Bad things happen

"Bad things happen to good people, disappointments are common. It’s not because God is any different. We’re different. We can’t change a lot. But we can change our response to it.”

 As a freelance journalist, I have the luxury of picking and choosing which stories to research. I was thrilled when my editor with the York Daily Record/Sunday News passed along an opportunity to interview Dr. Edward Hersh.

Dr. Hersh, who was born in the same small Pennsylvania town as me, is an author, activist, minister and counselor. He also is blind.

With help from technology and a lot of determination, Hersh accommodates his condition without letting it hold him back from his dreams.

I feel a connection with Dr. Hersh beyond just sharing the same childhood setting. Hersh’s visual acuity is 20/400, which is what a doctor originally projected would be my daughter’s acuity as well. It turns out that my girl, who is now 9, has a more mild visual impairment. It can't be corrected with glasses or surgery, but it has never held back my determined, resourceful, amazing child.

Even so, I’ll always carry that moment when I held my 4-month-old baby as a doctor told me she might never learn to read or even make out that giant E at the top of the vision chart. It seemed so devastating, so life altering.

I would’ve loved then to know Dr. Hersh and his inspiring story.

 I tell my daughter now that everyone faces challenges. Some people are even born with them. But those challenges only define us with our permission.

Dr. Hersh proves it.