30 Days of Gratitude – Thankful for Hearing
31 After leaving the region of Tyre, Jesus went through Sidon toward the Galilee Sea through the region of the Ten Cities. 32 Some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly speak, and they begged him to place his hand on the man for healing. 33 Jesus took him away from the crowd by himself and put his fingers in the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 Looking into heaven, Jesus sighed deeply and said, “Ephphatha,” which means, “Open up.” 35 At once, his ears opened, his twisted tongue was released, and he began to speak clearly.
36 Jesus gave the people strict orders not to tell anyone. But the more he tried to silence them, the more eagerly they shared the news. 37 People were overcome with wonder, saying, “He does everything well! He even makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who can’t speak.” (Mark 7:31-37, Common English Bible)
On our 30 Days of Gratitude Calendar, today is, “Thankful for Hearing.” For many of us, Hearing is something we take for granted unless we have either lost it or are on the way to losing it.
I struggled with some professors during seminary. If they were soft-spoken, it was really a problem. My hearing is not what it used to be. Part of it is hereditary. My father and my paternal grandmother both had hearing loss. Part of it is also too many noisy tools. Tools when I was in the Navy and not enough hearing protection. Too many power tools in the garage as an adult and not wearing the hearing protection enough as an adult. Still, I am thankful for the hearing I have.
The poem below is inspired by several things in my life. First, I dedicate it to Lillian. Lillian was a neighbor kid who is deaf. I don’t know her last name now though I know she is married. Lillian was one of the most loving kids around.
When I was at Sam Houston, working on my undergrad degree, I had some classes with a deaf man. I know he was with me for two semesters of “The History of Western Civilization.” I may have had others with him too. He had an interpreter who came to class with him each day. She would sign for him, whatever the professor said. I call her the linguist in the poem. Interpreter is a hard word to use in poetry. That one word would have eaten up almost half of a line in this poem, all in one word.
At Annual Conference every year there is a group of Interpreters who sign for the Conference period. I have always enjoyed them too.
Cindy’s best friend, Susan, teaches sign language to high school students. It meets their foreign language requirement. She says she isn’t an interpreter but I really believe Susan doesn’t give herself enough credit.
For all of these, I am thankful. I feel blessed that they have been part of my life. I am also thankful that they make the last line of this poem real for so many, “Lord, help me speak so all can see, hear, and say.”
To See, Hear, and Say
Facing him, she sits and talks with her hands
I am intrigued to see a sight so grand.
Professors speak of math and causes of war
Ignoring history, said he knew the score.
The linguist hands speak, I don’t understand
His eyes don’t see the interpreter’s worth.
When test grades came back, I let the world know
I failed to learn and instead watched a show.
Watching sign’s words, the beauty shines bright
Some don’t know as they lack hearing and sight.
Miss Anne taught that such a student can learn,
Help us to see past life’s difficult turns.
Hearing the song of a small whippoorwill
A joy that can come when quiet and still
Remind me of those who can’t hear them sing
Yet still find joy in all the bird brings.
May I never neglect gifts God has for me,
Helping neighbor through life’s difficulties.
Knowing the hardship each day that they face,
Let me see beauty contained in their grace.
While thankful for gifts that allow me to hear.
Remember the deaf hear with eyes that are clear.
While thankful for all God’s blessings today,
Lord, help me speak so all can see, hear, and say.
Seeking the Genuine,
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved