Letters From Pamela

Seeing More With Just One Eye

Pamela Rittenhouse

August 20, 2012

I think I began to see much more clearly after my accident in 1994 that resulted in a serious head injury and closed my right eye. During the months I recovered, I saw that what I lacked in actual vision was more than offset by the rediscoveries of my perspective on what really matters in my life. I shared these rediscoveries through a series of video reports chronicling my recovery that aired on the television station where I was a reporter at the time — WJXT-TV in Jacksonville, Florida. Of all the stories we did, I think none illustrated better than this one that having one eye shut actually gave me a clearer view.

My Clearer View

I was brought up by parents who value high morals, hard work, love of family and love of God. While they told me I was a pretty girl and made sure I had everything needed to dress up, they also made it clear that I should never measure my value based on how I looked. Accordingly, I should never measure others by something so shallow. Before my accident, I really believed I got that. But when my eye was closed because of my head injury, I was surprised and disappointed by how I felt about the change in my appearance. I realized I had a lesson to learn. It turned out to be a lesson that would stretch throughout the rest of my life. At the time this video was done, I was early in the recovery process. When time passed, and my recovery was complete, my right eye was not the same as my left. I am keenly aware that my face will never be quite right. While that disfigurement makes me less attractive, I believe it makes me more of a person in other ways. More strong. More focused on what I can get done in this world. Definitely more understanding of others who — like me — must accept the fact that something happened that makes them not so pretty.

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall

When I look in the mirror, what do I see? Other than a woman who is beginning to show her age, I see someone constantly blessed by God in amazing ways. For the rest of my days, I will thank Him for being with me when I fell from my bicycle and for sparing my life. For walking beside me during my recovery and making sure I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would be okay. For never leaving me and for loving me, no matter what. That is what I see with my less-than-perfect eyes, and I thank God for this view.