Opinion

Loss of sight won’t affect his outlook on life

My roommate sits down at his computer, ranting about the amount of organic chemistry work he has to do. A Facebook status pops up on my new feed about how deeply stressful work is when a customer is mean. Endless posts appear online about a poor guy being friend-zoned.

Meanwhile, Lonnie Bedwell takes joy in skiing down a single slope at Pico.

And he’s completely blind.

Recently, a reporter for the Spartan wrote a story about the United States Association of Blind Athletes’ outing to Pico, and she described the experience as “incredibly humbling” and “amazing.” She had the pleasure of speaking with Bedwell, a Navy veteran, carpenter, skier, and single father of three daughters (his wife left him after he became blind). For someone with the odds stacked that immensely against him, one may expect a slightly gloomy disposition on life.

Well, that assumption would be wrong.

“All I know is I’ve been going to the top of the hill and going down, and I’m as happy as a possum on a slop bucket,” to quote him exactly.

After Bedwell became blind, his wife left him and he took sole care of his three daughters, whom he promised he wouldn’t get too involved in anything until he got them through college. A feat even more incredible, perhaps, is that he took up carpentry after becoming blind. He now builds houses for 40 hours a week, despite having absolutely no vision.

A lot of students have been complaining about lousy ski conditions on the mountain this year, and many of them have access to Killington, which is the better of the two mountains. This man, however, came all the way from Indiana to ski one trail on Pico a few times and had absolutely no complaints. All he could think about is how blessed he was to have people who cared enough to help him.

College can be difficult, this is a fact. However, is it so difficult that you have to stop your day to complain about how terribly difficult it is and how no one else quite understands how hard you have it?

Lonnie Bedwell would clearly answer, “No.”

Amidst this amazing tale of happiness against all odds, lessons can be found for those who are fortunate enough to have all of their senses. You may have a lot of homework now, but you won’t in a year. You probably won’t have the same homework next week, and you certainly won’t be carrying the same burden for 15 years.

Sure, everyone can complain all they want, but what good will it do? If a blind man hasn’t lost sight of that fact, there’s no excuse for anyone else.

– Nick Minarik