I waited patiently upon the Lord; he stooped to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the mire and clay; he set my feet upon a high cliff and made my footing sure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many shall see, and stand in awe, and put their trust in the Lord. Happy are they who trust in the Lord! they do not resort to evil spirits or turn to false gods. Though I am poor and afflicted, the Lord will have regard for me. You are my helper and my deliverer; do not tarry, O my God.
- Psalm 40: 1-4, 18, 19
Thomas Gallaudet, whose mother was deaf, was the son of the founder of the West Hartford School for the deaf. Thomas was encouraged to work with the deaf and it was there he met his wife. He was ordained in 1851 and started St. Ann’s in New York, especially for deaf people. As a result of his work, congregations for the deaf were established in many cities across the country.
One of his students, Henry Winter Syle, became a priest in 1876. He became the first deaf person to be ordained by the Episcopal Church in the United States. He established a congregation for the deaf.
In reading the history of these gentlemen, I couldn’t help but think about what miracles we all are. It was 24 years ago today that my first child was born. This experience opened my once closed eyes to the possibility of a power greater than myself. Although I went to church as a young child and my mother had faith, God seemed far away to me. When my daughter was born, God came closer, or maybe I moved closer. The birth was hard to explain. I know we have the science behind it, however, facts and diagrams cannot replace the wonder and awe of it all. This, to me, was where God comes in.
I know we can often ask “why”. Why would God make some people deaf, some have certain handicaps, or not. Is there an answer? Acceptance that each of us is perfect in God’s eyes may be enough of an explanation.