IF Gathering 2016: A Deaf Gal’s Point of View

As of 48 hours ago, I was in the middle of a battle in my head.

“Should I go? Sure, they said there would be interpreters telecasted with the program. But really? I got a scholarship. Yeah. I should go. But… ”

That “But” kept me from making a decision.

At our Mom Group, earlier that day, which I always went without an interpreter, I was asked by one of the leaders, “Are you coming to ‘IF’?” I leaned my head the side in indecision. I loved the idea of being around a bunch of women connecting on some awesome Godly level, but being the only Deaf woman there had left me feeling a little lonesome lately. I had heard from another friend, in her own excitment, there would be interpreters telecasted. I had my doubts, to be sure, and I responded, giving my excuses, “No, I can’t afford it right now.” She shook her head and said not to worry about it. “But I really struggle with reading lips on a video screen. I had heard there would be interpreters on the video…” I left it hanging, feeling like I couldn’t continue. The sweet woman scratched her chin and responded, “Let me look into that, and I’ll get back to you on that. I’ll email you, okay?” I nodded.

Now, I was feeling a small inkling of hope, but every part of me fought that hope.

I am Deaf. I am a minority. I am outnumbered.

My husband told me to wait before making the ultimate decision about the conference. The man is blind and hard of hearing! He’s an even bigger minority and he tells me to hold my horses! Okay… So I waited.

I waited in my bed with my laptop in front of me. Just as I was ready to resign and say I wasn’t going, I get an email saying I should register so they can get the telecast for the interpreter.  Hope fluttered, and I took that step and registered.

Believe me, the next morning I was so nervous and anxious, and when I showed up at my church at 2 pm, with my laptop in my backpack thinking I might need it for my own screen with an interpreter to watch, I was taken back to see an interpreter on the screen with the telecast.

I should have been overjoyed. I should have been excited. Instead, all the anxiety and lonliness that I had been feeling for such a long time just overpowered me. Little did I know, later on I would realize it to be my water jar that I needed to leave at Jesus’ feet.

It wasn’t until a good friend waved to me in line for dinner with a big smile on her face that I felt happy to be there. I read her lips saying, “I’m so glad you came!!! I saw the interpreter and thought of you!” I smiled back and signed as I said, “Thanks! I loved seeing the interpeter!”

I would be lying to say that the whole night was all amazing and awesome.

My disappointment did return when I saw some parts of the telecast not have an interpreter. I caught some of what was being said, but I felt so left out. Some were laughing in the room, and I missed the joke. I wanted to cry. I had enough of being disappointed. I picked up my backpack and proceeded to leave, but another amazing woman stopped me. “Don’t leave!” I told her I was tired of missing out on everything and being the only deaf person there. She encouraged me by saying they would help me and then threw me a surprise, “You’re teaching us so much. Stay.”

It was a good thing I stayed. The interpreter came back on for me to catch the message about Lazarus and Jesus waiting two days before coming and rising his best friend from the dead. I had a laugh, and then the message of the water jar hit me to the core. It was all about the story of the Samaratian woman and Jesus at the well, and how she left her precious water jar at Jesus’ feet as she ran into the city to tell them about Him. She trusted him with such an important thing. As I watched and “listened” to the message, I realized my hunger for social relationships, especially with those who “speak” my language and understand my struggles, was my water jar. I wasn’t finding it through Facebook, as I had left it thinking that would fix it. The one thing I needed to do  was to trust Him to provide me this need.

It also dawned on me I live in both worlds for a reason.  I’m in this body of Christ… JUST the way I am. HE will put people in my way to support me, but I have to trust Him to do that… Be it they are hearing or deaf.

Now, with my headphones blaring Chris Tomlin in my ears, I am going to settle to sleep. I have another day of IF tomorrow… And I’m trusting Him to give me the message I need.

 

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About coffeenut79

I am a mother to two CODAs, and if you know what I mean by that, than you would know I am deaf. I am an artist in many ways, and writing is one of the mediums I love working in. View all posts by coffeenut79

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