Thursday, February 10, 2011

Silent Words

The ASL sign for "word"
The theme for week 6 of the MCP Project 52 is Words. This theme offered so many different options to choose from, that I had trouble deciding what to shoot. Stacks of books, printed words, words made from blocks; all of these were already represented in early submissions to the Flickr group.  So, I went with my first idea because it was different.

When I was 11, my church started a deaf ministry program and offered sign language classes to anyone who was interested.  I loved learning how to sign and looked forward to Sunday mornings where I could sing the hymns with my voice and my hands, and I could hear and see the words of the sermon as they were translated.

I made new friends through the ministry. We sat together during church and sometimes met for lunch afterwards.

I surprised my neighbor by introducing myself to her elderly father. I spent many hours with him, "listening" to stories of his youth and admiring his artwork.

A year later, we moved to another state, and I fell out of the practice of signing.  I still remember a few words and, of course, the alphabet, but I have forgotten most of what I learned.  But I will never forget the friends who welcomed me into their silent world with jokes and laughter and songs - friends that would likely have remained silent strangers without a common language to bring us together


Anonymous said...

I think sign language is great to learn. When it comes to the challenge WORDS
spontaneously a phrase comes into my mind:
if you dont understand my silence, you wont understand my words.
Have a wonderful weekend

Le'Ann Ruggles said...

Hi Paula! I really like that. I hope you have a great weekend, too. :)

Ada said...

I always wanted to learn how to sign. I admire anyone who takes the time to learn to communicate in that way.

Le'Ann Ruggles said...

Thanks, Ada! I wish that I had more opportunity to use it, then maybe I would not have forgotten so much.

vered said...

Beautiful story. I didn't realize sign language is like any other language - if you don't practice, you forget.

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