Rob was witness to that piece of obviousness, standing dripping in his yellow slicker. He shucked it off and put it over a chair.
"Vicky, there're probably lots of planets besides us with people on them, don't you think?"
I sat down on one of the low round leather ottomans. "John says we'd be pretty megalomanic if we thought we were the only inhabited planet in all of the solar systems in all of the galaxies."
"Megalomanic. It means thinking you're the most important."
He nodded, looking solemn. "So maybe there's a planet somewhere where nobody has any eyes."
I looked at him, and I thought his own eyes were shadowed, and I wanted to hug him and pull him onto my lap the way I sometimes did when he was very little. But he was sounding as though he felt very grownup. "Could be, I guess."
"Well, if nobody had any eyes, they'd all get along all right without them, wouldn't they?"
"Sure, I guess they'd compensate."
"They'd get along with hearing, and smell, and touch, but they wouldn't have any idea what anything looked like."
I wasn't sure what he was driving at, but I knew that it was important to him. "No, they wouldn't."
"And if someone from our planet went to the planet where no one had eyes, and tried to describe something to them- the way the rain looks falling on the ocean, or the lighthouse beams at night, or the sunrise- it couldn't be done, could it?" He sounded anxious.
I tried to understand. "No. It just wouldn't be possible. If you didn't have eyes, if you lived in a world of touch and sound, then nobody could tell you what anything looks like. Why, Rob?"
He pulled up another ottoman and sat, elbows on knees, chin in hands. "Well, maybe when the people in the planet with no eyes die, then maybe they get sent to planets where there are eyes. But you couldn't tell them about it ahead of time."
"So, maybe when we die, we'll get something as important as sight, but because we don't know what it is, nobody could tell us about it now, any more than we could explain sight to the people on a planet with no eyes."
I still thought of Rob as a baby, but he wasn't a baby any more, and he made a lot of sense. Maybe it wasn't the kind of thing you'd hear in most churches, but it made more sense to me than a lot of sermons. And I thought Grandfather would like it. I asked Rob if he'd told him.
"Not yet. I just thought of it. But I will, sometime when he's - he's at home."
~A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L'Engle, pages 226-228