Deaf or Blind?

Hypothetical questions have always been a big part of my growing up, and my siblings and I could amuse ourselves for hours over them. After watching Home Alone for the first time, we hypothesised what we would do if robbers ever tried to break into our house if our parents were away. What if the moonlanding was a hoax? What if teleportation were possible? Would you rather fly or be invisible? In a hypothetical world, creativity is limitless.

One particular hypothesis that would crop up now and then was the question of, "would you rather be deaf or blind?" It's an interesting one, and fascinating that—out of all the human body's senses—these two usually tie for priority. Most people know if they were given a choice, what they would choose.
“Okay, so I went into clinic this morning, and I was telling my surgeon that I’d rather be deaf than blind. And he said, ‘It doesn’t work that way,’ and I was, like, ‘Yeah, I realize it doesn’t work that way; I’m just saying I’d rather be deaf than blind if I had the choice, which I realize I don’t have,’ and he said, ‘Well, the good news is that you won’t be deaf.'" — The Fault in Our Stars
If a person is deaf, they still have the ability to be independent. They can see to live on their own, drive, read, and speak, if only by sign language. A deaf person is not as dependent on others to live their life. Blindness, on the other hand, takes away a whole realm of abilities. Travelling alone becomes an impossibility; even getting dressed in the morning is tenuous. Yes, it is almost unanimous. It would be far easier to be independent deaf, than blind. 

However upon meditating on the topic, I've noticed how much of life—the vibrant, engaging, beautiful, withness of life—is found in hearing. A group of friends sharing a joke and laughing till their bellies ache; the tearful voice of a friend in pain, the pealing sound of music pouring from an instrument, the birds calling early in the morning, the bustle of a busy place full of people, the roar of a waterfall, the quiet sound of a child breathing, asleep in your arms. Sounds connect us to the now in ways that sight doesn't always manage to do. Not to discount the beauty of sight, and the gift it is to take in this world through our eyes, but how must a deaf person feel in a room full of people; watching people's mouths move, and their eyes light up with a laughter they cannot hear, or witnessing a soulful story told without the tone and inflection of the storyteller? I can't help but imagine it would create such a feeling of disconnectedness.

I often wonder if physical blindness is an example of what it is to trust in Jesus, and have our life hidden with Him. For we could certainly be independent deaf, but it would mean a disconnection from the audible world of laughter and music that makes life so full. Blindness needs someone to lean on, someone to be there whenever you leave the house, and to take you where you need to go. Blindness is co-dependent, yet it gives us a life full of volume and greater connection to the present. I think Scripture points to this similarity. 
O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. — Jeremiah 10:23
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." — Isaiah 55:8-9
For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, And He ponders all his paths. — Proverbs 5:21
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. — Proverbs 3:5-6
Interestingly I find that I am most deaf to God's voice when I'm trying to do things on my own. The less I see, the less I understand, the more I need to trust in God's grace, and His leading. The more blind I am, the more dependent I am, and it is often there I find so much more abundant joy and peace. 

This isn't to say that God doesn't long to reveal to us what He has in store for us (Prov. 25:2, Ps. 98:2, Col. 1:26), but the posture of our hearts should be one of trust. Never is our trust so tested than when we find it difficult to see. Man, how often I ache to see what is up ahead! To see something new on the horizon, to get a head's up for what is coming down the road. But if I could see, would I still be able to hear my Father's voice? I wonder. 

Here's to those still stumbling in the dark, but hearkening after the voice of the Shepherd that guides us. May we never grow so independent that we grow deaf to Love's voice leading. We are your sheep, O Lord, and we know Your voice. 
For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion." — Psalm 95:7-8
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. — John 10:27
Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left. — Isaiah 30:21

Share this:


Post a Comment

Please feel free to share your thoughts. I would love to hear your perspective. Let's learn from each other.