A Lesson from the Deaf

deep-1At 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.

One thought on “A Lesson from the Deaf

  1. Hi Rob, I’m glad you wrote this about listening. My daughter and her husband also went to a Weekend to Remember conference and they loved it. Yeah – listening. It really takes work and concentration! And, to really understand, you have to “listen between the lines” to hear what’s really being said. Thanks for the post and I hope all is well with you!

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