My kids think this is weird, but I like to watch the finale of shows on TV. I don’t really watch much of the season, but like to see the end. Except for Survivor, that is one show I have never missed. (Kind of reminds me of working at a corporation).
Last night I watched the finale of America’s Got Talent. Wow, all the contestants were great, and they all had big of stories to go along with their talent. One of the contestants had been deaf for 10 years, and sang and played the guitar beautifully. Her name is Mandy.She couldn’t hear a word she sang, a note from her guitar, the audience applause or the judges praise. It was nothing short of remarkable.I, of course, got a tear in my eye, and my son thought I was too emotional. (I probably was).
It’s funny, but I had been thinking of sounds all day. It started at the beach when I walked past someone with earbuds connected to their phone, maybe listening to music, maybe something else. I have seen this many times, and always thought “don’t they want to hear the ocean and the wind?” Isn’t that part of the beach and nature experience? What if you couldn’t hear those things? That’s a lot different than not wanting to or oblivious to them.
I have really only spent time with one deaf person in my life. I will call him John because I can’t remember his real name. (That might be it after all). My best friend and I inherited him one summer when we were in our early twenties. He just kind of showed up at our door one day, and we somehow spent the next three months carting him around with us. (He didn’t have a car).
That summer I drove a huge 1-ton cargo van, painted Zebra stiped. (Got a lot of looks). It had no seats in the back, except for lawnchairs we would put back there when we were in party mode. Well, John sat in the middle of the one front bench seat, and my friend and I would turn our heads towards the windows and talk if we wanted to say something that we didn’t want him to hear. One day we were driving along, and a tire wrench fell from its perch on the side of the cargo area, and John turned his head immediately upon its crash on the floor. From that day on, my friend and I weren’t so sure he wasn’t faking it, so out window conversations stopped until the end of the summer when he moved away. I have always felt guilty about that.
Yesterday after I picked the kids up from school, my son and I went to the park so he could play basketball with some friends. I laid back on the grass in the shade, closed my eyes, and just listened. I heard kids laughing, screaming, crying, dogs barking, leaves rustling, cars going by, sirens, skateboards rolling, basketballs dribbling, birds singing, wind blowing, parents talking, a plane going roaring overhead. Quite frankly, it was overwhelming, the amount of layers in sound. I know they talk about it in music, but it’s right here in life.
I take my hearing for granted. I’m a visual person, and to me, a sound is an add-on to complete the picture. But what if I couldn’t hear? Think of all the milestones in my life that I would have missed. I can’t even begin to list them. My Mom reading me stories, my Dad and I talking while fishing, endless conversations with friends, my babies first cry, every time my kids call me Dad, laughter, my dog barking, cat purring and all the sounds of nature. A sound is a miracle.
One of my favorite sounds is the sound of doves cooing outside my open windows every day. I guess if I had to pick one sound I was aware of and appreciate, this is it.
I feel guilty now for sleeping with a fan or a white noise sound machine to cover up night sounds. I feel guilty for taking my hearing for granted (even though my hearing is pretty weak in one ear). I feel guilty that someone else might not be able to hear the things I can.
We should pay more attention to the miracles in our life. Sounds and the ability to hear them is one of them. I think I have been missing out on this gift to me. From now on, I am going to stop and listen more often.
How much is a sound worth………………Priceless.