Written by Grace Scheller
Growing up for me was like a tidal wave of emotions. Some days were spent in laughter. But was it really laughter of joy that I had or was it laughter to hide something? Sometimes laughter is the way to escape the tears in a person’s heart. Sometimes I remember my heart would hurt in lack of knowledge about how it all connects.
God, who am I? Why am I here on earth?
At the age of three I discovered that I was hard of hearing (which is proper terminology for the biological aspect of my hearing loss). My hearing loss is a mild to profound. I hear deep and low-pitched sounds better. At the age of three I was force to wear these ridiculous things in my hears, otherwise know as hearing aids. It made sound unfamiliar and sometimes even unwelcoming. It got to be too much for the three year old I once was, to the point that I simply placed them in the trash.
Church wasn’t always the comforting place for me to go to when I felt different and needed comfort. Instead of hugs and a simple greeting of “good morning,” I was given a hand shake and a “may God bless you.”
Why may God bless me? What does it mean to be blessed, anyway?
Growing up, Mom insisted we all attended Sunday mass dressed in something I don’t always feel pretty in: a dress. Growing up it was like you wear a dress to look like a gorgeous girl. But it’s just a dress and it didn’t make feel pretty at all because it never hid the thing I used to hate the most: my hearing loss.
It had gotten to a point where I found out God speaks to children through Jesus in the most comfortable way for them to slowly but gradually have knowledge about God’s love so that it plants the roots into the heart and pumps the blood of God’s love.
But one day I decided enough was enough on not knowing God’s love. “But why do we have to go to mass, Mommy?”
What’s God, anyway?
But punishing me for missing a mass wasn’t the best way to tame this little shrew to learn to be obedient. “Go to your room, close the door, and think about God!”
But who’s God?
After what seemed like long enough time, I became bored in my own room. After all, the cool toys were in my sister’s room so that I wouldn’t “accidentally” break them when I played with them.
Okay…but what do I do now? That was a really good question. Who was this God that we talked about in Sunday School? I didn’t really know what the talk was all about because I simply couldn’t hear. It wasn’t because I was not listening, but more because I couldn’t listen. And every time I would speak about anything it usually sounded like gibberish. I was forced to learn to read lips and learn to speak sounds I will never be able to hear. The oral English sometimes feels like a foreign language to me.
“You’re impaired. Just look at me and read my lips. Do you understand what I am saying?” No, I do not have the ability to do so.
It’s the summer of 1998 and I am a freshman in high school.
God, why am I like this? Why am I so different? Why do I have to live at all? You’re not there so I want to end it all. Life sucks and is not worth living. God, why am I being beaten up in the bathroom? God, why I am receiving a harassment letter and being betrayed by a friend I knew from kindergarten. God, why am I pressured to have a sexual relationship with someone I am not even attracted to?
That was the turning point, my friends. When you are at the deepest point of having your heart crashed and burned you will be reminded that you are not alone. God will send someone to you and he will save your life in a way you never thought was possible. He will give you the courage to change the things you can and accept the things you can’t, like a cousin who committed suicide. May you rest in peace, Christian. I regret not being able to save you.
Friend, let’s face the reality of things. We are not perfect. But we are all unique in our own ways. We are just human beings. Whether we’re students at a state school or small school in a theology class, the fact is we are not alone. We are never alone. We are a part of something so much more and that is a family of love, because God is love and he gives us all love in our hearts to love ourselves and each other. So if you ever feel lost, remember you will be found and you will experience comfort, peace, and love.
I am one that has been lost and now I am found. I have been found through my faith in God. I went on to attend Model Secondary School for the Deaf and graduated in 2002. Then I went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Arts in Education from Gallaudet University in 2010. Now, I am working on earning my Masters of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Seminary Theology.
Look around, we are never alone. So, even when it feels dark in life and the tidal waves of emotions are crashing in, you will be found and you will be loved.