When you have a progressive hearing loss periodically you go through times of grieving, where you come face to face with the reality of the things you can no longer do and mourn their loss. These can be challenging times, not just wrestling with the loss of abilities but also deeper issues – what do you really believe about God, life, your future… and you don’t get to pick when you deal with all of this!
This year the grief descended right after Christmas. It’s hard to sit at a table when your son and his fiance are visiting and you can’t hear what they are sharing. It’s hard to not be able to talk on the phone and even when you Facetime to only catch bits and pieces. And then there are holiday parties…
On the way home from Jim’s Christmas work party he asked me, “How much could you hear?” And I responded, “Maybe 10% of what was said the entire evening. I don’t even know why I go!” But then he replied, “You know how when people are hurting they say it’s not your words that make a difference, but your presence? What if it’s your presence that’s making a difference Deb?” Talk about an encouraging thought!
But still, God has created me to be a relational communicator and both are seriously impacted by my hearing loss. No getting around that.
For whatever reason, grief came and it wasn’t pretty. The night before New Years I couldn’t sleep so went into my art room, took out my black paint and painted a sheet of paper black. But then the Lord brought to mind Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, ” declares the Lord, “Plans to comfort you (some versions say “prosper” – I’ll take both!) and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” And I sensed him asking, “Do you believe this Deb?”
So I took some white paint and painted that verse on top of the black. As I did, a glimmer of hope entered my heart and I was able to go to sleep feeling much more peace than I’d felt all day.
How true it is the Lord is close to the broken hearted, even in our darkest times of struggle.