"I’m often misunderstood ... Sometimes I wonder if they even want to know the real me'

“I was born with congenital blindness. My sister was also born blind, four years later. Our older brother was born sighted, but he passed away when he was six. He was hit by a car. It was incredibly hard for our whole family. We have all grieved.”

“My parents took me to Sunday school but I didn’t understand much back then. Then, one year, we all went to Beach Mission up on the Central Coast. [NSW] We were holidaying up there. I told the leaders that I didn’t believe in God and that I didn’t understand what they were talking about. I went to the programs though, and a few months later, I became a Christian.

“I woke up one morning and I just started praying to God. I was talking to him. It seemed natural. I believed in him. I repented of my sin and I know it was the Holy Spirit at work in me. I said, ‘I want to follow you, Jesus.’ I can’t even explain how it happened. The Holy Spirit just came into my heart and the old me died. I suddenly knew that God was good, and that he loved me, and Jesus died for me.

“I didn’t get a braille Bible for quite a few years. My Nan helped me to get one when I was 20. But in the meantime I went to youth groups and church and Bible study, so I heard the Bible read out… and I began to memorise it. After I finished school, I studied at TAFE. I learned to read and write in Braille. I have a computer with a speech program on it and a braille machine. I have all the technology.

“I live on my own and I shop and cook for myself. I play the piano and the ukulele. I sing and I write my own music in braille. When people meet me, they tend to think it’s amazing. They want to say ‘whoopee’ about all the things I can do. But they don’t understand that the blindness isn’t the hardest part for me. I also have Asperger’s Syndrome, which has a major impact on my life, perhaps more than the blindness. It means that I can take things literally and I can get obsessed with things. I can talk about the functions of the brain for ages, with anyone who will listen, and I have a strange obsession with pierced ears, and an affinity with children’s music.

“I’m often misunderstood. People are inspired by the way I’m able to function, with my blindness, but they don’t always know the real me. Sometimes I wonder if they even want to know the real me.

“The fact that I’m still here today is because God has kept me here. I like the Psalms, especially Psalm 139. It says, “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.” (v1-2) The whole psalm reminds me that God understands me even when no one else does. Even when I feel like I’m the only one on the planet like me, God understands me.

“He made me and he knows me and he gave me the ability to create and to make music. Every day, he is with me. We’re all self-isolating at the moment [because of coronavirus] which is hard for me. I can’t meet my parents as much as I normally do. I can’t hug them, which is really hard. I’m a good hugger!

“But I know that I’m not alone. I’m not completely isolated because God is still with me. And he’s not going to leave.”

Peter’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.

Bible verse Psalm 139:1-2

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