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Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2014
Good Days Before UsPosted Wednesday, January 12, 2011, at 4:00 PM
I immediately knew my answer.
Sitting in a workshop, the speaker invited us to focus upon the good in our lives instead of the things that can drag us down.
"What is the best thing that has happened to you in the past twelve month?"
I went back to December 3, 2010.
This was the day I put on hearing aids.
I've been diagnosed as hearing impaired since I was fourteen years old. You might never have noticed it about me because I've become very good at reading lips. And, I've done the stereotypical thing about hearing impaired people. We always have the last sentence in any conversation. It's our way of making sure we aren't embarrassed by missing a remark from someone else.
My hearing loss is due to a neurological condition. I didn't ride motorcycles in my younger days nor work for very long at factories with loud mechanical noises. I've never gone hunting so the firing of guns didn't harm my hearing. And, according to the doctors, I'm fortunate in that loud music hasn't caused me to lose hearing.
However, I have "gaps" in the frequencies that others can hear normally.
I've gone through testing three previous times but was told the available technology couldn't help. I can hear very low frequencies and very high frequencies beyond the normal human range. For instance, I can hear jets passing overhead and light bulbs as they are beginning to burn out.
The middle range of frequencies has been my problem.
I've not been able to follow conversations at meal tables since September and began dropping out of fellowship experiences. I finally decided it was time to try testing once again. Lo and behold these new hearing devices went on the market in August.
Lo and behold, it works for me!
I cried twice on the afternoon I was fitted for my hearing aids. I suddenly heard a radio that had been playing music in the background. Later I heard a friend's voice for the first time, her range of speaking located in one of my hearing gaps. Those terribly cheap, tinty speakers in my car improved without my having to replace the vehicle. That night I turned down my television because it was too loud.
Too loud! And I wasn't missing every tenth word.
Ceiling fans now drive me nuts! The warehouse rollers used by the stockers at Wal-Mart sound like roaring tanks. And people have inflections to their voices that I've never recognized before.
At first I've been embarrassed about wearing hearing aids. Would others look upon me as being "old" because of them? Would people start treating me differently?
None of my fears have happened. In fact, people who notice them ask me fun questions and I've had a couple of men ask for the business card of the hearing center I'm using. I am growing my hair on the sides a little bit longer and perhaps that's because of my vanity.
However, the quality of my life has greatly improved. That's worth all of my fears coming true.
December 3, 2010 was the best day of my life in the last twelve months. I hope you can identify such a day for you. These days give us hope and encouragement. Spiritually, they affirm that our lives continue to get better.
"The glass is half full" attitude becomes contagious. The brightness of our experience shines like a beacon through the gloom and doom.
Nothing can drag us down.
May the year ahead be filled with so many great days that we'll have trouble choosing just one as our "best day of the year."
P.T. Wilson is the senior pastor at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, Greencastle, and is also the University Chaplain at DePauw University.