A Kid Who Cannot See the Stars

Jang Hui-won from Seongnam, South Korea

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The sound of kids’ laughter never ceased in a vacant lot in my neighborhood. Kids played there, forgetting about their hunger, and whenever it became dark, they gathered to count stars and look for constellations. Everybody enjoyed it except for one kid—me.

“There are so many stars up there. You really don’t see any?”

“Look! Connect those stars. They make the Big Dipper. It looks just like a ladle, just as we learned it at school.”

“…”

Whenever my friends asked me all these questions, pointing at the dark sky, I couldn’t say anything. They said the stars shine beautifully in the dark night sky like scattered jewels but those were just something I could only imagine.

Why can I not see those stars? My mom told me that a balanced diet would help my eyesight, so I tried not to be a picky eater. I also tried to take vitamins regularly, thinking I might have night blindness, which I also learned in class, but it didn’t work. I still couldn’t see the stars.

Time passed, and while living a busy life, I was forgetting about the sadness that I was unable to see the stars; I was too busy to look at the sky. However, I encountered a bigger problem. I was unable to see other things, too. When it got dark, I couldn’t see some houses, trees, and people.

I went to the doctor belatedly and learned that I had retinitis pigmentosa. It is an obstinate eye disease; the degeneration of the cells in the retina worsens eyesight, narrows vision, and in the worst case, it can lead to blindness. I thought I easily tripped because of my clumsiness, but it was because I couldn’t see well.

After learning about my disease, I remembered an expression, “If the body is worth a thousand dollars, the eyes are worth nine hundred dollars.” I guess that’s how much the eyes are important.

‘Then do I have only 10% left in my life?’

I felt dejected, but I wasn’t too miserable. Although it is quite hopeless physically, I have hope, because my spiritual eyes are healthy. Perhaps being unable to see the truth that our souls definitely need might be sadder than being unable to see what is in front of us. I can see the light of the truth hidden like treasure, instead of the light of the stars anybody can see. How blessed am I?

I look up at the sky with a thankful heart, not in desperation. The stars must be shining bright somewhere out there. God has promised that He would make me shine forever like the stars in the sky. With happy anticipation, I imagine traveling the world of countless stars in the vast heavens.