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Communicating to People Who Only Know Silence
by Paulette Winter
03/08/06
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I am moving into a new territory that I feel the Lord has led me into. It's exciting to learn new things. There is always something "new" with which to challenge our brains. It's good to exercise your mind and spirit -- not just your body.

I am entering into the world of deafness. I cannot imagine what it must be like. Can you imagine never hearing music, never hearing the birds singing when you awaken, not hearing children laughing, the cries of the anguished, an alarm clock to waken you, or a tea kettle whistling?

Although the deaf live in a world of silence day after day, their other senses are very sharp. So, in some ways, they are more perceptive to the world around them than we who can hear but don't always listen.

I have always wanted to take a sign language class; however, it never seemed to be held on a day that I could attend, or it was too expensive.

Finally, the timing seemed to be "just right." So, I ventured out on a limb and signed up.

Signing is a beautiful language -- a unique way of communicating. I have incorporated signing into some of the worship music that I choreograph. I have had very little knowledge about the proper use of my hands to express heart-felt emotion, not only to the Lord, but especially to the deaf so that they can be included in worship as it is offered to the Lord.

Did you know that signing is classified as a foreign language? It is the third most spoken language -- English being first, followed by Spanish, then signing.

Here are some insights about the deaf that we all need to contemplate:
* Deaf people hear with their eyes and hearts.
* Taking time to talk with the deaf is showing them how special they are.
* To visit another world, men go to the moon; to visit another's world, we need only talk to a person who is deaf.
* The deaf do not want pitied but understood.
* The deaf live in our world. We can only visit theirs.
* To learn deaf culture is like using a pair of binoculars.
* Learning to sign is showing love to the deaf.
* People who are deaf are not dumb. Only the dumb laugh at the deaf.
* God created all men equal.
* Have you thanked God today for your gift of hearing?
* Can you imagine a world without music? The deaf can.
* To the deaf, a bird only flies and doesn't sing.
* A father who is deaf sees his child laugh, but never hears him say, "Daddy."
* How many of us take our hearing for granted?
* A man who has no ears has quick eyes and keen senese.

I have learned that people who are deaf can't understand volume; therefore, they do not conceive that turning the pages of a newspaper makes noise while folding clothes does not.
They can be very noisy without realizing it because they cannot hear the noise they make.

I had the privilege, at the end of the signing class, to talk to the deaf with my hands. The goal that I pressed towards -- communicating love and acceptance to people who only know silence -- was realized.

I heard with my heart what they had to say with their hands.


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