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Annemarie Vogel | Episode 842
Annemarie Vogel used to work as a medical doctor in Zimbabwe. When Annemarie lost her vision, she returned to the Netherlands and changed her focus to the visual arts. Luckily she is not afraid of a challenge. Annemarie’s work illustrates that sight is more than vision.
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Was making plans a critical part of giving you hope?
No, not at all. I think I had a very…I always felt very safe. My motto was, I don’t know what the future holds but I know who holds the future. And I always felt very safe in God’s hands and that He knew me. I didn’t have to make plans, I would just take it as it goes. And I am now, also with my children, I don’t mind what they achieve but who they are. Who they are themselves, like identity building not achievement building.
So for you a critical part for you to be able to move forward was knowing you were not alone both spiritually and relationally, physically.
Yes, and it’s only for forty years and eternity is longer than forty years. So I will have a flashback, no problem. And I will rewind the present and I will finally see the pots I make.
Was it difficult to become a person that had to start asking for help more often?
Oh yes. Yes. I am not the person to ask for help. I still work alone in my studio or mostly alone. I find it very difficult to ask for help or to ask it in the right way, or to accept help. I am getting better.
Did you have to be willing to just feel the feelings as they came, feelings of disappointment, feelings of despair, feelings of hope? Did you have to go through a time where you had to just accept the feelings that you were going through?
Yes, and what helped me was to put them into sculptures. To feel the feelings and not run away from them. Not run away from darkness but go through it. And not to be afraid of darkness anymore, but to just feel it.
You said you like to be independent, but is accepting support something that something that has become critical for you?
You have to. Also I got bored of my stuff cracking or missing spots on glazing. You need help and it is good to work together, they say.
When I was going through a very difficult time when I was much younger, a friend of mine said to me, Paul, look around. You have it bad, but it is not as bad as… He then went through and named some other people. He then said to take the time to help others. You lived a life that was nothing but helping others when you were a doctor. But now as a person who has lost her sight, is that still an important factor in you life of still trying to be helpful to others?
Yes, I think so. To relate to others. I think a community is not a bunch of individuals together. It is how they relate. I want to make sculptures about that, how people relate. And how difficult it is to accept love, or help. Independent souls is not what makes a community. We as Westerns have a difficult time accepting that. We love our independence. I came from Afrika, and I’ve seen how they live together. How they endure pain together.
One of the things that I’ve been told to help in a trauma is to think bigger than the trauma. How has thinking bigger than blindness given you a sense of a larger life?
That’s who I am. My framework was already bigger than this life. Like how I see life, people, God, eternity, or myself being related to God. It was already much bigger than who I am as an individual. The bigger picture was already there. So I can’t imagine how survive without a bigger picture. I think it is really difficult if you don’t have the bigger picture.
The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger