Have you ever been labelled 'different' in any way? Do you have any abnormality or deficiency which makes you stand out from the ordinary?
As an eye care practitioner, I occasionally met some people who are different compared to the normal human population. Some of the abnormality acquired as they grow older, while others have been different, ever since they are born. Some of these deficiencies are obvious, while others are only known to themselves. Some of the conditions are diagnosed by my colleague, lecturers (while in university), doctors, or me (depending on the severity of the condition). Not that I was oblivious to how the patients feel about the conditions they're dealing with, but somehow or other, one occasionally forgets how it feels to be in their shoes.
Yet one question came up recently, asked by a friend: "What are the advantages of being colour blind?" The random inquiry got me thinking... yes, being colour blind (a more accurate term which is colour vision deficiency-CVD) may be a disadvantage, if observed from one angle: that you are 'different', and you are unable to work in certain jobs or distinguish certain colours. Yet looking at it from another perspective, there are hidden blessings waiting to be discovered amidst the difficulties. Let's see what some of them are...
|~Rainbows: what some colour vision deficiency people see~|
Ever since I was small, I was used to people around me being a bit different from myself, and different from the crowd. My brother, a close friend now, and a good rival when we're younger, is one of them. Another is my best friend during secondary school. However, in spite of their disadvantage in terms of appearance, both of them grew very strong and healthy personalities. Sure, they're both teased and laughed at occasionally. But they learn to find true friends, voice out their thoughts, and strengthen their self esteem with the help of great teachers, friends and family. Both are now one of the most confident people I know.
In a sense, Allah made them different, but He moulds their character like no one else can, giving them great people to befriend and love them. In colour vision deficiency context, you do have slight difficulty in identifying some colours from each other, yet you have discovered friends who don't mind helping you out in distinguishing them apart, and not laugh at you if you confuse them. As it is, most of the time, should you lack one thing, you are given an edge elsewhere by The Most High, Most Merciful.
There are certain limitations to having colour vision defect; for certain wavelength of colours may seem similar to others. Certain day-to-day activities such as identifying traffic light colours, certain electrical components, and jobs such as train operators and electrician may be restricted for them. Yet, one should be thankful. For in this world, there are people who have so much less than what we do. Vision-wise, some people are blind ever since they are born. Others find that their vision is reducing day by day. Some people have very limited vision that not even the best of spectacles can help them see as we do. Other people have a lack of pigments on their eyes, and thus have very high sensitivity to light. These are just some of the many other types of eye conditions which some people suffer. Yet all in all, no matter what our condition is, be it a simple case of short-sightedness, a reversible case of cataract, CVD, or even blindness, remember that Allah made us all in the best possible way. We are chosen to be special in that sense.
The conditions, deficiencies, and disabilities... those are part and parcel of who we are. A reminder for us, that we are indeed very fragile, but Allah loves us all the same. Be thankful for them, and be thankful for the abilities which each one of us has, as well. Allow them to make us more humble as HIS servants. But make sure, that we don't look at them as something which hampers us from going forward. Instead, look at them as obstacles, stepping stones for us to move forward and be better person in serving Allah, and benefiting the society.
|~Pencil colours: what some colour vision deficiency people see~|
All in all, be it someone with perfect vision, colour blind, squinting eyes, dyslexia, handicapped, blind... Let us not be blinded by how great we are, or how bad our condition is. For the reality of this world, which so many people turn a blind eye to, is that this world is but a transient stop to the next life. Whatever our condition is, it is but a temporary test presented to us in this world that will be lifted once we are in Jannah, insyaAllah. Allah does not mind if we are 'different'. No. All He minds is how we face life's tests and undergo our journey in this world, how close we are to The Creator, and how much we try to benefit others, in spite of our limitations.
"O mankind! We have created you from male and female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another. Verily, the most honoured among you in the sight of Allah is the one who is the most righteous." (al-Hujurat: 13)
>> A reminder for me to remember, thoughts for you to ponder and reflect. J