Now, before I go any further, you need to know something about me...I have a huge affinity for languages.....not the least of which is sign language. It fascinates me. I could watch a person sign all day long. It's like.... dancing poetry. I love seeing an impassioned person speak not only with their hands, but with their face....their eyes....the lift and sway of their shoulders.....the delicate stroke of their fingers.....it is moving and powerful!
So, naturally, when this man passed, there were several deaf people at his service. Seated front and center, was his family, and just behind them, slightly off to one side, was a group of deaf people. There were several songs during the course of the service, and a few other musicians who were friends of this man joined us onstage that day to celebrate his life. Standing on the podium, in front of this man's friends and family, I felt many different things. I had known this man, but not very well. Yet, just a few feet in front of me sat his wife....his daughter....his grandchildren.... countless lives that he had touched. I looked at this man's wife, right in the eye, and poured out my offering of music - a frequent thing for me to do - yet there were a few moments in this particular instance which remain, for me, unforgettable.
One of the songs we sang was Amazing Grace. I'll never forget looking into the eyes of this man's widow as we all sang together...."When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise, than when we'd first begun." Her face.....the face of one who had just lost her husband, the love of her life.....was so filled with joy.....she was even smiling. And my eyes started to water.... I was overcome, but for the sake of continuing with the song, I had to look away from her beaming face, and when I did, my eyes rested on the group of deaf people singing.....signing......and I found myself experiencing the same overwhelming feeling - but I couldn't look away. "We've no less days to sing God's praise.......with our hands." It was such a beautiful thing to see, from a vantage point not many get to witness......these people, pouring themselves out before the Lord, with the only earthly voice they had......their hands. I thought to myself.....in this moment, they are giving their all to the Lord....physically singing of the assurance that they'll be with Him for all eternity.... I watched them, and I marveled at how, because of their signing, they were able to physically show their love and devotion and joy! I thought of David dancing before the Lord....I thought of how no rocks would be crying out that day, because the praise sprang forth even from the deaf! I thought of being physically moved by the glory and presence of God.....and I longed for it!
I am not hearing impaired. I am a singer, and most people who know me, know me for my voice.....but, voice or no voice....how I long to ensure that my love and devotion and joy in Christ is just as evident to others as it was made to me by those who praised God with their hands that day! Not in a showy way.....not in a way that would bring attention to myself....but in a way that would cause others to take notice of the reason behind my joy. In a way that would make others curious about this Jesus, and want to hear the story of what he means to me.
And so my prayer, as I think back on this memory, is that I would always live my life in a way that brings glory and honor to God.....that His light would outshine my own.....that His breath would flow through me and His spirit pour out of me..... that I would be the hands and feet of Jesus, and that through me, others would see the One who lives within me, and desire to come to Him. May my life be as dancing poetry...an ode to my maker. Make it so, Father....Amen.