Line Of Sight

My husband and I figured something out driving home from church today. At a certain stoplight that seems to always be RED when we get to it, Chloe begins growling and barking. Up until today, I had not figured out what it was that had her so rattled.

Normally, I would ask one of my teens in the backseat, “What is she looking at?” However, they drive to church by themselves as they have to get there earlier than we do as they are “greeters” for the 2nd service. (It’s wonderful to have teens who can drive and choose to be involved in things that mom and dad are NOT. It shows they are as comfortable with “growing up”, as I am with their doing so!)

I happened to look back right at the right time “mid-growl” of Chloe, and realized she was angry at the big red horse that stood on top of Red Horse Inn and Restaurant. As you can see from this picture, it’s hard to miss!

Yet, as I never could get in the same line of sight of Chloe, I could not figure out what it was she was barking at prior to today. Understanding is much more clear when you have the same line of sight.

One of the first things I learned from my trainer, Pat, was to pay attention to your hearing assistance dog. Trust your dog. Chloe has much better hearing than I do. (Chloe has much better hearing than a person with normal hearing too!) If I pay attention to where her attention is suddenly drawn, I’m sure to be more aware of my environment and “things that make sound”. Chloe is actually really easy to watch for cues… even from behind. Her forehead and eyebrows get all wrinkled up, and she has that cute “one of a kind” canine characteristic of cocking her head to the side. However, sometimes I cannot tell what has her attention. Sometimes I must get down on her level so that our line of sight is the same. Only then can I see what has caught her and those incredible ears, attention.

It reminded me about how we often fail to understand others if we do not have the same “line of sight“. Sometimes it is difficult for me, a forty-one year old woman, to understand a teenage girl. I was one once… long, long ago in a land far, far away! (Hey! Walsh, Colorado… a ranching/farming community in SE Colorado is a world away from the DC area in which I now live!) Yet much has changed and I have changed. Time has changed all of that for me!

It is difficult to understand a disability unless you have the disability yourself, or are close to a person with that disability. I have two deaf/blind friends living in Florida of whom I love and respect. I cannot completely understand their frustrations and struggles as my disability although similar, is not exactly the same. One of my friends… although not as blind/deaf as their spouse, understands more clearly than I. They have a closer relationship to that person than I do. Our line of sight is not exactly the same.

I am convicted in the knowing that one doesn’t have to have the same line of sight to feel compassion for someone else.

So I feel like I learned something about line of sight today. It’s important to put yourself in a position if at all possible, to share the same line of sight as someone else. When you have the same line of sight as another, be willing to commiserate with them and encourage them… you know what it is they live. If your line of sight is completely different than another, we are still responsible to reach out in love, compassion and PRAY.

One day, our line of sight will be the same as Christ’s. Won’t it be wonderful to have Heaven’s line of sight?

Denise Portis
©2007 Hearing Loss Diary

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