When my wife and I retired and decided to move to Florida we searched for a place near a church with a Deaf ministry. We were not raised as Deaf, but were hearing-impaired most of our lives. Due to family genetics, my wife lost whatever hearing she had and is now deaf (meaning she is now deaf, but not culturally Deaf). Old age and 60+ years of hearing-aid use have worsened my own hearing so I’m now profoundly hearing-impaired.
As believers who follow Jesus, we despaired of finding a church with a vibrant Deaf community. There are many reasons for it:
I remember when I was very young, thinking that the bedroom my brother and I shared was huge! It had two beds for us and a big window. Our closet was also huge and there was even a “secret” passageway to our parent’s closet! Wow! But, I’d be the first to admit that perceptions of my boyhood when it came to size of rooms are not the same today as a grown man.
John 14:2 “There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (ERV)
I was curious about the number of rooms for the Father’s house, a.k.a. New Jerusalem or City of God. Why? Jesus promised many rooms would be prepared. I wondered how many believers/rooms would fit? So I converted the Bible’s measurements to modern day’s measurements and then calculated the cubic volume and used New York City as an example for population density. Although I am only speculating, the number I came up with was astounding.
I was fortunate not to be cursed to my face for being deaf or hearing-impaired. Still, I know I require more patience than usual from hearing people. I can’t help it, but because of my hearing loss, I am more aware of and dependent on body language. People may say the right words, but their body language will usually reveal true feelings.
Many years ago when I was young, I was confronted by a hearing person. The boy was a known trouble-maker, and he was looking for trouble. He swore at me, but I was unfazed by his speech. I could see from his body language he did not mean well. But, at that time I did not know any swear words and I stood there puzzled. He was not getting the expected reaction from me. When he found out I did not know, he thought it funny. Because of that, his anger was deflected from me, and I escaped to live another day.
Our family lived in Philadelphia in a big, old house. I was in second grade when I got my first hearing aid. It was so big my mother had to sew pockets inside all my t-shirts to hold it. It came with a 3-wire cord that connected the body piece in my pocket with a small earplug in my ear. It whistled a lot, the result of frequent feedback. But I was a proud owner and kids in my class at school all wanted to see it. I felt acceptance as to who I was. It was a time of innocence for schools and children.
I remember being able to walk to school. School in those days were safe places. In those old days there was no need to worry about school violence. Why now? Fences are built around school buildings. Doors are locked, identification is needed. There is armed security and scanners. Our children are rightly scared of going to school. People argue about how to protect the schools and the best way to do so. What’s different about 2018 and the 1950’s and 1960’s when I was in school?