At my church growing up we had a ministry to the hearing impaired. Incidentally that ministry (which used to consist of a signer during church services) has expanded over the years & now they have a pastor who oversees ministry to the deaf). I said all of that to say that I was privileged to observe first hand the community that deaf people share.
Like any affinity group, part of their community comes from shared experience. But I think it’s far more than that. Have you ever watched the beauty of sign language? There is an intimacy in its expression that is beyond words… and I use that phrase intentionally… I really think it is better than words. Signers are not bound by words. They use image to convey message. But the greatest lesson that I have gleaned is the attention that deaf people have to give to each other.
That’s where I’ve been going with this analogy from the start. Christina and I are in a marriage conference that Family Life calls a Weekend to Remember. Yesterday’s focus was on listening. I thought about it all night and already early this morning.
Often as a person with hearing I am guilty of not listening. And even when I do “listen” I am really only hearing and seldom taking the time to comprehend. The picture to the right is the sign (loosely translated) for deep down. That is how I need to listen. That is how I want to listen.
God, help me to pay attention to Christina the way that deaf people must in order to have understanding.