"In the aftermath of an exuberant craft time clean-up by a group of deaf kids being ministered to by some lovely visitors from France my ipod drowned on the kitchen counter, a victim of a mini flash-flood cascading down the kitchen cabinets from the guest house bathroom directly above. The soapy water tinged with "washable" green paint murdered my poor ipod. I'm left with an empty husk of technology, my music silenced and still." This was my facebook status last night. As mourned the loss of my music I was struck by the irony of my musical silence being inadvertently brought on by a group of deaf kids. They have never heard music, any kind of music, and in thinking along those lines I felt overwhelmed by sadness, not at my loss, but by theirs. The team from France is here to work with the one and only deaf school in all of Gabon. The kids attending this school represent a mere fraction of the deaf population here in Gabon.
Due to the rolling power cuts here in the capital city a group of kids bused to our little guest house to make a video. They painted their hands with vibrant artistic designs and placed their brightly painted hands over a black backdrop laid out on a table and were filmed from above. Their hands dancing across the backdrop forming fluid communication. I imagine it is a beautiful film, a chorus of flashing vibrant signs, hands of differing sizes coming together and parting again signing stories and songs against the black.
Words are like that, a flash of color splashed across a cavernous void. Words link us. They act as a binding agent when flung out in friendship. They also can sever tender threads of connection when thrown out in anger and fear. Words are some kind of beautiful magic. I love how words like beating hearts circulate life with each pounding pulse. Words fight to be born, whether through vocal cords or hands or symbols across stone or paper or screens.
My words typed out to facebookland about the demise of my ipod garnered much sympathy and one bit of sage advice from my dear friend Mary, "Stick it in a bag of rice for a few days and it may come back to life." So that is just what I did. I had a tupperware container of sifted uncooked rice and I plunged my lifeless ipod deep within and left it on the counter. This morning I pulled my ipod out and tried to turn it on. I was very skeptical that such a fix would do the trick. I pushed the power button and... nothing happened. I was met with a dark and empty screen, not a blip or a flash of life. I wasn't surprised but at the same time I felt the loss all over again. Curses to false hope! Then for some unknown reason I plugged it into my charger/player and I pushed the power button again. As I started to turn away, out of the corner of my eye, I saw an apple icon slowly go from dim to bright. I couldn't believe my eyes! My ipod has been resurrected! The music cannot be silenced! The uncooked rice immersion was much like a baptism of a most Holy Order! Death to life, empty darkness to resplendent light! Hallelujah!
So as the music plays and I type out these words I am once again a believer! I believe in miracles both big and small! I love how words move across lips or hands to land deep within. I love The Word. The first and the last Word: Alpha and Omega. Even when ears are closed and no sound can penetrate, words still filter their way deep inside the soul of each human heart. Music winds it's way by sound or by movement. Colors splash against the vast empty. Death to life. The miracle of The Word.
My favorite story is eternal, The Word became flesh. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... Through him all things were made... In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness..." John 1:1-4 Just as words dance even in silence formed by flashing signs made from hands and fingers of flesh, may your day be resplendent with bright words of life and light and may you know The Word and be made complete in knowing.
So this is my story of silence to sound. Of deaf kids signing words with painted hands dancing across darkness and a flood (not of epic proportions) and my ipod now aptly named Lazarus.