deaf

Thankful Thursdays Guest Post: When Losing Is Gaining

Today’s guest post comes from my friend, Sara. Sara and I went to high school together, but we didn’t really become friends until this past year when we reconnected through Facebook and blogging. I am constantly inspired by Sara’s outlook on her life, by the way she clings to faith in difficult times, and by her willingness and desire to do whatever God asks of her. She has such a beautiful, tender heart. I got chills reading this piece which brought me into her experience of living with a “disability” and reminded me of the God who is in the business of redeeming our brokenness.

When Losing Is Gaining

I remember.

I remember the day I woke up and felt like my only hearing ear was stuffed with paper, or cotton, or wax. I remember the dizziness I felt as I tried to get out of bed that morning, unaware that my life would change forever as I lurched forward to vomit. Confused. Dizzy. Vertigo.

I remember.

I remember how it felt as people’s voices grew fainter and fainter and I grew angrier and angrier, placing blame at the people around me for my not being able to hear them. It was their responsibility to enunciate their words. It was their responsibility to stop mumbling. It was them and it was not me.

I remember. I remember the look my doctor gave my mother and the tears in my mom’s eyes. The emergency overnight flight to Memphis and the 3 day hospital stay. I remember doctors talking all around me, tests being run every moment, people frantically trying to figure out what was going on and I was unaware. Unaware. They were unheard.

She’s deaf. In her only hearing ear. Meniere’s Disease. Steroids. Diuretics. Exercise. Dizziness. Weakness. Sun that hurt. Feeling faint. So tired. More steroids.

I remember. I remember looking at my mom as tears rolled down my face and I handed her the dry-erase white board I now used for communication scribbled with “Will this ever go away?” We cried.

I remember the man who came to visit me who sat down in front of me and anointed me with oil. He prayed over me and though I couldn’t understand a word that came from his mouth, I remember. And smile.

I remember my friends forming a fortress around me, getting out their cell phones and texting me so we could have conversations in the car… Conversations in the dark that anyone else could have heard, but me. We formed a clan that summer, a tight-knit group there to support one another, and those bonds – they have never gone away.

I also remember seeing sign language for the first time and smiling as I thought “Wow, my life could really change if I knew that!” I remember learning and practicing so that one day I could communicate without reading lips or using my white dry-erase board.

I remember the tender moments with Mom as she spurred me on to keep exercising. “Sara, I know you feel weak and dizzy, but you’ve got to keep on.” I remember with thankfulness.

I remember my first hearing aid. I put it on and heard them for the first time in two years. Birds chirping. As birds chirped, my heart flooded with thankfulness. I’ll never forget it.

Going deaf was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Even now, I open my eyes every morning and put my hearing aid on and listen. With my level of constant fluctuating hearing loss, some days I listen to the birds outside my window and can actually hear them. Other times, I can hear them only if I close my eyes tight enough and imagine. With a smile I feel my puppy’s steady breaths beside me and imagine what they sound like.

I go to “Silent Dinners” that are literally just that, where instead of hearing with my ears, I hear with my eyes. It’s miraculous. I meet, talk, and bond with people I never would have known before. I feel thankful.

I feel thankful when I chat with someone I know and they smile- through silent conversation. I feel thankful when I go to church and have the privilege to lead worship to deaf brothers and sisters in Christ who have become so close to my heart. Because they are my people. They are my people and their God is my God.

I remember with thankfulness those 12 years ago when I was so sick and lost most of my hearing, then regained some. I remember with thankfulness, because that’s made me who I am today. Would I be where I am and communicate with those I do if that hadn’t happened? Would I see the deaf community as my own and be in their family?

Even today, when I sit with hearing people at the dinner table and I get lost in their conversations, not knowing who’s talking about what or when. When my hearing loss threatens to isolate me from those I love most and I feel most alone. When I feel that I cannot connect with anyone. When fear grips me during a job interview when I realize a major part of the job is talking on the phone… I’m still thankful. I’m thankful because I get a just little glimpse in my adult life what people in the Deaf community have experienced their entire lives. I get that little glimpse and because of that, God has enabled me to minister, to develop the dearest friendships, and to love to the fullest.

I wouldn’t trade it. Not for the world.

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SaraAuthor Bio: Since moving from her home in Louisiana, Sara has found herself living life in the mountains of east Tennessee with her puppy, Watson. When she’s not saving kittens from trees and puppies from rooftops, she’s reading about spirituality, love, and life and writing about life in her blog at scarmichaelblog.worpress.com.

Author Bio: Since moving from her home in Louisiana, Sara has found herself living life in the mountains of east Tennessee with her puppy, Watson. When she’s not saving kittens from trees and puppies from rooftops, she’s reading about spirituality, love, and life and writing about life in her blog at

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