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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Singing (10/31/05)

TITLE: A Song in the Silence
By Amy Michelle Wiley


Kaylee stirred in the pew, eyeing the choir at the front of the church. They swayed slightly and their mouths stretched wide in odd positions. All around her people smiled as they listened, and her mom wiped away a tear. Kaylee had no clue what the song was about, but at least it was something out of the ordinary to watch.

Oh, joy. Now the sermon. Kaylee sighed. Next Saturday there was a party at the school for the Deaf, maybe she could talk her parents into letting her stay on campus over the weekend. At least at school she could communicate, even if the kids were mean. Kaylee’s mom began scribbling on a paper and Kaylee feigned interest in the disjointed groupings of words that supposedly represented the sermon.

When the congregation began to sing, Kaylee grew tired of struggling to sign the cryptic words that spilled across the overhead. Instead she turned her attention to the people. The woman in front of her had her hands held high and a look of such wonder and love and peace on her face. All around her Kaylee saw these emotions that she yearned to understand. What was it about church, about singing, about God, that brought this joy? Kaylee’s shoulders slumped. She was locked in a different language, a different world, a different dimension.

After the service a few of her mother’s friends waved at her, but mostly they talked over her head. Even the other children only eyed her from a distance and didn’t offer to include her in their games. Then she felt a simple tap on her shoulder. When Kaylee turned around, expecting to come face to face with yet another language block, she found instead a smiling face. And hands that knew her world.

“Hi! My name’s Andrea.” The young lady’s hands moved fluently. “I just moved into town and started coming to this church. I saw you signing, so I came over to meet you.”

Oh the joy! Kaylee could hardly sign fast enough. Hardly find out enough information about her new friend. Andrea agreed to join them for lunch. Kaylee’s parents expressed delight, not only for a friend for Kaylee, but also for the interpreting as they ate Sunday lunch.

The next weekend Kaylee ignored the party at school and actually looked forward to the long Sunday service. That day when the singing started, she was amazed to find that Andrea was on the worship team. But Andrea didn’t just translate the song words into sign. It was more than that. Her hands floated through the air, swooping and dancing, drawing out signs with such beauty and rhythm. Watching her, Kaylee began to grasp what music was all about.

She couldn’t wait until the service ended. She found Andrea and they talked all about the music and signs. Then Kaylee asked, “That song said there would be no more death for us, because there was death for Jesus. What did it mean?”

“Do you know about Jesus? How He died on the cross so that we could go to heaven?”

Kaylee wasn’t sure.

They found a place to sit, and Andrea started at the beginning. Kaylee watched as the gospel was shared in her own language. She watched as Andrea threw her arms wide and puffed her cheeks to portray the great love God had for her. She watched as Andrea’s brow darkened and her fingers showed the flickering flames of hell where all people deserved to spend eternity. Then she watched as the story of Jesus played out before her eyes. Kaylee was shocked when the wonderful healings and miracles of Jesus changed suddenly to the Romans’ hate and mockery of the Man. And then He was dead.

“No, no!” Even Kaylee’s voice protested the injustice.

But Andrea’s face grew brighter than ever. “He came back to life three days later, Kaylee! Jesus, the Son of God, conquered death. If we believe in Him, He will forgive us for the bad we’ve done. He will live in our hearts now and bring us to heaven when we die.” Andrea stood up and once again she sang the song.

“No death for us, for Jesus died.
But now it’s life, with Him abide!
Our joy complete, His peace to keep,
We live within His love so deep.”

Kaylee watched the pictures in the air, joining in with her own shaking hands. And this time, this time she understood.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lucian Thompson11/07/05
This one brought my tears.
Lucian Thompson11/07/05
Forgot to add…this one is a real winner. Congratulations!
Julianne Jones11/10/05
What are you worried about? This is beautiful. Everyone needs to hear about Jesus' love in their own 'language'. Don't change a thing. You've written with such sensitivity and insight. Well done.
Debbie Sickler11/10/05
Amy, this was such a good look into the life of someone most people wouldn't ever really think about. You showed the difficulties of grasping concepts lost in translation by her mom. I loved how you described the friends story telling. Great job!
Jan Ackerson 11/10/05
Beautiful, beautiful! I don't know if there are any Christian publiscation for the deaf community, but if there are, this belongs there. Bravo!
Suzanne R11/10/05
Just beautiful!!!

It reminds me of a girl at the school where I used to work. She is the only deaf member of her family and had never learned sign language, so was really isolated. (They thought it would help her integrate with the hearing community, but didn't exactly work.)

Because of this, she was seriously about eight years behind in her education ... so very sad. I honestly treated her as though she had significant learning difficulties, and once I learnt that she didn't, could see clearly that she was smart, just had huge gaps in her education.

Kate (the girl I knew) reminds me a lot of Kaylee, although from a non-Christian background. Through her Christian studies lessons, she grasped some truths, but with very major gaps ... all because she lives in a silent world. I wish I could show her this piece ... but she is another world away now.

May there be other Kates / Kaylees though who can benefit from your excellent writing.
Ann Grover11/10/05
"...Kaylee began to grasp what music was all about...

We try to make music something that it isn't. You touched the heart of music... what and why we sing and Who we sing to ... Thanks...
Brandi Roberts11/10/05
Very well written Amy (I almost called you Kaylee LOL) I enjoyed this!
Pat Guy 11/10/05
'Then she watched as the story of Jesus played out before her eyes.' "Played out" how beautiful! Each language has something to offer in the interpretations of God's word. You did such a good job of taking us into this world of silence but also what it offers us in it's insights! Love, Pat
Anita Neuman11/10/05
Wow, Amy, you're crafting 2 languages, aren't you? This is AMAZING! You have nothing to worry about, dear friend. This flows!
Rachel Burkum11/10/05
From one who has been with deaf people all my life, and works with them now, you did a very good job of portraying what happens, sadly, the majority of the time.
So many people don't understand the difference between English and American Sign Language, and therefore don't see the need that truly exists.
Great job. Good writing, and good point. Keep it up. :)
Jeffrey Snell11/11/05
Beautiful! We overlook the deaf so often, not out of malice but just ignorance. The blessing of a friend makes all the difference. Good story.
dub W11/12/05
Amy,this is a wonderful effort. We have already discussed (privately) some of the issues, I think with more work this should be sent to one of many organizations for the hearing impaired. blessings - dub
Shari Armstrong 11/12/05
Another winner in my book Amy!
Jesus Puppy 11/12/05
will send a comment .. after i stop weeping... bueatiful story.. Kiddo. Great Job.
Val Clark11/13/05
Well done Amy! Very well done. Well crafted character with whom I could identify and feel for. Loved the way you also taught me a little bit of sign too, Yeggy
DeAnna Brooks11/16/05
Amy, I as overwhelmed as I read A Song in the Silence. The compassion flowing through every words bespeaks the touch of Jesus. There are so many, trapped in a world where no one speaks their language. Woundedness, depression, abuse, disabilites, so many, many things isolate the very ones needing Jesus' touch. Thank you for opening all our eyes to the need to befriend, to reach out, to begin to speak the language of someone trapped in that lonely place. God bless you!
Betsy Markman11/29/05
I love this story! In part I love it because of my love for ASL, but also I love it for being so well-written. You captured the feeling of being isolated in the service and the joy of connecting with others through Sign. Well done!
Jan Warrick12/04/05
Absolutely beautiful story!
Laury Hubrich 10/06/07
Loved this story! I can see you going up to a little girl and signing to her about Jesus, Amy! You have an awesome ministry!