Vahe, the one and only blind person who attends Haigazian University, majors in psychology, gets around with an escort and always holds a black Samsonite. I had the honor to hold his hands for three and a half years ; hands that comforted me instead of me leading them as we went to and from classes, on the way to spiritual life meetings or to his usual sitting place in front of the admissions office. I remember the time when he passed his hands around my face to find out if the image he has of me is similar to what I really look like; this was after we went out from psychology of perception course.

Vahe (image courtesy of Ms. Araz Boutchakjian)

I witnessed the problems he had in his educational life; you can imagine how hard it was for Vahe to constantly search for people who have enough time to read the chapters for him or to take him from place to place; however, he never gave up. Many times I got upset in his place, yet he remained calm; even in his stress, he had this positive attitude that things will be okay. God’s presence with Vahe was very clear providing him with enough patience and serenity to go through the hard times he experienced.

During his last semester in university, Vahe found out that he had cancer. Can you think of a better timing? Or shall I say “the worst timing”?! many people prayed for him. Vahe was able to make it to graduation; he walked up to the stadium and got his diploma. Everybody were on their feet clapping and appreciating his strength and will power. I have never seen that amount of excitement showing in his facial expressions.

Few weeks later, he died. I struggled a lot with God, asking questions, wondering the reasons, demanding explanations. Why Vahe? Wasn’t it enough that he was blind and suffered a lot already? Couldn’t death find someone who suffered less than Vahe? As I was haunting myself with these thoughts and arguing with God, I remembered the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible which states that anything might happen to anybody; Negative and positive incidents happen to both good and bad people. Laughter and tears are part of life. Death is also part of life; its forms might differ, yet death is inevitable for all. Knowing this fact doesn’t make Vahe’s death any less painful; however, it keeps me away from blaming God for what happened to Vahe because God is graceful and loving; He doesn’t work with punishment-reinforcement technique. God never creates negative situations; however, He is loving enough to make use of even the negative situations and make the best out of them. How do I know this? I know this through enjoying life with God and through trusting the following verse which is found in Romans 8:28 “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”.

Death may be an end to many things; an end to living with one’s family and friends; an end to walking in the same neighborhood; an end to being in the same body. What was death for Vahe? I don’t know, but I know that Vahe was a Christian believer, and for Christian believers, death is not THE END; it is a continuity of the journey they started with God.

It is true that Vahe’s life on earth is over; however, his spiritual life is in its greatest shape. He is with his Lord appreciating his eternal life and guess what? He is using his full sight.

It is a great accomplishment to be remembered positively while living; it is a greater accomplishment to be remembered after death. For me, Vahe’s death is a constant reminder of his life and of the foremost thing I learned from him: contentment.

I don't know the reasons behind his death, I can't understand or even accept; all I can do is pray that his death, like his life, be a wake-up call for the blind in spirit and for all of us to stop nagging and be content with the lives we have. Let us not worry for what we don’t have, but let us think of how we can make good use of what we have to be a refreshing example to others just like Vahe was, is and will remain a model of contentment to me.

Thank you Vahe.

Hagop Akbasharian,
Armenian Evangelical Marash Church, Chanitz member
NEST student