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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Garden (09/07/06)

TITLE: The Loudest Silence
By dub W


Six-year-old Kevin watched his father with interest. In the small garden outside their home a small patch of ground had been uncovered, and Kevin’s father was busy with a hoe piling dirt around plants.

Kevin pulled on his mother’s apron. “What kind of sounds do plants make?” His hands moved quickly as he signed. As a six year old, he was full of questions, and his command of signing language was stronger than the oral language of most children his age.

Kevin’s mother followed his hand movements. She had been to signing classes since Kevin was one year old; it was on his first birthday that the doctors had determined for sure that Kevin would never hear. “Plants don’t have sounds. Dogs, cats, and people make sounds. What sound does a dog make?” Her signing was slower, but she had worked hard on ASL phraseology.

Kevin printed on a pad. “Bow Wow.”

His mother hugged him. “That’s right Kevin.” She was amazed that he had picked up printing words and reading so quickly.

“Plants are like God?” Kevin wiggled loose from his mother and pointed at the new garden.

“Yes and no,” she signed. “You can hear God just a well as I do.” I hope this isn’t too abstract to him. “God speaks to our heart.”

Kevin giggled. “Do the plants speak to your heart?”

His mother was struggling with the theological concept and how to articulate it with signing. “Plants don’t speak to humans, except to show us their beauty, which makes us feel good.”

Kevin looked out at the tomato plants being staked to the ground. “Then plants speak to your heart like God?”

“You’re something, all these questions.” Maybe if I stall his father can answer the questions. “Well, yes, I think God probably likes the plants as much as we do. Therefore He makes them grow to please both Him and us.”

A few weeks later Kevin’s mother looked out the window to see Kevin standing next to a shoot of corn and signing. She pulled off her apron and went out the back door. So she would not surprise her son, she made a wide swoop of the yard in order that he would see her approach. “Are the plants talking to you?” She teased.

“Yes, mother, I have been telling them to grow. And see, they are growing.”

“Well, okay, many people talk to plants. Do you think the corn heard you?”

“No, mother, corn can’t hear. All of the garden is like me. So, I have been talking to it my way. God sees everything, and he can tell the corn what I said.”

“Are you sure you are six years old?”

Kevin laughed with his mother. “I have talked to all this corn, and the tomatoes. I think God likes things that don’t make noise, don’t you?”

“You probably have a point; between you and God, I imagine everything will grow just fine.” I see a meeting with the pastor coming soon.

Kevin’s father tended the garden almost every evening, often with Kevin following behind urging the plants onward. And nearly every night, Kevin’s mother stood by the window wiping tears from her eyes. Oh, Jesus, in the silence of his life, Kevin has spoken loudest to this garden and it has grown, oh, thank you Lord.

Late one August evening Kevin walked proudly into the house carrying ears of sweet corn. He set the corn on a chair and then turned to his mother. “See, the garden is speaking – I think God heard me.”

“So, do I Kevin, so do I.”

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This article has been read 1131 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Chrissi Dunn09/14/06
I loved this. How amazing that God often speaks to us in a quiet way, through his creation. I loved your ending.
Donna Haug09/14/06
How precious! What a treat to hear a story from the point of view of one who can't hear or speak. Very appropriate title. Good work.
Dolores Stohler09/14/06
This is perfectly lovely. We can learn so much from little children who have a unique way of looking at life. I loved your title too.
Phyllis Inniss09/15/06
I am touched by this article. It depicts a mother's love, the son's love in response to her love and the love of God being instilled by her wisdom. Thanks to God for precious people like yourself who can portray the love and beauty of God in their writing.
Jan Ackerson 09/15/06
Thanks for a glimpse into a world unfamilar to me, and for showing us the beauty in the world of silence.

My only quibble is a POV one--it starts out from the boy's POV, then shifts to the mother's.

The overall mood here is peaceful, quite lovely.
Virginia Gorg09/15/06
Very nice take and well done. I do agree with the POV comment. I am fascinated by sign language and thought this was very realistic.
Jan Ross09/15/06
Endearing story! Very creative!

When we lived in KY, there was a school for the deaf in our town, so we were around many hearing-impaired children and adults. I knew children that seemed to develop understanding of life beyond a hearing child of the same age. This story brought back some beautiful memories!

I agree with the POV issue -- you may want to rework that. This story, with a little tweaking, would be a great submission to a publication for the hearing-impaired!

Great work! :)
william price09/16/06
I absolutely loved this!!!! Very, very well done. Anointed, smart, smooth, touching. I hope this places. Thank you for the, smile, today. God bless.
Marilyn Schnepp 09/16/06
Nice title, sweet story, good writing, and Great message. Kudos.
Ruth Neilson09/17/06
A smile and a moment of great wisdom...wow, very powerful. I loved the idea of a garden talking to God...and then God talking to the garden for Kevin.

Thank you for sharing.
Val Clark09/19/06
Well constructed, thought provoking, tale. Ah, how I wished all families functioned so well. My fav like is a challenge to me:
"I think God likes things that don’t make noise, don’t you?”
Betty Castleberry09/19/06
Well, ya should have told me I'd need a tissue. This is such a sweet story, and very well told. Thank you!
Lynda Lee Schab 09/19/06
What a beautiful entry! I absolutely loved everything about it. It may be a "quiet" piece but it spoke volumes to my heart. :-)
Donna Powers 09/19/06
Oh, this is lovely. It touched my heart with the boy's innocence. I loved your take on this subject. Well done!
Joanne Sher 09/19/06
Oh, did I ever LOVE this! So sweet and real and wonderful - and such a lesson to learn! Other than the POV shift, I couldn't see anything to improve!
Catrina Bradley 09/20/06
Oh- left me with chill bumps! Awesome story, very moving. Good job!
Brenda Craig09/20/06
This touched my heart on a deep level, so very anointed. I went back to pick a favorite line. It was very hard to do since there are so many.

Kevin giggled.
“Do the plants speak to your heart?”

His mother was struggling with the theological concept and how to articulate it with signing. “Plants don’t speak to humans, except to show us their beauty, which makes us feel good.”

Kevin looked out at the tomato plants being staked to the ground. “Then plants speak to your heart like God?”

What a concept. Truly one of my favorites. Hope this does well. Blessings Brenda

Verna Cole Mitchell 09/20/06
This is a story, to be sure, to add to my favorites!
Debbie Sickler09/20/06
I enjoyed the new perspective of using a deaf child's signing as a main part of a story. Would have liked the dad to be involved a bit more, but also liked hearing the mom's thoughts.
Jen Davis09/20/06
What a wonderful story! I love the wisdom and inquisitiveness of this little boy. "Do the plants speak to your heart?" Very creative and nicley done.