This is my friend Sandra and I.
Sandra cannot hear. She was born that way.
Although she can read and write, she can speak no more than a few words of English, and a few of Spanish.
Her spoken language is like birds flying, all motion and grace. No sound.
I marvel at the flexibility of her fingers, so quick and brown. She can even bend them backward at the knuckle. Mine are stiff and rough in comparison. I wonder if she was born that way, or if her fingers grew lithe with much speaking.
I wonder what it would be to have lived for more than thirty years and never to have heard a sound. I know a little of the frustration of a communication barrier, from a visit to Guatemala once. I wanted so badly to understand what the people around me were saying, and couldn’t.
I think, if you were deaf, you would have a large inner world. Imagination, awareness, creativity, understanding–all might grow rich. But how to share what’s inside you with others? That is where the frustration would come.
I guess we’ve all experienced that inadequacy to a degree. Language is beautiful. Language is not sufficient.
My sister Elizabeth says Sandra is an answer to prayer. Elizabeth has been trying to learn sign language for a while now, and prayed for an opportunity like this.
Now the rest of us are learning sign language, too.
Sandra came to school and held a class for the schoolchildren and me. She is a good teacher. The children loved her. They pick up the signs more quickly and remember them more easily than I do.
I am glad they have this opportunity.
Here they are saying, “I love you!”