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May 2012 Devotional

Chas Wirick

Luke 10:25-35

ASL Spirit

Luke 10: (25) Just then an expert in the law stood up to test him, saying, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
(26) What is written in the law?" He asked. "How do you read it?"
(27) He answered: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."
(28) "You've answered correctly," he told him. "Do this and you will live."
(29) But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, "And who is your neighbor?"
(30) Jesus took up the question and said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into hand of robbers. They stripped him, beat him up, and fled, leaving him half dead. (31) A priest happened to be going down that road. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. (32) In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. (33) But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion, (34) he went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. (35) The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to innkeeper, and said, "take care of him. When I come back I'll reimburse you for whatever extra you spend."
(36) " Which of these three do you think proved to be neighbor to man who fell into the hands of the robbers?"
(37) "The one who showed mercy to him," he said.
Then Jesus told him, "Go and do the same."

I am thinking about the Bible passage. This passage helps me to get clear picture of what it means to take care of people and show mercy each other. I am Deaf, and I grew up in hearing family. I went to hearing schools. I was usually the only Deaf student in class. I experienced frustration from hearing students. My language and speech was rough. I was told that I could not graduate from high school, but I did graduate!

In 2006, I went to Gallaudet University, the only liberal arts university in the world for Deaf people. I was happy, and I learned American Sign Language (ASL). Then, I realized that my sign language was rough! When I entered Gallaudet University, I was not really good with ASL, as I communicated with oral, Pidgin Sign English, and English. I wanted to be part of group who was strong with ASL. I was overwhelmed with them because I am not usually fast with sign. They seemed really smooth and comfortable. I put pressure on myself to understand what they are signing to me. I couldn't catch everything they said.

I was just like the man on the road to Jericho, only it was my language they beat up! I was on the ASL road, and people from Gallaudet were passing me, not helping me. They criticized my sign language. People look at me like I failed with my ASL. Some Gallaudet students looked at me and thought that I signed to dry. Their ASL was very smooth. I felt stuck. No one would help me. At that time, when my sign was not good enough, I remembered God. I never forget that God was always with me. God gives me happiness. Sometimes people give me sadness. I should focus on God instead of people. God has plan for me to give me smooth sign language.

In 2008, I participated in Eyefest, a celebration of ASL at Gallaudet. I signed my story called "ASL Spirit." On the stage in front of all the Gallaudet students, I closed my eyes because lights were too bright for me. I am more comfortable when I close my eyes. I tried to calm myself to make people understand the point from my story. I told them my story and my joy to be at Gallaudet because I want to develop my sign language skills. I saw that other Deaf students were happy at Gallaudet. I saw that they increased knowledge and education. ASL helps Deaf people. We can't live without sign language.

Here is Eyefest stage story:

"My ASL Spirit Here"

When I use my engine with my arms, it helps me to develop more sign language. That becomes smooth. When I pass out ASL signs on my hands to Deaf people, they seemed cheer up with ASL. Then something happens like a bonfire. Deaf people pass out signs to other Deaf, and then the signs spread. One Deaf person who led this group of people lit it up from match, then threw it into the bonfire. If we do this the flame becomes higher than we can imagine. They cheered up the flame above the sky. Deaf people become united; stand together in ASL, not divided from the spirit.

I am saying it is very rough for Deaf baby to understand hearing world. When a Deaf baby is born, the hearing parents wish Deaf baby can hear. They are so sad that Deaf people can't hear beautiful sounds. But, Deaf world is more beautiful than we can ever imagine. When Deaf people unite in ASL spirit, we become more beautiful than we could ever imagine. We have to stand together in ASL, and help each other to make the future brighter. When one Deaf person sees sign language for first time, wow, they are shocked. Where did I learn sign? I learned sign where at Gallaudet University. Wow! When I enter Gallaudet, my hands were rough. I struggled for my sign. I need someone to oil my hand engine. I am so hungry for ASL. I am begging for ASL to put oil on my hands to make it smooth.

When I finished the story, I opened my eyes and saw the audience. They didn't seem cheerful. Oh, no! They told me I didn't do well at Eyefest because I closed my eyes. They didn't have mercy on me, because I closed my eyes. I am trying to move on and forget about the past. I am trying my best to sign with ASL spirit. They haven't seen how beautiful the ASL spirit can be if we stand united. Then the Bonfire will reach up to the sky like a fiery joy. They still don't really understand that we should be thankful to God for sign language.

Deaf are like the man who was beaten. The Deaf are beaten by hearing and other Deaf who do not accept their language. When we see someone struggling to communicate smoothly. We should not just pass them by like the priest and the Levite. God overcomes pain, He gave Deaf people ASL. It is so beautiful for God to give us sign language to communicate with our hands.

Prayer: Thank you God for our hands, so we can make every day brighter. Help us to remember to love each other. Like the man who stopped to help the robber's victim, let us not ignore or tease Deaf people who struggle to communicate. Help us to remember to be like Good Samaritan. Let the Deaf and hearing people have mercy and help each other. Let the Deaf unite and help each other to make the future bright for all Gods people. Let us use our ASL spirit to light up the future for everyone. Thank God for our ASL spirit.

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