Monday, August 25, 2008

OH! You mean ME....

I had arrived one Sunday morning to a new church. Conveniently enough, it was only a mile from my house, driveway to driveway. But, that is not what I loved about it.

The feeling I got when I walked inside the building, the people, the joy: that's what got me. I felt that stirring deep within. "You're home."

I sat with my children as the music began. As the service continued, I realized my attention was focused to the left side of the stage. There stood a woman, interpreting the music in American Sign Language. The worship music transitioned into the sermon, and still I focused on her hands, her expressions, her ability to bring the meaning of the words to life. Sure, I could hear what was being sung, what was being said, but the words from her hands settled in my heart.

I thought back to my childhood, when I'd learned to fingerspell. I had also learned a few signs here and there, so I could communicate with my mother without my father - who was blind - being aware. A quick fast-forward through my memory, and I'm in college, taking a "fun" elective - American Sign Language. Fast-forward again, and I'm teaching my children the requisite "baby signs" - "more", "milk", "stop", "I love you".

Following the service, en route to pick up my children from their Sunday School class, I pass the interpreter. When she signs to me, "Are you deaf?", I realize I have signed to her "I love your signs". I pause and shake my head, hands now resting on the stirring in my abdomen.

The following week, I am again aware of my focus on the interpreting. Aware of how it captures my heart and brings the message to me in a way that my ears can't process. It bypasses my brain and works directly on my heart. I don't even KNOW this language, and it affects me - deeply.

Oh.. and they need help interpreting. Kewl. Hope they find someone. I discount the stirring deep within me. *I* don't stand up in front of people. I'm shy, remember. I work every other weekend...and besides, who would watch my kids during the opening worship?

My daughter presents me with the project they had worked on in class. A card. The outside says "Thank you for Serving". Inside she has drawn a picture, subtitled, "Mommy".

The next day, an email arrives: "... The deaf ministry is in need of additional interpreters..."

Finally, it dawns on me. I looked up and said "OH! You mean ME..."

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