I sat in the ASL interpreter’s section in church again during this Sunday’s service. There was an older man who is deaf sitting in the same row as me and I was able to communicate with him a bit, although I am still not able to read signs quickly, so most of my conversation with him was handled through one of the interpreters.
I was glad, though, that I made an attempt at least to communicate on my own, even though I quickly lost track of the conversation and needed help. I was only able to say “good morning,” but it was something, and more than I could have done a few months ago. As a matter of fact, the man I was talking to initially assumed I was a new interpreter for the service!
True conversational skills will be a long time coming, but I have made progress, and the feeling of having enough confidence to engage in a conversation is much appreciated. I may not be very fluent, but I can still show my respect for others by doing the best that I can to communicate in their language.
One of the songs sung during the service was “Take my Life and Let it Be”, and as I was signing along to the interpreter’s motions I was struck by just how much more poignant one of the lines is in the context of ASL.
“Take my hands and let them move,
at the impulse of Thy love.”
This was a touching reminder that my learning should be motivated by a desire to love others as God loves them. Sign Language is only one of many ways to show God’s love to those who may be overlooked or demeaned by society, but I feel that it is the one God has called me to pursue.
As I move into actively studying ASL on Thursday, when Spring Semester begins, I will remember this song as a personal reminder of what my end and motive should be for learning this new skill. When I remember the higher purpose of my work, that will help keep me energized even on days when I feel like I am making no progress.
I have chosen this song as my personal anthem for my life and goals, so that I will always remember Who ought to be the motivation for all that I choose to do. Truly living out the words of this song will mean that I ask myself on a daily basis, with all decisions, “Am I doing this for myself, or for God?”Applying this to all of my life, not just my ASL lessons, will make an impact on what I choose to do in my future, and hopefully in turn impact the world, if only a little, because of my following God’s purpose for my life.