The past few months have been so overwhelming I have found it almost impossible to write. I remember once reading that how women respond to the intensity of childbirth tends to be very much like they respond to other big events in their lives–some women feel the need to turn outward with their emotions and others turn inward. Both ways are legitimate ways of dealing with pain or overwhelm, and I’m very much the second kind of woman.
I know I need to push past that strong urge to retreat way down within myself to tell you all a little bit of what has been happening. I owe it to you all, because of how you have blessed me beyond description.
Several months ago, Will and I were finally able to go to Kansas City for a hearing check-up for me. Being deaf and having a cochlear implant means I need to get periodic check-ups and sometimes my implant needs to be finetuned.
When we got to Midwest Ear Clinic (after the trouble of finding babysitters and taking time off work) the audiologist realized that she could not do the work my implant needed. My equipment was so old that a special computer had to be shipped in to the audiologist from the implant company.
Upgraded external equipment for my generation of implants was on the market now, the audiologist told us, and the new equipment was much improved over what I have been using for the past nineteen years.
Yes, we knew about it, because Will had called the implant company about it a few weeks before. But the cost for the most basic package was $10,000, more than we felt we could pay.
In the meantime, Will and I couldn’t do anything but turn around and make the five-hour drive home. We tried to make the best of the rotten situation by staying a night in a hotel, eating out together, and taking a long walk through a beautiful park. I loved the quiet time with my favorite person, but if we were going to just spend time together, I would have rather not driven ten hours to do it! Still, I was glad to be with Will, and glad that things were not worse, even though my heart ached.
Anything related to my hearing is very sensitive and often painful for me because of so much past trauma. Even though God has healed me in many ways, I still have tender places. Maybe they will yet be healed, or maybe they will always hurt, I don’t know. I do know that I’ve been through enough trouble and seen God with me that I trust Him to take care of me even though I feel sad.
When we got home from that futile trip, my friend Hannah messaged me. “Could we set up a GoFundMe account for you so you can get the upgrade you need?” she asked.
Will and I talked it over. I thought of all the starving people in the world who needed money more than me. It was hard to think of taking something from people who could give it to others who needed it more, or from people who really needed it themselves to pay their most basic bills. But I decided to leave it up to Jesus and what He wanted to do.
To make a long story short, the next weeks overflowed with God’s goodness coming through His people. Money poured in for my implant upgrade. Every time a donation showed up in the GoFundMe account, I felt my heart leap to my throat. Checks wrapped in words of kindness came in the mail. People sidled up to me at church or at work and slipped money into my hand. The hospital in Medicine Lodge put on a fundraiser for me. I received more than I needed for the upgrade! (I put the extra money into a special savings account to be used only for hearing needs as my deafness will be a lifelong expense.)
Every single donation was unspeakably precious. I cried more than once. Many times, in fact. All my life I’ve had this huge burden of deafness, and each gift felt like it was someone lifting a corner of that burden and saying “Here, we are going to help you carry this.”
That kind of love is very overwhelming to me. I have done nothing to deserve it. I can only conclude that this is what Jesus looks like: love pouring out onto people who don’t deserve it. I didn’t choose to be deaf, and I wouldn’t choose it again. But to be loved in spite of my deafness is precious indeed.
Monday after work I came home to THE BOX from Advanced Bionics! On November 6, I have another appointment in Kansas City to program the new equipment. I’m excited to see what I can do with my upgrade. I know that I will always be deaf, and no equipment can change that. But any small improvement in my hearing is a precious gift, one I do not take lightly.
My heart is full of gratitude and a new awareness of what the love of Jesus looks like.
To all of you who donated, thank-you seems so small, so trite. But I mean it from the bottom of my heart! I noticed and cherished each gift. Thank you for bringing God’s love to me.