My Aunt Marie set a plate of food before my Uncle Jake, "The potatoes are at 2 o'clock, the chicken is at 4 o'clock and the green beans are at 11 o'clock." I watched Uncle Jake move his hands move toward the edge of the plate to hold his fork, preparing to eat.
At the age of eight, I realized for the first time that my Uncle Jake was blind. I thought about the restrictions that he faced in life. I watched later as he took a large book, laid it on the table, and began running his fingers over the bumps on the page. When I questioned his activity, I learned about Braille. Whereas my eyes simply scanned the page, and the words jumped up into my eyes and told stories to my brain, Uncle Jake read with his hands. Later I tried to 'read' with my fingers but could not discern any meaning from touching the bumpy Braille.
Uncle Jacob was the 6th Jacob Siemens, in a continuous line from Jacob I who born 18 May 1746, in Altmunsterburg, West Prussia, Germany. The Siemens Family left Holland because of religious persecution sometime after the year 1560, immigrated to Danzig area of East Prussia. This area between cities of Danzig and Elbing was swampy forest land owned by a Polish King. Mennonites reclaimed the land using a network of dikes and canals. They were required to learn the German language, church services were in German, schools, too, but in the home Dutch dialect was used. About the same time the Prussian king demanded that Mennonite young men enter military service. The Colony paid the king $5000 a year to exempt them from this service.
His obituary reads - Jacob J. Siemens, son of Jacob B and Emelia (Brunn) Siemens, was born 17 Dec 1898, in McPherson County, near buhler, Kansas, and went to be with his Lord, 29 Mar 1969 at the age of 70 years, 3 months and 12 days. On May 2, 1926, he was united in marriage to Marie E. Huebert in Corn, OK, Washita Co., who was his reader while he attended chiropractic College. To this union was born two daughters, Virginia Siemens Hurt and Helen Siemens Dreschler. Since music was one of his many interests, he loved to sing and play the piano. For many years he taught in the Sunday School, eager to know more about the God of the Word. His favorite scriptures were Psalm 121:1-2 and Philippians 4:8. Among other things, he was interested in history, mathematics, and had an athletic and mechanical mind. He enjoyed fellowship with people, and great joy thrilled his hearts over his five grandchildren.Later Mom taught me Uncle Jake's favorite scripture from Psalm 121:1-3.
I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber.Uncle Jake began his life in the light, but his physical eyes were blinded through accidents when he was a boy. In empathy for Uncle Jake, I blindfolded my eyes and tried to walk and eat. I listened to footsteps, learned that bats, blind as a bat, could sense an impending barrier, with their built-in radar. I wondered what it was like to never see the face of your loved ones - a wife and two beautiful daughters or the grandchildren. As I played the piano, I wondered what it sounded like when you couldn't read the notes, or how could he sing when the words aren't visible but written on your heart. I watched as the Siemens brothers - Dietrich, Jacob, Herman and Johnny sat in a row on wooden chairs tilted against the wall - reminiscing about their life as children.
I wondered if Uncle Jake had another kind of sight that we didn't know about. As I grew older, I read the scripture, John 9:39 - Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind." I sang the song when I was 19 years old and thought of Uncle Jake - from I Corinthians 2:9 - Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
Yes, there are many ways to see without using the miracle of our eyes. We can see with our souls - with our spirit. And in seeing spiritually the things of this world and God's purpose for our lives, we have the promise from Psalm 3:3 - "But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter of my head."
When things in this world seem like more than we can bear, when it seems that we are attacked from all sides, we can lift up our heads, because our Lord is a shield for us.
The prophet Isaiah wrote, "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."Comments
Finally, "There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever." II Corinthians 4:18 (Message)