The waitress approaches our table and we all give our orders.
I say confidently ‘Sausage and mash please.’
She does a double take, her hand hovering irresolutely over her notebook. Confused, I point to the menu; what’s the problem?
‘It’s the drinks orders, Tracy, not the food’ …
I go to the chemist to enquire if my blind friend’s prescription has arrived. The lady cannot understand me though my facemask so I lean forward slightly and try to speak more clearly. She goes off to check but when she returns I cannot understand her, so lean forward a bit more, overbalance and knock the distancing screen flying!
The bus is coming. I put my facemask on and my glasses instantly steam up. I take my glasses off and nearly miss the bus but manage to wave frantically. I get on, holding my glasses and hearing dog’s lead in one hand and guiding my blind friend with the other. She holds out her bus pass so I take it and place it on the scanner and then fumble to hold her pass, my glasses, my dog and my blind friend while I get my own pass. In the process I somehow put my glasses on the scanner instead of my pass and while struggling to swap them manage to drop the glasses on the floor by the drivers seat. My blind friend, unaware of what’s happening, tugs my arm to go and sit down. My dog, also unaware, pulls backwards to get off the bus. I mutter a swear word into the mask hoping it will catch it as effectively as it does Covid-19.
In the zoom church meeting my blind friend tells me that peoples’ voices are fading out because of poor internet signal so I decide to talk louder than usual to combat this problem. I haven’t realised however that the internet is now back to normal. My tinnitus is also bad that day so what I think is a slightly raised voice is actually a shout. I now need to pray for the church’s suddenly acquired deafness!
Has anyone tried cleaning their glasses or blowing their nose while wearing a visor? Or taking a jumper off and putting it on again in the present unsettled weather? Or what about when it rains? Have you ever tried lip reading while standing behind Niagara Falls?
I lie on the hospital couch for some tests and hold my iPad so my blind friend can type (using the separate keyboard) to let me know what the doctor is saying. Unfortunately the iPad doesn’t like this position and the typing swivels round… and keeps swivelling. I put the iPad down and try to guess what the doctor is saying. He stares at me, eyes round above his mask. I stare back unknowing. He mimes lifting his arm so copying him I lift mine. He stares at me, I stare at him. Has he spoken? He grabs the iPad but the moment I hold it the typing swivels round. Somehow we eventually manage to complete the tests. He is kind. He understands.
After church a lady comes to talk with my blind friend and I. She is very distressed. I can’t hear her and feel too panicky to read what my blind friend finger spells on my hand. I feel inadequate, a failure. But then a gentle whisper comes in my heart. ‘She is burnt out as she says yes to every demand, feeling that only then she’ll be accepted. But I love her with an everlasting love. Nothing can separate her from my hand.’ Hesitatingly I tell her this. I’ve no idea what she’s been saying but my word is right and touches the root of her need. God has enabled me to help this dear lady. With Him deafness doesn’t matter. I, like everyone, can hear His voice. I too can be His channel of love.