THROUGH THE EYES OF THE BLIND
LOUIS BOCCIO JR.
“Through The Eyes Of The Blind” is a TV program about a young man who was born blind. Though blind, the Lord blessed Allan Bastyr with “special gifts” to help him discover and develop his faith. As a young boy, Allan attended a school for the blind. It was at the school, that Allan realized his blindness. Many of the children at the school were slow learners. Allan was not slow. He had a willingness to learn, but his surroundings caused him to lose some of his self-esteem.
In the second grade, a teacher pushed Allan to the floor because he failed to peel a banana without breaking it. He was teased by the other children. Soon Allan became depressed. He was not happy at the school. He believed that in spite of the special needs of blind children that they could still live a normal life raised with their mom’s and dad’s. Allan was told by another teacher that he “ would never be able to take care of himself.” He could not accept this teaching. There was something inside Allan that stirred and drove him to succeed, but he had not found the power within himself at this stage of his life.
At home, Allan’s mom did her best to meet his special needs, but at times she became frustrated and overwhelmed. As a teen he became more withdrawn. Many behavioral problems follow. He had a difficult time facing his disturbing childhood. Allan admitted to others, “When I graduate from the school of the blind I’m going to get drunk.” And he did! He soon learned his problems were not going away. Through all of this, Allan loved children and wanted to help them live a better life. However, he knew his life would have to change first. Still, he had no direction in accomplishing his goals and dreams.
In 1983 and 1984 things began to change for him. 1985 however, was the most important year for Allan. He attended a Bible study in Minnesota and soon gave his life to the Lord and was baptized. Next he traveled to Nebraska to attend a confidence-training workshop. His next stop took him to Wisconsin where he worked at a summer camp. Believing he needed a Christian education he attended Abilene Christian University and earned a degree. Allan was encouraged to start a business. He then traveled to California and built a spiritual relationship with a boy named Jared. Reflecting on his earlier life, Allan wrote a song entitled “Care Bear Jason Needs A Friend.”
Because of his great love for children, Allan became interested in a boy named Timothy Hill who lived on Long Island before his death. Allan went to New York with only a white walking stick, some clothes and a boom box on his shoulder. He learned more about Timothy’s life and death and his dream to start a ranch for homeless boys. Allan got caught up in that dream. He wrote a song about Timothy and how the ranch had become a reality after his death.
Allan has written many other songs and accompanies himself on guitar. While in New York, Allan had an opportunity to sing and play his guitar for a group of college students. After hearing Allan’s story, two business students announced to him that they were changing their majors to Social Work. Allan had indeed found the way. With Christ in his life, he travels all over the United States encouraging children as well as adults to accept Christ no matter what their circumstance. Allan now knows the power within and its source and freely shares the love of God with others.
SEEING CREATION THROUGH SPIRITUAL EYES
LOUIS BOCCIO JR.
Endowed with only our physical strength we approach this day anew. Realizing we are not the same beings touched by yesterday’s light, we attempt to live and appreciate this day to the best of our human ability. But, the new day offers something greater than ourselves. An opportunity to change and be transformed waits for us on the horizon. On this new day, a plan to establish a Godly kingdom within our mortal bodies is offered once again. A greater light than our physical sun resides high above the Earth’s atmosphere and yearns to fill our hearts with spiritual insights and vision.
If we accept the true light of God, Jesus the Christ, through His grace we are submerged into a watery grave in the Earth through baptism. Joining Christ in His burial and resurrection, we are born again and our sinful bodies are washed and blessed with the Spirit of God. Now, with the Holy Spirit indwelling in our hearts, we are truly one with the Creator of the universe. The light of the heavens resides with us and promises hope and eternal life. Now, we are endowed with not only physical strength but spiritual strength as well. With a spiritual heart and mind we see God’s creation with spiritual eyes.
Even on this Autumn morning where the sun’s light is softened by an overcast sky, the colors of this Autumn day seem more brilliant than the day before. On Earth, the light of our sun offers various seasons of light and physical health benefits. But it is the spiritual light we now see and thus thrive like never before! The light of God enriches life on Earth as we witness rays of energy moving through our atmosphere to nourish God’s creation. And while it is true, the creation is a vast recipe of matter, we humans who were once only physical, now thrive in spiritual light and are the most vital ingredient in the cosmos.
END OF PART 1
TO BE CONTINUED
SEEING CREATION THROUGH SPIRITUAL EYES
Created for us on the third day of creation and beneath our feet lies our Earthly home. Ahead, directional beams of our sun’s light illuminate physical objects of creation to see and study. On this autumn day, we witness an atmosphere in layers of mist. The sky rests quietly in its thickness. Lighting is soft and diffused. Expanse of sky this day lacks marked shape or form. Formless clouds are embedded deep in heavy air. Depth and length are meaningless, but the sky is here today, as it was yesterday, only different.
A drape of gray hovers over the land. Stillness prevails over the river below. Under the subdued light the October landscape is revealed. Autumn’s design in nature is before us. As a witness of time and motion we discover a new day’s light. Moving upon us we see a stark mood of contrast between a meek sky and bold foliage. Though the sky is muted, colors of this autumn day remain brilliant. The harvest of season has peaked. As observers of God’s wonders, we witness a climax of an unfolding story. Blessed with vision, we rejoice in the offerings of reflected light. As we look down river, many colors come to our eyes from river’s edge. The river is long. There is abundant life along its banks. There is much to see and more to learn. In the study of creation it is important to respect time and savor it. In God’s plan one element in nature relates to another. Time is needed to connect our thoughts with the plan of God. Along each inch of shoreline and each inch of woodland there lies countless meanings of life. Every space within our view is filled with purpose.
The design before us was no accident. These moments were created for us to enjoy. As autumn reveals its beauty, we become students of observation. However, to fully understand what is happening before our eyes, we must be willing to learn more about the beginning of time and believe in its creation.
END OF PART II
TO BE CONTINUED
OH CHRISTMAS TREE
BY REBECCA BOCCIO
O, CHRISTMAS TREE
ALL COVERED WITH ORNAMENTS,
SO PRETTY ARE THEY,
EACH REPRESENTING A MEMORABLE DAY…..
EACH BRANCH REACHES OUT,
MAKING NEW LOVE SPROUT.
O, CHRISTMAS TREE
ALL COVERED WITH LIGHTS,
EACH ONE BRIGHTENING A DIFFERENT NIGHT.
A CANDLE IN THE WINDOW,
NOT JUST FOR SHOW
ITS FIRE AS SHARP AS A KNIFE
REPRESENTING NEW LIFE.
CHRISTMAS’S TRUE MEANING,
MARY OVER CHRIST’S BED IS LEANING,
HIS PERFECT FACE
FROM THAT HOLY PLACE,
HE LAYS FOR A WHILE,
THEN RISES WITH A SMILE
BECAUSE OF HIS BIRTH, GOD SAVED THE EARTH.
By Rita Teta
Darkness surrounded me: He held my hand, “I’m
Frightened ”, I cried, “I cannot see!”
He whispered, “I know the way.”
I felt the jagged, slippery rocks beneath my feet,
I felt the angry wind against my face.
I stumbled, I wept, my spirit sank within me.
I cannot go, this is too long, too hard;
I cannot go!
He whispered, “Wait, I know the way.”
I was anxious….Where are we going, wait for what?
I wanted to know.
Then it happened! I saw a streak of light up ahead…
He turned, He smiled.
The dark clouds parted, the sun streaked through,
I saw the quiet waters, the green pastures,
My heart sang!
He put His arms around me and whispered, “I will never
Leave you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5)
….“I know the way”
TEARS FEARS AND CHEERS
By Rita Teta
Oh weep for me ye righteous ones,
For I am lost.
I wander about – I try all the things
The world has to offer – yet I
See no way out.
No way out of emptiness and despair:
No rest from wandering.
Will there be no joy; no peace;
No hope; only more wanting?
Tell me how I can have what you have,
Know what you know.
Where did you find it? Ho much
Does it cost?
We who are in the house of The Lord,
The God of the universe, hear you.
We say to all who ask, “Come, The
Father welcomes you. Jesus, The
Righteous One, will not turn you
Away – it is free, you only need to
“Ask and it shall be given unto you”…
The promise fulfilled, now on Earth and
Forever in Heaven in the presence
Don’t Question My Faith
By: Louise Gagnon
Don’t question my faith
When you do not know
When you’ve sunk to the bottom
And He is there to bring you back up
Don’t question my faith
When you are laying sick and alone
Feeling His arms around you
Telling Him I’m ready to go home
Don’t question my faith
When you see things happen
That others don’t understand
But Christians do understand
Don’t question my faith
When you see God’s hand
In everything you see around you
And He says don’t worry I am in charge
Don’t question my faith
When faith is all we need
To help us through the day
When the body dies and our spirit goes home
God: Pilot in Command
By Louis Boccio Jr.
We arrived at Long Island’s Brookhaven Airport at 1:14 P.M. Low clouds loomed overhead. My wife, Rayma, completed her pre-flight inspection of our Cessna 150 under the watchful eye of her flight instructor, Jim Meyers
As Rayma taxied to the active runway, I decided to walk back to our tie-down spot and watch her takeoff. Reaching its rotating speed a third down runway 24, the Cessna leaped off the asphalt strip and into the cool autumn air. I continued to monitor Rayma’s flight as the aircraft climbed to the pattern altitude of 1100 feet and left the airport traffic area
Remembering I had an hour to wait, I walked towards the coffee shop. Nearby I heard someone calling- “Lou, Lou!”
Turning around, I saw our tie-down neighbor, Frank, waxing his airplane. “Lou, would you like to go up for awhile?” Without hesitation, I yelled back, “Sure. Oh, but I need to be back in an hour!” As I walked towards Frank he assured me we would be back in time.
We decided to fly across Long Island Sound to Connecticut. After preflighting his aircraft, Frank took the active runway. Unlike our high wing Cessna, Frank’s airplane was a low-wing type. With a high-speed airstream beneath its wing, the aircraft lifted off and climbed steeply. Departing Brookhaven’s pattern, Frank turned the aircraft to a northerly heading. Climbing out towards Long Island Sound we entered an area of low clouds and fog. After considering the poor visibility, we decided to abandon our original plan and fly over Long Island’s East End instead.
At this point, neither Frank nor I could ever imagine how this unplanned pleasure flight would turn into a near disaster. Frank executed descending turns to 1000 feet and turned the aircraft to an easterly heading. The low wing aircraft seemed to respond well in shallow and 60 degree banked turns. Over the roar of the 150 horsepower engine, Frank shouted—“Lou, you want to take it awhile?” Again, without thinking twice, I yelled back, “O.K.!” Sitting in the co-pilot’s seat, (the right side of the cockpit) I grabbed the control wheel with my right hand and the throttle with my left hand, and began to fly the airplane.
A pilot with over 300 hours in mostly high wing aircraft—I felt comfortable banking the airplane in 60 degree banked turns to the left and to the right. Despite the steep attitude, I was able to maintain airspeed and altitude. I was proud of myself. Having a good time, I forgot I had never flown this type of airplane, or for that matter---never controlled any aircraft from this side of the cockpit.
Breaking the silence of the flight, Frank boasted, “Doesn’t a low wing airplane respond well at low altitudes?” “Yeah, Frank, but I still feel more comfortable flying a high wing like the Cessna. They’re more forgiving you know,” I added. The debate over the low/high wing continued. The hour passed. It was time to head back to the field.
“Lou, do you want to take it in?” asked Frank. Again, forgetting about my lack of training in this aircraft and battling a strong performance record in my brief time piloting the airplane, I foolishly said yes.
Approaching Brookhaven’s traffic pattern I began my descent. Under Frank’s directions I reduced the throttle to 1700 RPM’s and lowered 10 degrees of flaps. With my right hand on the wheel controlling altitude and heading and my left hand on the throttle controlling power, I flew the aircraft into the airport-landing pattern at 1100 feet.
Knowing I had agreed to land this strange airplane, I began to tense up. The most challenging maneuver for any pilot is landing. Each landing is different due to changing wind directions and pilot performance. Now, in an unfamiliar airplane I was preparing to execute the most difficult piloting skill.
Making descending left turns around the pattern; I put down the flaps to 30 degrees. During this time, Frank issued further power reductions and altitude changes. At an altitude of 600 feet, I made a descending left turn, which placed the aircraft on final approach to landing. Listening to Frank’s directions, I pulled the throttle back to reduce our airspeed and altitude. Frank’s airplane descended quicker than the Cessnas I was used to flying. We were losing altitude too quickly for a safe landing. The runway threshold was straight-ahead and coming up fast!
My arms tightened, my hands were welded to the controls in a grip of fear. Getting closer to the runway, our altitude decreased from 600 to 500 to 400 feet. My apprehension moved from fear to panic. Frank yelled, “Give it more power!” Then it happened! In my confusion I got cross-controlled. Sitting in the right seat, I reversed the functions of the control wheel and throttle. Instead of adding power, I cut the throttle all the way back, and pulled the control wheel towards me, putting the aircraft in a steep climb with the propeller barely turning. The airplane was now in a near-stall condition. In this flight attitude there is not enough air flowing over the upper wing’s surface to sustain lift on the wings. A stall close to the ground is very dangerous since there is not enough altitude to dive the aircraft and recover airspeed and control.
In anger, and fear in his voice, Frank yelled, “What are you trying to do, kill us?” The airplane was out of control. With seconds remaining before the stall, I shouted back, “Take it, take it!’ Frank shot back, “You got it, you got it!’ But I didn’t.
Though this was Frank’s airplane and his faithful instructions led us to the runway path, I realized I was now on my own. Somehow, I was to land the aircraft. Fighting desperately to get the airplane under control, this time I added full power and pushed the control wheel forward, putting the aircraft in a full power dive. With only 300 feet of altitude, I yelled out again, “Frank, take the controls!’ But he didn’t.
In my third attempt to get the airplane under control, I pulled the throttle out and yanked the control wheel all the way back. Once again, we were heading for a power-off, low altitude stall condition. I knew this time we were going to stall the airplane, and fall out of the sky, crashing on the runway nose first. Frank and I were going to die. It seemed nothing could change our destiny.
Then it happened. With only seconds away from our death, I remember calling out, “God help us!” Suddenly my arms felt light again. My hands became coordinated with the controls. Pushing the control wheel forward and at the same time adding power with the throttle, the aircraft returned to straight and level flight. Without uttering a word, Frank suddenly raised his arms and placed his hands on the controls. In exhaustion and relief, I dropped my arms to my lap.
Frank raised the nose of the airplane and gained altitude, aborting the landing. Going around the flight pattern again, Frank landed the aircraft safely. No words were spoken between Frank and me as he turned onto the taxiway and parked the airplane. As we tied the aircraft down, I tried to tell Frank how sorry I was. Without responding, Frank just walked away.
Rayma and her instructor had landed a few minutes before us. Walking from the coffee shop, Rayma quipped, “Great, you got to go flying too!” I humbly replied, “Come on, Rayma. I’ve got a lot to tell you.” During those days I wasn’t a Christian and didn’t know God. Looking back, I believe God worked through Frank that day to get my attention. Perhaps, that would explain why Frank refused to take the controls at first. I don’t claim to know the mind of God, but I believe God was on board the airplane and served as our pilot in command. Two years later I became a Christian. Blessed with “new” life, I call on God daily and he continues to reach out and help me.
A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE
By Eric Myers
2001 proved to be an especially difficult year for my wife and me. We had been wanting an addition to our family for several years. After several failed fertility treatments, we were uncertain where to turn to next. Our fertility specialists offered few options other than expensive drug therapy. We felt our prayers had been answered when we received our drugs for free. When our in-vetro fertilization attempt failed that summer, we were in a word, crushed.
Our attention then turned to adoption, an option that we had considered before, but felt that we must exhaust all other avenues first. Soon, by word of mouth, we had located a birthmother due in the fall. We excitedly made plans for our new little baby. All was well until the day of the baby’s birth. We had warning signs from the family, but the birthmother assured us that she would hold firm to her commitment to us. Then the day we were to take the baby home from the hospital, the decision was made that they would keep the baby and “try” to raise it on their own. I cannot find the words to describe the loss, disappointment and anger that we experienced. I remember thinking that our story seemed like one out of the book Chicken Soup for the Soul, but for some reason someone forgot to pen the happy ending.
After the disappointment we had endured throughout the year, we decided to spend Christmas alone together. A cabin in the mountains seemed to be the ideal getaway, and a cabin in Gatlinburg, TN was rented. The day before we were to leave, I awoke before Jennifer and began to recall what we had been through the previous 12 months. My heart ached as I thought of the pain that she had endured and how much she deserves to have a baby of her own. I started to pray and reminded God of the kind, loving motherly heart that He gave her. I have asked God to bring a baby into our lives many times before, but this time I asked God to give us a baby for Christmas. It would be a fitting end to an otherwise dismal year.
We really enjoyed our time away, especially at the cabin in a beautiful part of the country. Our Christmas was very nice, and as we laid down for an afternoon nap, I was a bit saddened as I recalled my prayer. The day was half over and nothing had happened, so I went upstairs to pray. I reminded God of my prayer for a Christmas baby. I didn’t care how; I was ready to turn it over to God. I prayed that He would blow us away when His plan was revealed to us. Little did I know that His plan was already a gale force wind.
The rest of our Christmas day was spent with the usual calls to and from family. Then I did something I don’t recall doing on Christmas in my adulthood. I called my brother, Willard, who lives in Houston. During our conversation of “what did you get”, he received another call. After a few minutes of resumed conversation, afraid that he might upset me or reopen wounds, reluctantly, Willard told me that the call he just received was from a friend of his wife, Stacey. Her friend was calling to tell her that her niece had a baby that morning. She was giving the baby up for adoption, but the adoptive parents backed out because the baby was unexpectedly bi-racial. Stacey’s friend knew from a previous conversation that we were trying to adopt and wanted to know if we were interested. My mind immediately raced to my prayer. Of course we were interested!
After several calls to family, our attorney, and the birthmother, it appeared that this was going to happen. Knowing we would not sleep that night, we loaded up at midnight and headed back home to Huntsville, AL. The following morning we flew to Houston and picked up our precious Christmas baby at the hospital.
I always believed that God had a plan, a big plan, to bring a baby into our lives, but I never expected a miracle! Praise be to God for His infinite wisdom and mindfulness to answer our prayers.
Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be open unto you. Matthew 7:7
Eric, Jennifer, and Lydia Myers
Copyright © 2006