Four years ago, Danielle and I decided to learn American Sign Language. We had no idea what we were getting into – only that we shared an appreciation for the beauty of signing and we thought it would be fun to take classes together. Rain or shine, we headed out to our three hour classes and we worked hard to complete eleven levels of competency. We learned how to sign and we met some awesome deaf people.
One of those individuals was named Suzanne. She was our ASL 101 teacher and she brought signing to life for us with her enthusiasm, humor and skill. She has since become a wonderful friend and through this friendship, she and her husband began attending our church. Danielle and I talked with the pastors and before we knew it, we were sitting up at the front of the church, interpreting for the deaf. It was a huge step of faith and a colossal challenge for both of us to take on this responsibility every Sunday morning but I’m happy to report that things are going reasonably well.
Occasionally, I also interpret for a deaf man who is a graphic designer for a newspaper. Whenever there are important meetings, I am called in to interpret for Stephan so that he doesn’t miss any details. Today was one of those days. Stephan knows that I am not a professional interpreter but apparently, he enjoys my signing and my friendship so we stumble through the meetings together.
This morning, while I was interpreting, Stephan started to laugh. I wasn’t sure why he was laughing so I continued on. Stephan seldom corrects me while I am signing so he continued to laugh as I blasted my way through the meeting. Finally, in sign language, I asked him what was so funny.
Stephan smiled and gently explained, “for the entire meeting, you continually signed that my boss was having a sexual relationship with a stapler named Infinity.”
Whoa. Maybe eleven levels of signing wasn’t enough.