For 51 years Bob Edens was blind. He couldn’t see a thing. His world was a black hall of sounds and smells. He felt his way through five decades of darkness. And then, he could see. A skilled surgeon performed a complicated operation and, for the first time, Bob Edens had sight. He found it overwhelming. “I never would have dreamed that yellow is so…yellow,” he exclaimed. “I don’t have the words. I am amazed by yellow. But red is my favorite color. I just can’t believe red. I can see the shape of the moon–and I like nothing better than seeing a jet plane flying across the sky leaving a vapor trail. And of course, sunrises and sunsets. And at night I look at the stars in the sky and the flashing light. You could never know how wonderful everything is.”
However, not everyone who recovers sight has the same experience. Virgil, a man who had been blind from early childhood at 50 underwent surgery and was given the gift of sight. But as he and Dr. Sacks found out, having the physical capacity for sight is not the same as seeing. Virgil’s first experiences with sight were confusing. He was able to make out colors and movements, but arranging them into a coherent picture was more difficult. Over time he learned to identify various objects, but his habits–his behaviors–were still those of a blind man. Dr. Sacks later commented, “One must die as a blind person to be born again as a seeing person. To truly see Jesus and his truth means more than observing what he did or said, it means a change of identity as one man in the path of Christ would discover.