On Being Deaf and Mute

I often feel like a deaf and mute. I hear the words spoken to me but I do not understand; I speak out words but I am not understood. Part of this frustrating experience is age. The synapses in my neurons do not spark and trigger off as fast as they used to. The lag might just be milliseconds but still enough to leave uneasy and even embarrassing gaps in my conversations. Then there is the language barrier. English is my second language. My expressions, intonation and accent are different from those of native speakers. And finally, there is the generation gap. I am a child of the 60’s. My expressions, paradigms and worldview are from that era. They do not often work as well in this day and age of technology and computers.

It is a humbling experience. And it has taught me how to be even more patient, mainly with myself. I love to be with people. Often, I chose to be by myself to avoid embarrassing situations. I’d rather read a book than watch a TV show because I can understand better what I see than what I hear. I love moments of silence and solitude to enable me to make heads and tails of events and conversations, to make sense of what is happening in my life and hoping for my ears to be opened and my speech impediment removed.

Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
~ Psalm 32
Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”)
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Mark 7:31-37
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