Several years ago I took American Sign Language classes and it was one of the best experiences of my life. It led to a very dark period for me but that was my own doing and – really – fodder for another post, or not.
That group of students was as eclectic as they come – or as you find in almost any community college class; regular students, house wives, security guards, people wanting an easy grade for their foreign language credit and a host of others.
Diversity was well served.
The thing about that that group that still amazes me was the enthusiasm that we all had for learning ASL. When we were not in class; we were together practicing or getting our “contact hours” – communicating /spending time with the deaf. We were always practicing, always together always signing. IF there was something going on and deaf people were going to be there, no less than five to 20 of us showed up.
It was a magical time for me.
I grew to not only enjoy the skills I was developing but I would say that I loved them and I was falling in love with Deaf culture – so much so that I quickly decided to become an interpreter. That did not pan out exactly the way I had hoped at the time but I can still – nearly 20 years later – hold my own in a conversation.
I got good enough at signing that, at one of the “Silent Dinners” I regularly attended, a deaf girl had to ask me if I was deaf or hearing. Now, if you’ve never interacted with anyone in the deaf community that may not seem like a big deal to you. I get it, she’d never met me how could she know – but they know. Believe me, they know – usually.
I spent so much time “speaking” with my hands there were times that I was not able to actually speak without moving my hands. In fact, that is where my whole post originates. A buddy asked me to talk to him without using my hands – I tried and simply could not do it. He further challenged me to sit on my hands – literally – and see if I could do it then.
I failed that test too.
It became apparent to me that communicating with my hands, facial expressions and body language was just the way I now communicated – and I was good with that because I was good at that.
How does that fit into the ideas here at PADAG?
Good question, thank you for asking.
I think we do the same thing with our gifts and talents. Instead of using them as best we can for God’s glory we sit on our hands trying to do something unnatural with something that should be second nature.
Too often, we wait for the exact right moment to move. We wait until all the variables are in place before we act. We waste our time and God’s resources waiting for everything to be perfect and the truth is that until we’re in Heaven nothing will be perfect and then it will be too late.
So, go write that song book or movie, take that class, talk to that girl, invite someone at work to join you in worship.
Now is the time to get off your hands and speak!
So, what are you sitting on that you need to turn over to God and use for HIS glory? Don’t be shy – leave me a comment and let’s talk about it.
One last thing, if you have not signed up with your email address and you want a FREE copy of my eBook when I finish it sign up today. I have most of it written and I just need to figure out a couple details then it will be ready to go.
Your best post ever! Reflective and revealing. Challenging and inspiring. Do what God wants you to do.
Thank you very much. I apprecaite the comment, the compliment and the encouragment! Good luck with your release! Stop by anytime.
I’m an ASL student, and the same thing happened to me! I talk with my hands constantly now, and sometimes I think it’s easier to express my thoughts in ASL than English. Great post! So glad I found your blog!
Glad you found your way here too. The expressive nature of the language is what gives it the beauty and it is functional – go figure. I don’t know how far you are in learning ASL or what your plans are – stay open tot he possibilities. Good luck. Perhaps we’ll see you signing the National Anthem someday on TV.
Feel free to stop back by any time.
I absolutely love the language so far and am looking into studying interpretation. Thank you! 🙂 You never know, right?
I’m sure I’ll be back!
I will tell you that NOTHING can replace actual contact and conversation with the deaf. You’ll gain more useful knowledge with them than you will ever learn in your class (no disrespect to your teacher), unless your teacher is deaf that gives you an edge too.
Absolutely! I’m starting to go to Deaf socials and pizza nights, as well as watching movies in ASL. Thank you for the advice!!
Mike if ti wasn’t for those classes we sould’ve never met. Sitting in the back of the room with you made the classes so much fun. pevin.
Our friendship is one of the many joys I still take from that class. – Thanks for stopping by, feel free to come back anytime.
great post, and insights…not sure what I am sitting on, but it is something and it is making my butt hurt 🙂 I need to get up off it!
Thanks April. I don’t know either but you’re right you have to get up. 🙂
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