellery shop, without anybody telling me so. I can also tell exactly the distance a car is from where I am and even the speed it is travelling.”
Then he said, “I have had many experiences of real angels ministering to me. There are times when I want to cross the road – all is calm and I am sure there is no car coming – but suddenly I feel Someone physically holding me back. Then, just when I would have been crossing the road, a car comes roaring past; and I realize an angel of the Lord just saved my life.”
Soon – all too soon – the time for my flight home arrived. By then I had moved to another friend’s house, so I went to say goodbye to Patrick and Gina. It was an emotional farewell. We had become intertwined in our hearts. Poor me, I had not thought of leaving them a souvenir; but Gina walked purposely into her room and came out with possibly her most treasured possession – a bar of rare chocolate!
She said, “Zakaria, this is for you!”
Curepipe is damp and wet during winter. This incredibly wonderful blind couple had provided much of the light and warmth for me during my winter stay in Curepipe.