A Special Connection
My friend, Danielle and I headed out to a Deaf Women for Christ conference. Our very dear friend Suzanne, paid for the conference to thank us for interpreting every Sunday morning at church and we were delighted to accompany her for the day. Suzanne was our first American Sign Language (ASL) teacher and she has been our inspiration and encourager as Danielle and I have plowed our way through eleven levels of ASL courses over four years. We couldn’t have found a better and funnier teacher, who also became a wonderful friend.
This was the first time that Danielle and I attended a conference for deaf women, that didn’t also provide an interpreter for us hearing women. Danielle and I were left to fend for ourselves while the music, announcements, testimonies, prayers and main message were all signed. It was a huge challenge because deaf people sign VERY quickly.
I have good new and bad news about this experience.
The good news is that even Suzanne had trouble understanding everything that the guest signer was communicating so Danielle and I didn’t feel so badly, admitting that we missed a lot of the message. The bad news is that Danielle and I did miss A LOT of the message. We were able to keep up with the music, prayers and announcements but after three hours of focusing intently on the signing, we both got to the point that we just had to tune out for a while. There were about thirty minutes when the two of us quietly brainstormed about creative names for our friend’s new cookie business. I’m not proud of this mental withdrawal from the group but both of us desperately needed the breather.
Danielle and I love to sign. We have invested hundreds of hours learning the language and the culture of the deaf community. Attending a deaf conference with no interpreter humbled us because we realized how much we didn’t understand but it also reminded us that we have come a long way since we first fumbled our way through signing “How are you?” and “Where’s the bathroom?” so many ASL classes ago. We have laughed our way through some pretty crazy moments, we’ve disciplined ourselves through many years of weekly three-hour-classes and we’ve taken the risk to sit at the front of our church every Sunday morning and give our best to interpret for our deaf friends. The really cool thing is that our friendship continues to grow, as does our love, support and respect for each other.
We just keep working at our friendship.
Neither of us can fully articulate to others how we feel when we sign together but as we worshipped along side a hundred other women that afternoon, arms in the air, hands flying and hearts unified in Christ, I leaned over to Danielle and gave her a hug.
“THIS is why we sign, friend…and I’m so thankful you’re my friend ” I said.
Danielle looked at me and smiled. She hugged me back and we just kept signing.
MAKE A MOMENT TO MUSE
How do you connect with your close friends?
In what ways does Christ make a difference in your friendships?
What do you need to do to keep your friendships healthy?
Speak truth – As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
Proverbs 27.17 NLT