Let’s sit a while in the park and imagine some things. Imagine seeing the trees dance to the breeze. Imagine seeing lots of birds on tree branches. Imagine seeing a dog barking at the birds up the tree.
Now, imagine that the world around you is mute—you’re seeing the trees dance but you can’t hear the sound of the breeze, you’re seeing lots of birds but you can’t hear them sing, you’re seeing a dog looking at the birds up the tree but you can’t actually hear it bark.
Such is the world of deaf or hard of hearing people. They do not hear anything or if they do, they only hear teeny-weenie fuzzy vibrations of sounds. One time, I just sat in a corner watching them, contemplating on how blessed they are in their silent world, for they can not hear the rattles of the earth nor the cries and the sighs of the hearing world.
But is their world really silent?
They may not hear with their ears but they do with their eyes. They can see colors, movements, and feelings. For almost every sound that they can not hear, they can see or feel something associated to the sound.
They may not speak with their lips but their facial expression and body language say as much as the human voice. And when they speak with their hands, they do it beautifully. Every time I see them sign, I see rhythm, I see patterns. I see fluid movements. I see beauty. I even see the elements of dance. Wait, did I just write ‘dance’? Oh yes, they do dance. They can dance! Even to the music that they can’t hear.
They may not hear with their ears but I’m sure they can clearly hear sounds with their heart —sounds that are even better than that of an orchestra. These are the sounds of friendship, love, and concern. These are the sounds of hearts beating for them—hearts of their family and friends, hearts of those who do not judge them, hearts of those who support their cause, and hearts of smiling strangers they meet as they journey in life every single day.
I hope we’ll all find in our hearts a sincere appreciation of our brothers and sisters who are hearing impaired.
(My gratitude to the Hands for Praise community for the experience. Congratulations on your 10th anniversary. Congratulations, too, to the graduates! Keep signing and keep serving. Keep supporting deaf awareness. For more pics, click here.)