At a recent event, I was seated in the second row of a large auditorium. As the audience filed in, two people strode to the front and took their seats, facing us. At first, I thought they were some of the presenters, but when the lead presenter began speaking, their identities were clear, they were signers.
I never had the privilege to sit so close to a signer of ASL (American Sign Language). At most events when a signer was present, they were positioned off to the side or I was too far back to clearly discern the nuances of their actions. Not this time. Although no audible sound was heard, they were communicating far more clearly than the actual speaker. At most, there was a second delay between the spoken word and their signing. Even if I tried, I would not be able to verbally repeat what a person was saying with the same rapidity. These signers were not only keeping this remarkable pace, but they were also embellishing it with their expressive body language.
Some cultures incorporate expressive movements of their hands and face when speaking. Signing is an even more refined presentation as I was delighted to learn that day. Even subtle expressions of speech were slightly exaggerated by the movements and facial expressions of each signer bringing a fresh and engaging mode of communication.
It was beautiful and mesmerizing!
Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember?
Mark 8:18 (ESV)
God gifts most of us with all of our senses and how often I take these gifts for granted, failing to be thankful for the blessings that God has given me. The signers were communicating directly with two audience members in the front row and the joy and appreciation on their faces moved me to tears. I thank God for such wonderful people who sign and provide such a precious service to the many deaf people of our world. They communicate louder and more clearly than many people who only audibly speak. I am humbled and in awe of their great skill and dedication and their generous spirits to serve God’s Creation.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.