Sighted Guide: Why I Quit My Job

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB 2020

I should have been rushing out of the house yesterday morning, after chugging my coffee and scurrying around for my keys. Shoulda been headed to one school or another, meeting with an amazing team of TVIs (Teachers of Visually Impaired) and other braillists. I should have been figuring out the logistics of which schools, students, and folks I would be working alongside for the upcoming semester.

But I quit my job.

It was a rewarding job; one that continually received fun reactions when I told people what I did for a living. “You’re a what?! I’ve never heard of that. That’s so cool. “

I loved the challenge of teaching myself to sight read and write the embossed bumps that visually impaired students use to communicate the written word, and I passed my braille certification with the Colorado Department of Education on the first try – something I’m told doesn’t happen often.

The pay was great and I didn’t worry about money. I liked the team.

So why did I quit? (Glad you asked.)

Before becoming a braillist, I assisted high school students who struggled with cognitive disabilities. One year there was a student in the classroom that had no physical sight, and her TVI taught us the importance of “sighted guides.” Normally this student could travel throughout the school by herself relying on her hearing and her white cane, tapping it from side to side in front of her, to find her way around. On occasion, however, the class might travel to an unfamiliar location or there might be a situation with potential danger for the visually impaired. During fire drills with a mass exodus of students streaming out of the high school into adverse weather conditions, or when crossing a busy parking lot to get to a nearby field a student who is blind might need the assistance of a sighted guide.

A sighted guide is a person with vision who helps one without vision safely navigate such scenarios.

A guide first offers their assistance by asking would you like a sighted guide? It is important that sighted guides are granted permission. They never force the student or person without sight. After the student gives consent, or personally asks for a sighted guide, the guide verbally offers their arm, and holds it out or brushes it against the student’s hand. The student who is blind can then lightly grasp the guide’s arm just above the elbow and follow the guide’s leading. The guide usually will give a verbal description of what is happening or where they are going and the person without sight relies on the guide rather than his or her cane.

Trust is one of the most important factors when a sighted guide is utilized – the more the person without sight trusts the one with vision, the more relaxed and willing they are to follow.

So yeah, back to the question – why did I quit my job?
In 1991 I surrendered my life to the Lord. Over the the last three decades I’ve learned to trust Him and His ways. I’ve discovered that when I follow His guidance into the unknown, I end up in a more abundant place than I can get to by relying on my own white cane of logic and worldly wisdom.
The Holy Spirit is never forceful; He speaks in a quiet voice, often confirming through other people and circumstances and the Scriptures when the path I am taking is full of obstacles and snares that will keep me from where I am supposed to be. Truth is, even knowing this, I haven’t always listened.

When a braillist position opened up in our school district and a couple of people from the vision team persuaded me to apply for the job, I heard the Lord whisper “let Me guide you somewhere else.” Likewise, both a spiritual mentor and my husband suggested that although the job sounded great, maybe God had other plans for me?

Are you familiar with the book of Ruth in the Bible? In the first 5 verses of chapter 1, we learn about a man named Elimelech. Elimelech and his family lived in Bethlehem. But there was a famine in the land. Elimelech packed up his wife and two sons and moved them to Moab, likely thinking he needed to provide for his family and there was plenty of food in Moab. Maybe he was afraid his family would starve if they stayed where they were.

But. Moab was NOT the Promised Land and it was not the place for Elimelech and his family; he was leading them away from the One who promised to be their provider. Although he escaped the famine in Bethlehem, Elimelech soon died, leaving his wife and boys in this foreign land, a land that did not worship the Lord. Elimelech’s sons married Moabite women, apparently planning to stay put, but within ten years they also both died. So much for a safer place.

What the world considers logical can be deadly, and what appears to be the safe place, often isn’t. In fact, like in Elimelech’s story, following what makes sense to the world can lead to death in one form or another: death of dreams, passions, personal values, the fruit of the spirit, energy levels, and so much more.

I knew that. But I did the Elimelech thing anyway.

I plunged ahead, the tap-tap of my cane forging my way. It just made so much sense, this braillist job. Tap-tap. I loved the challenge of learning to sight read and write braille. Tap-tap. I loved working with the students. Tap-tap. It would make for a decent retirement if I kept working with this public school district. Tap-tap. Tap-tap. Tap-tap.

I ignored the Lord’s outstretched arm. No thank you, I’ve got this.

I didn’t say that, but my actions did.
And I found myself in a place where I likely was never meant to go. I could feel it in the depth of my soul. This isn’t your land. You are in the wrong place. For months I struggled with these thoughts. But God is a God of second chances. (and third and fourth and…) That quiet Voice spoke again.

You need to let go of the cane and follow Me. Quit your job.
But Lord, I like the security.
I am your security.
But where am I going?
Do you trust Me? Take my arm, I will guide you.

And just like that, after months of struggle, all of my arguments melted. Before the end of the school year, in order to allow the team time to find a replacement, I let them know I wouldn’t be returning. Confirmations of my decision came, one after another.

I know God is faithful. I’m not sure where exactly I’m going to end up but I am confident it is a safer place; a land as verdant as a Vermont spring, a land flowing with all that I need.

So yesterday, instead of getting ready for “back to school” with the vision team, I reviewed my current module for a Christian Life Coach Certification course that I am enrolled in, and prepped for the day’s class. I don’t know where this path is going to take me. One step at a time, I’m hanging on to the Lord and moving forward into the unknown. Because I trust His leading. He is my forever faithful Guide.

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 NASB

How about you? Do you sense the Spirit leading you into a new place? I’d love to pray for you as you follow Him.


Marie with a 🙂

PS Can I ask you a favor? I have probably lost a lot of readers due to inconsistent writing (you know, while I was living in that wrong place) and in addition to becoming a certified Christian Life Coach, I have some other exciting ventures coming up – please share the post or my blog if you think it might encourage someone. <3

8 thoughts on “Sighted Guide: Why I Quit My Job

  1. Thank you for sharing your heart and your journey. I too feel the nudge to step with God rather that wait on my plan. God bless you

    • You are so sweet…I miss seeing you at ACHS! I think you are pretty wise and could mentor lots of people yourself. (The first thing I would do as a coach though, is share the difference between coaching, mentoring and counseling 😉 ) Hope you have a wonderful school year! You make a difference in so many lives. <3

  2. Hey Marie,
    I’m not on social media anymore so I can’t share but I was so happy to see this in my email.
    I’ll be praying for you as you venture into the unknown with the Lord by your side.
    Your messages always resonate with me. This is something I’ve struggled with my entire Christian walk. Blindly making choices instead of prayerfully considering each one. I too have found myself in places I shouldn’t be, no matter how benign.
    Thank you and Lord bless!

    • You literally came to mind just yesterday!! I was wondering where/how you are doing. I am going to be in the state where you once told me you lived this upcoming week. My e-mail address is under the contact me portion of my blog – you should shoot me an e-mail, then let me know here if you can that you sent one so I can be looking for it <3

  3. I finally gave up and decided to try it this way. Haha. I couldn’t find a ‘contact me’ icon.
    Let me know if you get this.

    Sent from my iPhone

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