07396 236214 (voice & text) openearsministry@hotmail.com

To be, or not to be, that is the question.

During Lockdown, my immediate household have really enjoyed some amazing theatre in the comfort of our own home (pj’s and dressing gowns, sweets and hot drinks – even pausing for loo breaks as needed!) courtesy of both The National Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company. We have always enjoyed live theatre but, no doubt like many of you, trips to the theatre with our daughter, Emily, have been fewer since she lost her hearing as the limited number of shows with captions make it difficult always to be able to work them into our own schedule.

Many of Shakespeare’s plays contain lines which we all know well, even if we don’t quite know which play they are in, nor who actually said them!  One famous speech is given by Hamlet:

To be, or not to be, that is the question: 

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles

And by opposing end them. To die—to sleep,

No more; and by a sleep to say we end

The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to:

“To be, or not to be, that is the question.”

A few days after our theatre-outing-at-home, my husband and I were visiting another daughter and her family.  Emily did not come with us, much to the disappointment of her niece and nephews.  I explained that, as we were going on a bike ride, ‘Aunty Memem’ had stayed at home because she can’t ride a bike.  They seemed to accept this but later Micah, aged 5, asked his mum why ‘being deaf meant you couldn’t ride a bike?’  His mum explained that, along with deafness, Aunty Memem also has balance difficulties which make it impossible for her to ride a bike.  This answer seemed to satisfy the little chap, and we had a good day out, enjoying the countryside and working up a good appetite for our picnic.

The time drew near for us to leave the family and head for home when Micah suddenly said to me, “Deaf or Dead.”  I was a little startled and, as I looked at him, he said, “That’s what Aunty Memem had to choose, didn’t she?”  Clearly, Micah had remembered hearing of the time when Aunty Memem, aged 20, faced that dilemma when her surgeon said, “If we operate, you will lose your hearing, if we don’t operate, you will lose your life.”

Big brother Josiah, aged 7, chipped in; “Why did she choose to be deaf?  Didn’t she want to die?”  (Deep and meaningful conversations for bedtime!)  I said that ‘I guessed she hadn’t wanted to die’, and ‘weren’t we glad that she hadn’t as we would much rather have Aunty Memem with us, even though she is deaf, than not have her at all, wouldn’t we?’  This was greeted immediately with shouts of “Yes” from both boys then Micah, with real earnestness saying, “because I really, really REALLY love Aunty Memem.”

Silence for a while, then Micah said, “That would be a bit tricky for me.  To have to choose….because I wouldn’t want to be deaf.”

‘To be, or not to be, that is the question.’

Thankfully, most of us do not have to make such choices, we do not have to decide

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles

And by opposing end them. To die—to sleep,

No more;

I’m guessing none of us would willingly choose to have hearing loss.  But we do all need to choose how we will meet and handle

The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to: 

When we feel overwhelmed with the heart-ache of life, it is good to look up.  To look up and meet the loving gaze of our Heavenly Father, who watches over us with love. We can trust him with our life and with our death when we know eternal life in him. He shelters us with his wings.

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!  People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.  (Psalm 36:7)

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge.  I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.  (Psalm 57:1)

Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 63:7)

 

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.                (Psalm 17:8)