Are you in "Park", or are you in "Drive"

Our pastor has been preaching on a great series called “Fuel”. I’m able to get almost everything he says, as much is visually referred to on the screen behind him with the main points… scripture references, etc.

I think I miss some things sometimes… especially when I’m trying to make sense of phrases that I’m not really familiar with as I do not HEAR these phrases in our culture today. For example, a couple of weeks ago prior to showing a video clip of something he put together, he said, “Roll that beautiful being privilege”. Since this made ZERO sense to me I turned to my husband with a question mark on my face. Now every spouse of anyone who is hard-of-hearing or late deafened know this look. If you could paint a giant question mark on my face, it couldn’t be any clearer than what this “look” means. Eyebrows raised, and a slightly astonished “o” look of my mouth.

Without missing a beat, Terry entoned carefully, “Roll that beautiful BEAN FOOTAGE”. Say what? Roll the WHAT?

Now I watch Bush’s baked bean commericals, but as my family pointed out hours after the service while still trying to explain it to me, closed captioning just doesn’t do the WAY “Roll that beautiful bean footage” is said. And evidently my pastor has this phrase NAILED.

We’ve really enjoyed going to Summit Trace… and I’ve even been able to quickly translate into ASL phrases such as… “track with me”, and “crazy sick”. My ASL is being updated into the 21st century! “Track with me” means… “stay with me… are ya following me? Get my meaning?” And “crazy sick” means “how very cool is THIS?” At least… these are the definitions my teenagers explain to me on a weekly basis.

This morning Pastor Bill explained that if you are stuck in “park” and are not in “drive”, then you aren’t being faithful. The Holy Spirit stands by ready to equip us if only we are willing to allow Him to do so. As I thought through this analogy, however, I began thinking that I never go from “park” to “drive”. Gee! There have been times in my life I’ve even gone in “reverse“. But I go from “park” to L1 or L2.

When I was a kid, my dad would take us all to the mountains several times a year. In the Rockies, that meant our van had to be put into low gear. It was the only way to get up some of those moutain roads. I learned pretty quickly that low gear on normal roads, can produce a lot of wear and tear on the engine!

Yet… as a person with a disability, I feel like I go from “park”, straight to low gear. If I’m on a mountain road with lots of other late deafened folks, I feel like I can minister to people. After all, our cars are at a similar angle, working hard at getting up the hill. But on normal roads, my being in low gear means that everyone else (those with normal hearing… the vast majority of folks in my world) are going a little faster – a little smoother. I have to stop for tune ups and oil changes much more often than my hearing friends and family. Their cars drive differently.

So in a church of hearing people, how can I minister to anyone if our cars are in different gears? I’m completely “fried” by 4:00 everyday. Listening by hearing takes a lot of work. My teenagers tuck me into bed every night. As a matter of fact, just last night – my 16-year-old daughter sat on the edge of my bed talking for a minute or two … and told me the next morning that my eyes just closed in exhaustion and I was asleep instantly. Truth be told, I don’t even remember her tucking me in last night. So fatigue is a real enemy I face… symptomatic of my disability.

Plus I’m hard to talk too… I have wires and gadgets and etcs., I employ to better hear to understand people. My cochlear implant is great! I mean, WOW! But if I want to minimize a typical response: “I’m sorry, could you repeat that please?”, I have to be “wired for sound”.

It’s hard being different.

Yet, I believe I am selling the power of the Holy Spirit short. If He is an “additive” I can add to my daily fuel, He meets me where I’m at… I don’t have to be in the same gear as other Christians to be used. Right? Are ya trackin’ with me? My commitment is to read God’s word and pray without ceasing. If the Holy Spirit is enabling me to “run”, I can do so WELL – no matter the gear. Besides… in a very positive way this keeps me incredibly dependent on Him! If I tried to get DENISE to live a righteous life… one pleasing to God… I’d have parts of my engine dropping out of the bottom of my vehicle daily. Dependence isn’t a negative thing after all… it’s an incredibly safe place to be with God. Isn’t that “crazy sick”?

Denise Portis
©2006 Hearing Loss Diary