Thursday, February 28, 2013

CJ's Blessing Day-Deafness is Their Gift

Every now and then, someone will see CJ and Liam with their hearing devices and make a sad face or say something well intended like, "Oh, I'm so sorry. It must be so hard." Well, sometimes it is hard. It's challenging to say the least, but it's not something to be sorry about. It's the cards we were dealt as a family, and we're handling them just fine.

That said, I wanted to share a story that I've shared before with others, though never really in writing.  It sort of explains why their hearing loss is so "okay" for me, why I don't find it to be some crushing death sentence.

CJ's hearing loss was confirmed when he was seven weeks old.  I'm pretty sure the audiologist hadn't ever told another set of parents that their perfect baby was Deaf because she told us to come back and retest in a few weeks because maybe his brain wasn't fully developed. If I'd known then what I know now, I'd have been worried about far more than just hearing loss upon being told that.  Still, we were clinging to that possibility and opted not to tell a lot of people what was happening with CJ's hearing. I told some of the girls I worked with and a couple of close friends, but that was really it.

CJ's blessing day was just two weeks after the day we'd heard about his hearing loss confirmation. It was a sort of somber morning getting him ready for church that day and I remember that both Byron and I were at a bit of a loss as to what to say.  In our hearts, I know we were both praying for all we were worth that he'd be given his hearing. 

We sat in the back row near some friends whom we hadn't yet told about his hearing loss.  I remember looking at them as they sat staring at my sweet baby telling me how beautiful he was. Just the week prior, my friend, Janna, had held him all during church and just adored him as this perfect little baby. I hadn't told her about his hearing, either.

It felt like an eternity before Byron was asked to bring CJ forward for his blessing.  My heart was pounding and I couldn't hold the tears back as I sat there pleading with God in my heart to please, please, please give this boy his hearing. How could he ever live a "normal" life without one of his major senses?? How on earth could a young mom like me be a good mother to a child with hearing loss?  What could I have done that would ever be so bad that the Lord would take my son's hearing??? 

As the blessing began, I remember finding a way to feel calm and just listen to the words.  First, he was given his name on the records of the church and then it came, "Carter, I bless you that you may never truly hear the words of your fellow beings."  It was like a knife to my heart.  WHAT?!!?  How could he be BLESSED with hearing loss?!?!  I looked up and saw the stunned faces of those in the congregation as they started to quickly realize what had just happened and what was really being said. This baby is Deaf. He doesn't hear. His ears don't function. I felt like all eyes were on me, feeling sorry for me, pitying me. It felt like time had stopped and I was here in this twilight zone space lost and unsure of what to do or where to go. After that eons-long split second, the next sentence came. "Instead, Carter, I bless you with ears tuned in to the Spirit of your Heavenly Father. I bless you with an ability to know and understand the needs of those around you."  I didn't understand at the time what it meant, but I knew I was heartbroken. I was still stuck on the first part, the part that said he wouldn't really ever hear me. 

After his blessing, Janna came up to me and hugged me and said, "I held him all last week and never knew.  He is still so beautiful and so perfect."  She didn't know it then and may not even know it to this day, but I clung to those words.  I needed someone other than myself to see my precious baby as perfect because, to me, he was perfect.  He still is. 

It took me a long time to come around and really understand and embrace what CJ's blessing really meant. It wasn't until he was about three years old and we started to see something in CJ that we've never seen in any other person.  He seemed to have this innate sense about other people. He'd walk up to people at church and randomly hug them, or sit on their laps, or give them the most sincere smile anyone could ever dream of.  That's how he came to know and love his Jim.  He just walked up to Jim one day and plunked himself on his lap and asked to play with his palm pilot and a bond was instantly formed.  The thing is that the people he'd choose to love on were the people who were silently struggling with something of their own. Sometimes he was the only person who could melt the heart of that one person who was just generally "grumpy".  It got to where some people would actually be a little disappointed if CJ didn't stop by and sit with them for a few minutes during church services.  They craved whatever "it" is that CJ possesses.

Even with his cochlear implant, CJ doesn't really hear like you and me.  It's a different kind of sound that we won't ever really comprehend, but he does feel and love and empathize deeper and more honestly than anyone I know. He has a direct line and true bond with his Heavenly Father and has a faith to move mountains.  His prayers are so pure and genuine like something I can only dream of ever having.  Indeed he does have ears tuned in to the Spirit of his Heavenly Father and that is a gift beyond compare.

So, this is why I see hearing loss as something other than a curse. Is it challenging? Oh yes.  And difficult sometimes.  And painful to watch my sons struggle to keep up with their "typical" peers.  Even with all that, I wouldn't trade what they have for anything else.  Deafness is their gift. 


  1. Thank you so much for this post. Honestly, I cried. I feel the exact same way about my son Malachi. We didn't know he was deaf until he was 1, but I also see that extra something in him. We had personal revelation after we found out that really made me understand that deafness is his gift as well. :)

  2. Made me cry - in a good way. Thank you for sharing. I, too, don't feel like I need the pity I see when People see my son's huge hearing aids (soon to be replaced with CI's). These kids are amazing and perfect and don't need anyone to feel sorry for them. Your CJ's blessing was perfect, too!