Last night, I spent some time at the American Sign Language (ASL) Club in Newmarket. Older and younger, deaf and hearing, teachers and students, interpreters and beginners met in a room to sign together. Although I sign for the deaf most Sunday mornings at church, I have been told by my deaf friends that I need to spend more time with the deaf so that I can pick up new signs and better understand the deaf culture. So, tonight was the night to focus, get involved and hopefully improve!
I’m glad that I went. Yes, it was good to practise signing and be immersed in a room of flying hands and interesting “conversations.” I picked up some new words and met some new people. However, what REALLY stood out to me was that most of the people that came to the meeting, including myself, were students of my friend, Suzanne. She is an AMAZING woman, who has been teaching ASL classes for a few years and has taught many hearing adults who have persevered with this difficult skill because of Suzanne’s impact on their lives.
Throughout the evening, there were a few times that I wasn’t able to keep up with the quick signing that was going on across the room so I just quietly watched my friend, Suzanne as she was “all there” with these people. She was completely absorbed in the conversations, introducing late comers and making everyone feel welcome in the group. She was aware of group dynamics and was able to multi-task and join in with all the various conversations going on at one time. Believe me, that’s tough to do when no one is talking and everyone is signing!
“BLOOM WHERE YOU”RE PLANTED,” right? This is a place where God has put Suzanne. She has found a beautiful balance between taking her responsibility seriously and yet being casual, humorous and loving with all these students who have enjoyed her teaching over the years.
I owe much of my signing ability to Suzanne’s love and patience with me. We only live twenty minutes away from each other so we have spent many hours power walking and signing in Lake Simcoe, biking around Lake Simcoe and drinking chai tea together, while watching the sun set over Lake Simcoe. I’ve said it before but for me, there is nothing finer than watching someone who has mastered their craft – Suzanne has done that with teaching and God has honored her relationships with students.
I’m really thankful for Suzanne’s life and for her friendship. She loves the Lord and she shines His light onto the lives of everyone she teaches. Thanks for putting up with me, special friend!