Don’t just hear
Be in awe
Of the sounds
A shout of glee
The lyrics to a song
Playing on the radio
Rain coming down
The cry of an infant
A cat’s meow
The dogs growl
To the voices
And the strangers
In the grocery line
To the friendly greeting
From the sales clerk
And the deep sound
Of the preacher man
A choir singing
The teenage barista
The weary nurse
Trying to her best
To sound hopeful
As the end draws near
To the birds chirping
Old man playing guitar
While his lady sings
That I can’t hear
And be filled
For what you have
And I’ll listen
My own way
With my eyes
And my heart
I’ll hear more
Than most of you
I really do
July 25 2016
I had gone on this trip for one real reason-to get time to write and this tree was the first thing I saw as we parked and I knew with absolute certainly that it was speaking to me.
I had been wrestling with my changing appearance. and sometimes felt like the woman I saw in the mirror, wasn’t the same woman I felt I inside.
I had never been the type that fit the “standard” or tried to be the same as everyone else but the last couple of years had shook my roots and filled me with some doubts and longings, and I struggled to find my own sense of beauty and confidence once again.
This tree was not a “typical” tree. It waa clear that no one had ever trimmed the branches, shaped it or tried to make it conform or become anything it wasn’t meant to be.
And you know what? It is beautiful and inspiring, graceful and purposeful, strong and unwavering…just as it was meant to be.
The tree simply grew, right where the Almighty Creator planted it, shaped by the wind and rain, by the Texas sun and bathed. by moonlight.
It spread wide and low, reached to the heavens and offered shelter and rest as needed.
Storms came and beat hard, knocking the branches and leaving scars-tell tale marks of battles survived, of years gone by, of experiences.
I realized that my body had also bent low…to lift babies, plant flowers,clean and stretch…..I’ve stood on tip toes, reached for the heavens, planted kisses on tall men, hung stars on Christmas trees, danced around to every kind of music.
I’ve made love and made mistakes, made cakes and made my point. I’ve used my body to shelter others and to offer comfort.
I’ve carried my babies inside my body, stretching to provide space, nutrition and love.
My body has scars, healed wounds, lines and marks from days in the Texas sun and nights bathed by moonlight
And you know what?
I am finally beginning to see that I’m created by the Almighty and, in my own way, I’m beautiful and inspiring,graceful and purposeful, strong and unwavering ….just as I was meant to be.
The books on the shelf
Pictures on the wall
Candles and lamps
Candy in the dish
Every single blind
All the outlets, too
Every hole and crack
Anything at all
To pass the time
Help me look the part
Play the role
Like I’m supposed to do
I count the steps And the pews
The ladies and gents
All the children, too
While looking straight ahead
At the preacher I can’t understand
I count the minutes on the clock
The number of reps
Those on my scale
And those that let me know
If anyone’s been reading my poems
I count the days since
The last time you came by
And i count down
To the next time
I count the kisses
Wrapped in shiney foil
Cause I always lose count
Of the kisses on my lips
I count the flowers as they bloom
But I never count the seeds
I count the boots
Laying in my closet
God alone counts the steps I’ve taken in them
I count on my friends
That count on me
I always seem to lose count
Of how much money I’ve made
But sure seems like somehow there’s always just enough
I count all my blessings
Till I fall asleep
And I just keep on counting
As if,somehow, it’ll feel like I count, too.
1 07 p.m.
It’s no secret-not any more-that I’m hearing impaired.
People usually figure it out pretty quickly on their own but I’ve changed my approach to my deafness,and instead of hiding it and hoping no-one discovers,
I’ve finally begin to just tell people before they assume the worst; that I’m either ignoring them,being rude,or just plain dumb.
Over the years I’ve gotten
used to the questions, like “Where are you from? I’m trying to place your accent ” and “How can you love music and dancing so much?” and “Can you hear ANYTHING??”
I’m used to it and I don’t mind explaining to others and enlightening them about my deafness now.
If someone asks me, I’m always willing to answer questions,but there’s a few things that just rub me wrong.
Please don’t look at me with pity and exclaim, “I’m so sorry ” when I tell you that I can’t hear and,please, for goodness sakes, don’t begin to define me by my hearing loss.
My hearing loss isn’t something to be pitied,it’s actually one of my greatest gifts.
You see,my hearing loss brings out the truth in people rather quickly.
There’s so much that one can learn about others and about yourself when you can’t hear as well as most people can.
I notice everything,even subtle mannerisms,and shifts in energy because I rely on using total communication-using the limited hearing I do have,reading lips and body
language, while looking deeply into the eyes of whoever I’m engaged in conversation with. I get to sit close to people, I get to hold eye contact and I really focus on who I’m with.
I’m not just “hearing impaired”, I’m a woman that wants to understand and be understood; it’s that pure and simple,and that complicated and overwhelming.
I’m much more than what I’m not, and when people say “I’m so sorry” upon hearing that I’m deaf, I gently tell them “don’t be sorry for me,be sorry for those that hear but don’t listen.”
A few weeks ago,a new client came in for a massage and read my AVA article that was on the table. After talking a few minutes,he asked me if he could pray for my hearing to be restored.
I took his hands in both of mine and said,”You can pray for me,but please listen to this story first,then pray as you see fit.”
My Aunt Dorothy was a feisty woman who had been blind since she was a toddler.
One night she went to a tent revival and the preacher man,upon realizing there was a blind woman in the crowd,came down and begin to pray loudly over her,laying his hands on her eyes, and asking God to restore her vision.
She let him pray and then,she said something that has stayed in my mind all these years.
“You pray for my eyes to see,when what I need prayer for is my heart. I can be bitter and mean,hurtful and unforgiving, and that’s what really needs prayer. I don’t need to see things,I need to be a better woman,I need to be kind,to be patient,to be more loving. When I die,the first thing I’ll see is the face of my Saviour, Jesus Christ.
I don’t need to see this world, I need to LOVE these people in this world.”
Then with a loud laugh,she added “But if you can make these glass eyes see,that would REALLY be a miracle!”
“Really be a miracle.”
Please, pause and ponder this for a moment. What would really be a miracle?
Sometimes we see a disability and that’s all we see, we don’t look deep enough to realize what else is there. We see a wheelchair,
instead of a person; we notice the crutches,and don’t look at the beautiful blue eyes; we see the elderly man take cautious steps, without realizing that long ago,he fought for our freedom. We see the child with Downs Syndrome, and overlook the child’s pure joy of life. We see deaf people signing,and only think about what they don’t hear instead of marveling at the beautiful language and culture they share. We see the white cane, and act as if the person is invisible.
Like the preacher man,the strangers at Taco Cabana-who approached me and best friend years ago to ask if they could pray for my hearing- and my client, so many people pray for what they perceive needs a miracle. It’s human nature to want to “fix things” and to change things to what we think is “normal” or “better”.
We look,but we don’t see and we hear,but we don’t listen. We assume too much,and know far too little.
The real miracle, I believe, would be for us to really look beyond the surface,behind the disabilities,the disfigurement,
the differences and see the abilities,the beauty,the uniqueness of each person.
We need to pray that our hearts will overflow with compassion, that we can see the goodness in the world,and hear the sound of love.
We need a real miracle and it’s within each of us to make it happen.
My client,after hearing the story of Aunt Dorothy, prayed for a “real miracle” for us both to have the heart to forgive and to love. He understood right away that my deafness wasn’t what a problem to be fixed,but a unique part of who I am.
So, I give this story over to you and urge you to listen with your eyes,to hear with your heart,to touch with kindness,to see with clarity and to create a ripple effect of miracles right now.
It would really,after all,be a REAL miracle.
Feel with both hands, Jeanna’