How do people cope and even transcend severe disabling health problems?
What is the impact on their families, friends and work colleagues?
The answer can be a big journey - a journey through fear, mourning, adjusting, learning and struggle - but it can also be a journey of unexpected love, support, faith, incredible human courage and resourcefulness, and even an inspired new creativity.
Touching the Rock
An Experience of Blindness
John M. Hull
About the Author Synopsis Reviews To Order
About the AuthorJohn Hull slowly went totally blind over a number of years due to progressive retinal detatchment. He was Professor of Religious Education at Birmingham University and, after carefully organising his office, he was able to continue his job of teaching and research. Coping at home was much more difficult, with three children (he went on to have two more) who would leave toys and books in unexpected places, and a toddler with toiletting needs.
Disability took Prof. Hull into an (at times) lonely reality which visual people can scarcely comprehend. He points out that just closing your eyes, does not give a true impression of a blind person's experience, because you will still have a seeing person's brain behind those closed eyes.
As his detatched retina progressed from tunnel vision to total blindness, John's memory-bank of images (e.g. of his wife and children) became increasingly historical, and in the case of his youngest child, he had no visual image at all, only an auditory, tactile and olfactory impression.
He also reports the enormous social disadvantage of being unsighted - people can see him coming and going, while for him people may appear and disappear with little or no warning.
The journey that John and his family made began with a strong fight and resistance against creeping incapacity. As the disability increased its grip on their lives, there was fear, depression and mourning of losses to be faced. However, as the power of human adaptativity, courage, learning and resourcefulness shone through, it increasingly became a journey of deep love, support, faith, ingenuity and inspired creativity. Eventually, John came (through a semi-mystical experience at a church on Iona) to realise that he had "Touched the Rock" - found that bedrock of human life and spirit which is untouched by disability and loss.
Amazon review - by Ingram
This calmly eloquent, deeply perceptive memoir of a writer and theologian who lost his vision in his mid-forties conveys the unimaginable and ushers its readers into the world of blindness - a world in which the faces of loved ones recede into memory or speculation while the presence of God becomes supremely important.
A reader from MA, USA
A stunning picture of what it is really like to become blind!
This book was given to me as a gift a few years ago, and while I am neither going blind nor am actually blind, I found many of the ideas and experiences and thoughts and feelings expressed in this book to be very similar to my own. I have some particular cognitive difficulties (prosopagnosia, often called "face blindness") which give me a rather different outlook on life from most people, and I was amazed to see just how much in common my outlook on life was when compared with the author's life experiences. Well, maybe I wasn't that surprised, but it was still an eye-opening (no pun intended) experience for me to read this book in that context.
Needless to say, I enjoyed this book very very much. It reads more like a personal journal or diary than an actual book, and that gives the whole book a very personal experience when reading it.
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