Now Hear This - Word&Way

Now Hear This

Her name was Patty; she signed for the deaf. According to other signers, Patty was good at it.

Wade Paris

Wade Paris

Our church was considering a deaf ministry to use her talents. Unfortunately, for various reasons, the ministry never materialized.

However, when our church choir sang at the malls at Christmas, Patty signed the tunes. One of the lines in Jingle Bells says, ”Bells on bob-tail ring.” After a mall performance, I asked Patty, ”How do you sign “bob-tail?” She looked at me and said, “You don’t need to know that!”

I was disappointed we could not begin the deaf ministry; but at the time, I did not realize I would one day have a new appreciation for the hearing impaired.

As I have aged, my hearing has deteriorated steadily. While hearing aids help some, my hearing is poor enough to give me a new appreciation for the deaf.

When I say, “What?” people often look at me and say, “You don’t have your hearing aids in, do you?” If I ask, “What?” a second time, they may scream their reply to let me know my handicap is inconveniencing them. Worst of all, sometimes people think or say, “He hears what he wants to.”

Age-related hearing loss is not a major handicap like blindness or the loss of a limb. Still, my small handicap has given me a new appreciation for people who face life with serious physical or mental shortcomings.

We met a young lady at the grocery carrying a cute newborn baby. My wife complimented the mother on the child’s beauty. The mother confided the child is desperately handicapped and, if he lives, will always struggle. I breathed a prayer, “God help her and him.”

As I write, I am wondering what it would be like to never hear the birds sing, or hear the “Hallelujah Chorus.” I hear our dog barking; she barks too much. It bothers me, but I am thankful I can hear her barking.

Most of us take our hearing for granted. If you doubt that, let me ask when was the last time you thanked God for your hearing? Did you ever do so? Remember, hearing is a gift from God. Brother James tells us, “Every good and perfect gift comes from God” (James 1:17).

My hearing is not perfect; but it is good, and I am thankful.

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Wade Paris writes a weekly syndicated column, "The Shepherd Calls."