Uniting America Walk, Rev. Dr. Johannes J. Christian, “A Blind Man’s Vision For Unity Through Forgiveness and Reconciliation”

Christian lost his eyesight at age 50 in 2001 due to the actions of a young boy. It was about 11:30 PM on a July evening. Dr. Johannes Christian was on Interstate 70, driving home. As he approached an overpass near Springfield, Ohio, Jacob – one of several boys – hurled a boulder off the bridge. The boulder smashed through the windshield of Dr. Christian’s car, crushing the front part of his skull. His passenger managed to pull the car over to the shoulder safely.

The boulder also had a profound impact on Christian’s family, friends, and communities. “Tyrone, my son, was so angry. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t take Jacob down and beat the hell out of him,” said Christian. Personally, Dr. Christian was angry “at everything: God, the world, the kid who threw the rock…”

It’s true that Christian has learned to cope and adapt to a life without sight: “Shaving!” he said. “I don’t have to shave in front of the mirror. And I can’t drive a car anymore.” But, coping and adapting aside, sometimes the anger still resurfaces: “I don’t know that you’re ever complete with physical and emotional recovery,” he said. “There are moments when I know that I’m blind. I have at least 20 grandchildren whose faces I’ve never seen. Everyone can tell me what my grandchildren look like, but I don’t know what they look like,” said Christian. “They will be here visiting; they will draw a picture and then realize I can’t see their drawing.”


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