“Shine your light and make a positive impact on the world; there is nothing so honorable as helping improve the lives of others.” ― Roy T. Bennett
When I was a little girl, my uncle Charlie would sometimes babysit my five siblings and me. He would put on his favorite show M.A.S.H and make us watch it with him. I hated this show with a passion. Mainly because, at eight years old I resented having to do anything I didn’t want to do, and the show’s subject matter and humor was lost on me. My uncle Charlie was blind and because he was blind, I thought I could sneak away and not have to endure what I believed to be an oh-so-boring show. I would softly and slowly get up from my seat on the sofa and tip toe out of the tv room. Half way to freedom I would hear, “Sit down!”
“Gahhhh! How do you know I’m up? You’re blind!” I would shout, angry and frustrated.
His reply “I’m blind, not deaf. Now sit. ”
If you’re an old-school Nantucketer, you may even have known my uncle Charlie. Named after his father (and my Grandfather) Charlie Flanagan, he was cut from the same cloth: Good sense of humor, a solid sense of right and wrong, and brought up with the desire to help others. My uncle contracted Type I Diabetes as a very young child. It put a lot of strain on his body. As his eyesight deteriorated, he decided to have retinal surgery. The doctor told him to not lift anything heavier than five pounds, and to go easy on himself. While recuperating from surgery, he was awakened by a horrific car crash outside my grandparents’ house. Being an EMT and firefighter, he immediately ran outside to help. My uncle made a snap decision to put someone else’s life above his own. There were three people in the burning car. Without hesitation, my uncle pulled one person from the car and was pulling a second passenger out over the front seat when the Fire Department arrived. The stress of lifting the men cost him his eyesight. My uncle left this world years ago while still a young man. Still there are reminders of him that linger: books in Braille, his walking cane, and his medical bracelet.
I don’t know what it’s like to go blind, to see the vibrant colors of life, the face of someone I love or the beauty of nature one day and then the next, darkness. I’ll be honest, I do often take for granted that I have working eyes. Having sight is something many of us take for granted. Reality is, we don’t understand something until we experience it for ourselves, nor do we understand the loss of something so important until it’s gone. I recently watched The Illumination, a film by TNP Ideafilm. The film is about Gordon Gund, an American businessman and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He and his wife Lulie Gund are working together to cure blindness. To me, this film is more than a story of traversing Point A to Point B. The film’s name speaks for itself, The Illumination, which means light that shines on something. I ugly-cried throughout the film for it illuminated a part of something within me. I won’t share exactly what because I don’t want to influence your experience. When you see this film, perhaps you’ll have a different experience. I will say this film is beautiful, peaceful, uplifting and a love story. It is astonishing to me how such a short film could pack all of this into under twenty minutes. Films such as these help us to experience someone else’s viewpoint, to lift the veil of someone else’s story to reveal how deep it may go within ourselves. It’s a beautiful gift that we have people in the world who are willing to share their stories. This film and the love between Gordon and his wife Lulie struck a mighty cord within me, especially in regard to my uncle. If you know me, you know I love love, and always want to bring more love into the world. To me, this is more than a great love story. It shows how deep love can be when two people come together for the greater good of all. This inspiring encounter of Gordon and Lulie Gund and the work they are doing to help cure blindness illuminates the love you can see between these two beautiful souls. It’s truly remarkable. Not only does it make you believe the good in the world, but it is a reminder of what truly matters in life. To know there are people who are bringing more love into the world through different avenues and achieving a goal is magic. It makes me think of the words of Naren Nagin, “Many have sight but few have vision.”
I invite you to come see this movie and experience this remarkable story for yourself. There will be one showing at 4:45pm-5:45pm Friday June 23rd at the Dreamland Main Theater. This movie has won numerous awards, which includes Audience Favorite. After the screening, Gordon Gund, Lulie Gund and Tom Scott, who directed the film, will be answering questions and discussing the film. If you’re interested, click here to purchase your tickets. Be sure to put my name, Dorothy Stover, in the ‘Friend of’ box. I am almost certain this movie is going to sell out fast and I want to make sure I get the word out to you so you can come join in The Illumination. It’s a Nantucket Love Bubble moment you have the opportunity to be a part of. The $15 ticket guarantees you a seat for what’s sure to be an uplifting screening of The Illumination and the discussion with Gordon Gund, Lulie Gund and Tom Scott.
About the Film (From The Nantucket Film Festival Website)
Director: Tom Scott, Co-Director: Dan Honan | Producer: Pamela Duevel | USA / 2017 / 19 min / Documentary
Friday, June 23, 2017
4:45-5:45 PM (please note there will be plenty of time for viewers to make it to the Casino for the Screenwriters Tribute at 6:30pm)
Dreamland Main Theater, 17 S Water St, Nantucket
In a remarkable twist of fate, the decades-long effort of one blind person, Gordon Gund, makes it possible for another, Yannick Duwe, to see.
Here’s the link again. When you purchase your ticket, make sure to put my name, Dorothy Stover, in the “Friend of” box. Look forward to seeing you there!