Saturday, April 18, 2015

Replace Limitation With Opportunity - The Evolution Of My Blog

A friend of mine told me a few days ago that I should show myself some grace.  Surprisingly, I did not have a quick response nor did I realize what an impact those words would have in the future.

You see, I often think of grace only as a biblical term.  In fact, throughout my childhood history in church I remember learning about this beautiful gift God gives us and mistakenly I believed that it was something only Christians received.  I now believe differently.  It is made clear though out the Bible and history that grace is something that is given to the deserving AND the undeserving.  I thank God for that.  I for one am an undeserving recipient.  I have wronged people in my life more than I care to admit.

I guess one could make the argument that very few among us are deserving but I think I believe the opposite.  There are so many of us that are deserving because that IS the very essence of grace. 

It's kind of like when you use the term "bad boy" to your child.  It is incorrect.  Your child isn't "bad" it's the choice that he made which is bad.  I feel like grace looks at the individual act and not the person as a whole.   Grace says, "I love you despite your mistakes."

Goal 1 - Show myself more grace

Since this journey began I have been forced to deal with things that other people never have and may never will.  And as my hearing deteriorates more and more I know that I will have to work even harder to have patience and grace with myself.   Because losing my hearing isn't a mistake I can correct, a behavior I can unlearn or a failure I can rise above.  This is something that happened outside of myself without any fault of my own and yet I am still forced to look this blemish in the face and call it what it is - a hurdle.

Lately, inwardly I should say, the frustrations are building and starting to affect my mood.  Specifically, I have felt myself get agitated as my limitations materialize.  I ask for patience from those closest to me while I navigate through and try to replace the word limitation with opportunity.

Goal 2 -  Replace limitation with opportunity

For those of you that don't see me much you may be wondering how my life has changed and what are these limitations and hurdles that I am referring to.   So here lies the top two most notable differences from 3 years ago till now.

First -  I will not hear everything you are saying.  Of this I can pretty much guarantee.  Customers, employees, family members, friends, cashiers, waitresses or some random person at Wal-Mart - there is no situation in my life that I fully hear with my hearing aids, with my beats headphones or with my ear buds.  Life is and forever will be just a bit more unclear than it was before. And the reason for this is because:

Turning up the volume does not equal turning up my understanding

While volume itself is a part of the problem the truth is that even loud sounds can be distorted. When I ask for repeating what I am really looking for is probably slower first, clearer second, and then louder last.

Now, I'm not asking you to speak as if you would be talking to someone who doesn't understand English.   But, if you remember from one of my first few posts very often speech can and does sound foreign to me. So as my brain races to find context in our conversation I need a bit more time to process what is being said.

 A couple of weeks ago Carter and Chris were waiting for the bus. I was upstairs with the two young ones and I hear Carter yelling something from the stairs. I am unsure if it is meant for me or not and so I do not respond knowing that Chris is down there to handle whatever the problem may be.

I hear the yelling again but because I cannot hear his words it really could be anything. So to make sure they didn't need me I moved to the stairs and I asked him to say it again. He yelled in a very anxious voice something that was unintelligible to my ears. I stated that I did not understand what he was asking me. The response was the same words said in the same hurried way but this time in unison with Chris. Having no contextual clues other than Carter was waiting to go to school I had completely nothing and I got frustrated.

"Guys!"  I huffed flustered.  "Just because you yell something louder does not mean I will understand what you are saying, please say it in a different way."  I felt pretty agitated with my ears at that particular moment.  But once Carter looked up at me where I could see his lips I got the information with no problem.    

Second - I have completely given up on TV.  We use captions 100% of the time.   Carter doesn't like them very much and I agree they can be distracting if you are not reading them like I am.  For me, they are so crucial that if something interferes with my line of sight by walking in front of the TV or just blocking my view I am ripped out of the show or movie I am watching instantly.

It goes from light on to light off and I feel disconnected

Most of the time if I watch a show at night without captions you will find me asleep within minutes.   

This also carries over into movies.  Chris and I are big movie goers.  We love taking a date night and going to a movie we want to see and we are happy to take the kids to a age appropriate movie that they are interested in.  Either way for me now I do not hear everything.  Unbelievably even with the loudness that is the modern day movie I will ask Chris at least once what was said.  Chris has recently encouraged me to get the "caption contraption" as I call it but I just can't bring myself to give in.  Pride and lack of grace hold me back.

Grace you say?  How is a lack of grace keeping me from using a tool that would help me hear?  Because as my friend mentioned at the start of this post:

I am not showing myself enough grace 

I am not able to say to myself,  "despite your limitation you are still whole and using an aid to hear is not something you should be ashamed of". 

In a true effort to do this you are going to see this blog evolve.  Look for me to invest more time in daily posts with personal stories.  More like a mommy blogger.  I feel like this will give you a true picture into my life and allow me to share with you the beauty that is this hearing loss journey as a full time wife, mom, and general manager of a restaurant. 

Show yourself some grace today