‘Through the Dark’

Through the Dark, by Yolanda Nava, author, Hispanic celebrity, and frequent visitor to Santa Barbara, is a profoundly important book. She held a recent interview with Frank Shaeffer of University United Methodist Church of Isla Vista, and she responded in person to participant questions about her book on the sudden change in her life.

Many of us find ourselves adapting to a new set of conditions in life, coping with fear of more delays in restoration of a preferred normal. Her story is about self-determination in the face of not only difficult obstacles, but radical, permanent, physical ones. Mostly, for believers in their own spiritual life, it is about faith, and deeply held values that a strong spiritual life offers when facing near-death situations.

Nava’s book will convince you and empower you to see that your own life mostly presents what Bernie Sanders calls the small stuff, easily overcome with a few changes in beliefs or attitudes. This story is about real change needed, alongside the basic difficulties we all face in relationships, false expectations, loss of people, or things valued, and in the face of overwhelming financial pressures.

Becoming blind at the peak of one’s professional and successful personal life is more serious. Nava’s story takes the reader toward rethinking emotional responses in any life-changing situation. Would you react differently? Would you have succumbed to self-pity, dropped out of the seemingly cruel approaches to reeducation? Could you have let go of the unfairness of your own lawyer finding a spouse the victim of another’s blindness, rather than remaining objective?

Seeking empathy or pity is not Nava’s purpose. She discovers a greater self-appreciation and the rebuilding of self-esteem. In the brutally honest collapse of her life, she recovers, works with new strategies, successful on her own terms.

Human frailty and vulnerability are the anatomy taught here, not religion. Every part of outer life becomes dark, except for that inner light one possesses — the pilot light of remembering nature in all its colors, positive events in detail, hopes landing in an inner vista to surround you with fresh energy.

Yolanda Nava’s journey is not about what we cannot see, but what becomes lucid and vivid in our inner thinking. There are also people revealed who prey in an unusual way on people with sudden disability. As one reviewer emphasizes, it is important to see she is not a blind woman — but a woman who became blind and overcomes its limitations to continue her call in life.

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