Put the light on I can't hear you
by Linda Andrews
Many years ago, I had a friend in her 80's - much older than me. Sometimes she would say “Put the light on, I can't see what you are saying”. She was extremely deaf and although she had hearing aids they did not have much useful effect. She was a lip reader, so she needed to see movement of lips, facial expressions and gestures otherwise the words I spoke were meaningless to her.
I was reminded of her this week when I was talking to our care home worker daughter and to those who care for my mum. Wearing face masks is having dire effects on communications because many who are deaf and think they use hearing aids have unknowingly or otherwise relied on a lot of lip reading rather than the hearing aids. And how, has asked more than one care worker, can we support with a smile when they cannot see our face to see the smile and what they hear is muffled words. Clear masks I suppose would help, but it’s a case of use what you can get hold of.
Our words are important. Jesus used words – words relevant and meaningful to those who were listening. His words matter. They still do and we have the advantage of being able to read them. I have no doubt that Jesus' facial expressions also spoke volumes as did his actions and lifestyle of love and compassion for everyone and his anger towards those he called hypocrites. He put the light on for those who needed it and he did it in different ways.
I have sometimes wondered when I have stood in a pulpit or sat in a church how many hearing aids there actually are in the congregation. Rather a lot from what I have noticed. Now we are in different times using social media in more ways than I understand though if I was writing my own school report on my media ability it would be “Could do better with a lot more effort”. For some these new ways of working have been an advantage. The deaf can read the script. The non musical do not have to look as if they are trying to sing. Those who can sing can do so. Those with sight or reading issues can listen to various worship activities. Long may these things continue and eventually be done alongside whatever is done in church buildings.
So as Christians in everyday life, whatever state we are in, our lives should follow the pattern of Jesus. That is – using speech that is relevant and actions and behaviour that “speaks” our faith and puts the light on so that God's love is made clear.
Jesus said, “Those who have ears to hear, let them hear”. Let's make sure we do.
He also talked about being light for the world. Let's make sure we are.
Prayer to take time over
Loving Father, life seems so changed now. So many things are different and confusing. It's not like it used to be.
Yet I know that you, my loving Father, care for me and for the world. Help me not to be afraid or resentful. Remind me of those things I can be thankful for. (Sit quietly for a while to think about these things)
Give me the courage to cope with any changing health and circumstances. And help me not to worry, but to know that I am safe in your hands.
Linda Andrews 2020