Monday, June 19, 2006

Journey into silence.........

I guess I should explain for those of you who stop by and don't know me in real life, I am not deaf in the sense I can hear nothing, and I can speak and most people never even know I have a disability. I am deaf in the sense that I have a progressive hearing loss that has resulted in me not hearing much of anything discernible under 87 decibels. I hear noise, but it means nothing to me, it is jsut noise. I wear 2 hearing aids and have a service dog named Gretchen.
Although I grew up with an impairment it was not severe but in my late 20's it was noticable something was very worng. That was in the early spring of 2001, since then I have rapidly progressed to where I am now and gone through 3 sets of hearing aids. My next step will be a cochlear implant. One lesson I have learned in facing this challenge is that one MUST be able to laugh at yourself and your weaknesses. If you cannot, you are most likely headed for a bout of depression and self pity that will do absolutly no good in prpearing you to face your new life.
When I was young, I sang, I mean I was never any diva or anything, but I loved it and I was reasonably good at it. A few months after I got my first set of hearing aids, I decided to join the praise and worship team at our church. This is where I discovered deaf chicks should NOT sing. After 1 practice with microphones I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that as much as I loved worship, it would be cruel punishment to our congregation to stand up there and sing LOL. I can laugh at this now, but at that moment is when I was hit right in the face with the fact that this was my future. The day is coming when I will not hear music change, I will not hear laughing and giggling and whispering and the little drips and ticks that drive you all crazy.....and it scared me. I did not like it one bit and for a period I would not do anything in silence. I always had a radio TV or something on. Silence scared me, truthfully, sometimes it still does.
So, after standing up there on the platform at church and crying over what I no longer could do, I decided to find a new thing for me. The following week, armed with a library book and the lyrics to all of our songs, I signed all of our music for our congregation. For three years, I stood every Sunday and signed my worship. I learned so much during that time and have discovered that I was able to bless many people in the process and did not even know it. Although I still cannot sign conversationally I can sign enough to get by and am continuing to learn. However, the biggest thing that has come from dealing with this, is learning that when God allows something in your life that is difficult and hard, something that hurts and leaves you feeling robbed and foresaken, He has something to give you that will more than make up for what you are losing. It's called His grace......His peace......His strength.......His mercy
I accept that unless God chooses to heal me miraculously, this is a fact for the rest of my life and all the wishing in the world won't change it. So, in my loss I have found confidence that God is going to not only carry me but give me more than sufficient grace to not just cope but to overcome. I don't know what you face, I don't know your challenge but I do know the Lord has not left you to stumble through a thicket trying to find your way in the maze of your troubles. Relax, laugh, live, dance, sing (okay I do still sing to my kids all the time as a's really bad and I know it but I laugh at it too) praise the Lord for the hard things and the easy ones. The truth is, in the face of eternity this life is so short anyways!



Terri said...

Coleen, your testimony was a real blessing to me.

Michelle Hill said...

Colleen you have always been a blessing to me..Your whole family has..That was a really good testimony..

Anne said...

What? Sorry - couldn't resist that one. :o)

I am blessed that the Lord allowed our friendship to form before your hearing totally goes. Our long phone conversations and the laughter we share are priceless to me and are memories that I will treasure always.

Love ya, my friend!!

Susan said...

Colleen, I loved reading your testimony and being reminded that God gives grace through each things He brings into our lives! Thanks for sharing it!

Happymama said...

It is always good to be reminded of God's grace that He abundantly bestowes on us each day.
There is a lady in our church that received the cochlear implant a couple of years ago. It truly is amazing. She's a fantastic nurse, working on the cardio floor of our local hospital. She was scared to think she would have to give it up once her hearing was totally gone. But then her husband found a doctor in California who designed a stethescope for those with the cochlear implant. She did not have to give up her job and is now in charge of getting a new floor started at another hospital in my very hometown. I just loved seeing how God worked there. He truly is amazing!
I enjoyed your blog and have placed it in my favorites to visit you often.

Rhonda said...

Hi! I love the title of your blog!!!!!
We are starting a ministry for the deaf in our Church and it has been awesome (I really don't use that word very much, but it really has been awesome!)
The gal who is signing for the singing is tone-deaf, but the deaf think she is great! They are so blessed that they can't hear her!LOL
You have a great attitude!
I'll be back!