I was on the way to the airport to spend a few days with my dad. I stopped by the house to drop off a few items of clothing that were worn and served no purpose in the warm Florida summer sun, and to pick up a few others. I lost track of how many times I told my dog George I was sorry. I couldn’t verbalize for what—it took everything within me to not break down into a puddle and to be ready when the Lyft was scheduled to arrive–but for so many things. Poor puppy.
I didn’t read the texts I received from Lyft before gratefully hopping in the car. Honestly, I was praising Jesus for the car not arriving any later. Being at the house was excruciating. Once seated, I checked my phone, “Your driver is deaf or hard of hearing. Please text them instead of calling, and let them lead the way with communication. Enjoy your ride!” read the text. Wow, not what I was expecting, not what I’ve ever experienced.
What about my books?! Did I grab all the books? Do I have all the books I wanted to bring?! I was in a pure panic. My chest started to seize up and my heart was thudding with the weight of a bowling ball in my chest. My books don’t matter. I wasn’t convincing myself. They aren’t everything. So what if I don’t have them all? Wrong question to ask. Yes, I have them. All of them. Don’t worry. I brought the three books I wanted to bring along with me. My heart could return to its new normal of banging around my chest like a loose boulder.
It became evident that my driver was deaf. It begged the question in my mind: which of us is truly deaf? I knew in my soul within an instant that it wasn’t the driver. Woe be to me, the one who has hearing, but chooses deafness as a better alternative. I — not my driver — am to be pitied for this disability. My driver is a beautiful masterpiece of the Lord. He is the crowning achievement of creation. My deafness is merely a device of the devil, a result of self-centered inattention, navel gazing.
How unwilling have I been to listen to the wisdom and prodding of the Holy Spirit! How unflinching have I been in my rebellion against my Maker! Father, forgive me for I know not what I do. But I know at the same time precisely what I’m doing; I know better.
I am the one who is in control, but completely out of control in that moment. I know exactly what I should do, where I should be headed; I am over my head and struggling with persistent anxiety attacks. I am aimless, but I know what to do. It’s amazing the ways I will deceive myself. My poor perception of self-importance is truly embarrassing. At last, my eyes are opening.
With my eyes, so is my heart opening. While freaking out about my books — this lasted for several moments of silent screaming — I held onto the thought that my current breath is a tremendous amount of grace I’m inhaling. Inhale This breath. Is enough. Inhale And this breath. I began to see that I may only have this breath. And that is grace enough. That is enough.
Is deafness truly a disability? Or is it a gift of a different kind? I contend that the only true disability is a gift underutilized or unused altogether. I think we’ve fundamentally misunderstood the concept of disability for too long and I’ve fallen in this.
Father, open my ears to my wife and my fellow man. May I hear the hopes and dreams, the fears and anxieties; may I grasp the beauty in the divine humanity within and around me. May I love the visceral grace that knit me in the womb and that evidenced by the beings around me. Amen.
Originally published at faiththroughdoubt.com on August 24, 2017.