Monday, February 4, 2013

In the Silence

I went to visit my friend Lucner's school for the deaf in Simone, Haiti.  
So many beautiful children, so cramped for space. 
Classrooms have spilled out onto the front patio.  
The teacher, who is also deaf, was doing the best she could to manage the little ones with ants in their pants.  It wasn't helping that they had a visitor taking their pictures. 

I tried to put myself in their world.  
I was born blind in one eye, and what I can see is absolutely precious to me.
Still, I don't think I could hardly imagine what it's like to live in a world void of sound.
But then God did what God does...taste and see that the Lord is good...I found myself separated and alone without my family as they left to deal with the loss of loved ones in the States, and for some time now I've once again been a student of silence.

It is deafening.

Sometimes it's downright maddening. 
In other moments there is such sorrow.
And I find there is time for reflecting, remembering.
There are fleeting glimpses, memories in the mind that replay.  
Certain sounds that I atleast have had the privilege to hear.  
My daughter's giggle.  
My son reading his Bible verses.
My wife calling the family together for breakfast.

I don't know how I'd be without knowing those sounds.  
Maybe it would be different if I were born not hearing them.
I was born half blind and have never really felt like I'm missing out, except for the occasional 3D movie that everyone raves about, that I can't see.  That blind eye certainly kept me excluded from certain aspirations.  Couldn't be a soldier.  Couldn't fly a jet.  Couldn't be a cop.  Couldn't be a firefighter... shoot, they wouldn't even let me be a truck driver.  :)   But then again, if I were any of those things, maybe I wouldn't be here today, seeing with the one blurry eye He did give me, what He has deemed beautiful.  
He formed me.  Knit me.  Designed me.  Purposed me. 
Isn't it so comforting to know?  It has been for me all these years. 
I wouldn't trade it for the world.  Maybe these kids will feel that way too, if they have a chance to know the King I know.

One little girl in the class I found to be quite peculiar. 
Maybe because she was one of the only kids without a school uniform on.
Her family couldn't afford one.
But it wasn't an apple in a see of oranges that caught my eye. 
It was her smile.  
Her dancing little eyes.
Her desire to learn.  
She practiced so hard to write her letters on the board. 

I found myself talking to her as she gripped my hand so tightly.  She did not want to let me go. 
It broke my heart so much when my friend spoke to me,
"She can't hear you, you know?"
Instantly I was swept with sorrow again.
But then I stayed awhile.  I listened to children learning in silence. 
I watched them and studied them, and found their smiles and hearts.
In Haiti, kids can easily fall through the cracks, and for kids with special needs, the cracks are deep and wide.  They are placed on the outside fringes of society and they learn to fend for themselves.  
It is a survival of the fittest in the saddest way.  There isn't much afforded in the way of mercy, or grace, or love. 
Mostly they are forgotten.

So it's encouraging to see Lucner and his wife Fifi doing all they can.  
He wants to rent an acre of land to grow vegetables and food for the kids at the school.
He wants to build their own school instead of renting the space where they are so narrowly tucked and hemmed. 
Anybody want to help him?
God can make a way. 
You get to be part of the difference.
I just get to tell the story.

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