November 21, 2010
Yesterday I was Thankful…
…for the kindness of strangers.
Last night I had the privilege to interpret the sermon at church for the deaf ministry.
Please don't be under the assumption that I am a great interpreter…or even an adequate one. That is simply not the case.
I did do interpretting in my church for about 1 year, but that was over 10 years ago!
Now I am in a different church, and our regular interpreter, Christine IS a great interpreter. In fact, she is absolutely brilliant, if you ask me!
About 2 months ago, I felt the Lord impressing me to begin sitting in the deaf section and brushing up on my sign language. I couldn't believe how "rusty" I was at reading it, and even more "rusty" at signing it.
It is amazing what you can forget in 10 years' time – particularly when you became a first-time adoptive parent to a special needs child during those years.
(You know, I'm a firm believer that after a certain age, when I learn something "new", it pushes out something "old"!!!)
So after a few weeks of waking my brain up, and reminding it that it did indeed know an entirely different language at another point in time, I am "reading" the signs a bit easier and "seeing" the signs in my brain as I hear the words spoken. (If you've ever learned a second language, you know what I mean.)
Recently, our main interpreter informed me that she needed to be gone for a service and so she needed to see me sign a sermon. That was 2 weeks ago, and believe me, it was not pretty. She had to repeatedly give me a sign that I couldn't remember, and to periodically take over the signing to get me "caught up" with our preacher (who preaches at the speed of a machine gun, God bless him!!! 😉
Yesterday, I learned that I needed to interpret for the evening service and that Christine would not be there at all.
I determined not to panic, and prayed (really! a lot!) as the time approached for the service to start.
Then, just before the service, it was pointed out to me that we had a visitor in the deaf section. Good heavens!!! I felt my stomach hit the floor and my blood pressure hit the ceiling.
As I sat down to sign, I made eye contact with our the 2 young deaf men, cried out to God for help, and began to interpret.
Imagine my delight when, as I spelled out the word for which I did not know a sign, this visitor signed the word to me!!! Then he gave me a smile and a nod as I repeated the sign back to him!
The three of us (our regularly-attending deaf member included) worked in tandem throughout the sermon. If I didn't know the sign, I spelled it, and they signed it back to me.
Wasn't that kind? A perfect stranger went out of his way to help me, to encourage me, to allow me to use his language properly. It was wonderful!
It is so often overlooked, but so often a tremendous blessing, when we are the recipients of a stranger's kindness.