Clearer vision with a brighter future

Published 6:20 am Wednesday, November 8, 2023

By Steve Stricker

Every day, 24 hours, me a Cradle Catholic, strong faith, daily Mass, am dealing with my life being over at any one of these hours by eye pressure issues, macular degeneration, PED’s (Piment Epithelial Detachment) all a major cause of blindness in my one eye – fighting by faith.

“Faith is a journey inspired by restless questioning, fraught with risk, powered by perseverance in prayer and charity, and culminating in the awe, wonder and worship of the Lord.”  Pope Francis January 7, 2023.  “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. (Heb. 11:1).”

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Faith, a one-syllable, simple word that these definitions admirably sum up, seconds to read, but have struggled my entire life to firmly acquire.  At the search end of faith is God who we cannot see, and his will for us, not ours.  Yes, we hear it on Sunday, see amazing faith stories on EWTN, read about in scripture, newspapers, our own witness, but when the bullets are flying around your head, letting go and trusting what can’t be seen has been a life journey for me.

Pursuit of faith is the one constant in my life – the agony and ecstasy.  Once acquired, wonderful, daily Mass, life given daily to God, why can’t I let go and let God take me from then on? – rhetorical question, because I’m human!  In some ways Vietnam was for me the epitome of faith, daily major fear, death accepted, life to God.  

Then life – home, marriage, three sons, miscellaneous jobs, divorce, SEMO, Ole Miss, NMRC and after 20/10 vision all my life, came 2011 a year of immense stress!  Engaged to a girl from Scotland (professed atheist) was never going to work, forced to retire early because of major hip pain, nonetheless planning to move to Scotland, she broke the engagement (thank you God) and shortly after the dominos fell: both hips replaced three months apart, vitrectomy surgery both eyes, two procedures to remove gall bladder, then, “something” broke loose in my body causing an occlusion in my right dominant eye, losing it immediately and have been fighting eye pressure, glaucoma and total blindness since….  

Major life changing stress from May 2022 until recently has perhaps led to more scary severe eye issues: vision diminishing, macular degeneration, PEDs (Pigment, Epithelial Detachment) that can lead to blindness…in my only eye. Alone, healthy, facing giving up all I have, independent lifestyle for the next 30-plus years in an 8-by-8 room, being told what to do, makes all the life and death issues I experienced in Vietnam seem like child’s play and I am honestly, terrified!

But there is one variable rarely covered by every day medical science and not capable of human explanation – that wonderful faith and God’s will.  Since 2020 I have been praying to many saints, especially a nine-day novena to Mary Undoer of Knots, and St. Joseph, “this has never been known to fail so really want what you ask.” That want is for my eyesight to be fully restored. – I’m from the Show Me State of Missouri – is this finally happening???

Since seeing retina specialist, Dr. Mohammed Rafleetary recently, having let go of all that other stress since May 2022, truly forgiving all involved, my vison has miraculously cleared, especially around me as I drive, not having to wear prescription glasses, distance still not clear and PED effects are still scarily there like waiting for the “other shoe to drop!”  Please God, please let my vision clearing be permanent with no other issues. Please, God.

Through it all, one has to continue living, so: GO REBELS, BEAT GEORGIA!!!!

Steve is an Oxford resident, received his Ph.D. in Counseling from Ole Miss, and can be reached at,