So….there I am minding my own business Interpreting for a deaf man in his forties…..SUDDENLY he dissolves in tears! Oh Lord what did I do?
I sat repentantly before him as he fought for composure. Gently he lifts his head and says “I just heard music for the first time.”
“Whaaaat? You are deaf….what do you mean?”
“Because you used my language of sign,and your gift of movement as you interpreted….I began to HEAR music.”
THAT was my beginning on a journey adoring the deaf community, their tenacity to survive in a world totally insensitive to their genius to communicate and comprehend a world who makes little provision for their hearing loss. I LEARNED that the deaf “HEAR with their Eyes” brilliantly!
So too, do the hearing. They just don’t know it. When we make visible the sounds that hearing people are familiar with in worship, their hearts are impacted more deeply. They see and hear at the same time and it is a double whammy for their heart.
We read body language…but the deaf do it best. You just “know” if someone is happy,angry or depressed.
We look closer at a shimmering lake at night, with lights reflecting…..you will hear a “sound” in your soul.
I once had a boss frustratingly tell me a deaf employee got upset because he couldn’t understand what his instructions were.”It’s not MY fault he is deaf!” I stared in disbelief…..”Use your LIPS! He is reading them! EVEN I can’t understand you….and I can hear!”( The man would have made a fortune as a ventriloquist!)
How to Include the Deaf in the Body of Christ and Dance Ministries?
Just a little common sense is all it takes and an honouring of millions of people who live and work amongst us with very little help.
- Face them when you talk and don’t look away.
- Eye contact is great….you emotions are read from your eyes.
- Don’t stand in front of a bright light…your face is in shadows.
- Use your hands.
- Don’t shout, it does not help…you just look angry.
They are deaf not stupid.
They feel the vibration of the rhythm in their bodies. ie of the musical beat, thus keeping time musically,perfectly, and better than some hearing people.
Be patient, overcome your embarrassment, and be a bridge of love from Jesus.
Linda Wells ~ ICDF Network Coordinator : Deaf Signing
Picture credit: Sign Language Help. (2011). Babygooroo. Retrieved from http://babygooroo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/sign-language_help_800x600-590×410.jpg