While I do not watch this TV show, I did run across this clip a few months ago, and it irritated me. It alerted me to the urgency of interpreting. It enticed me to think about how a potential job in ASL would provide a daily – even hourly – sense of purpose. I will not be behind a desk with my face fastened to a screen for 8 hours. I hope that if I do this, if I become an interpreter, I will be in constant need. I desire a purposeful job, as I want a purposeful life that honors and pleases Christ. Is this the correct path he wants me to honor him through walking on it? Perhaps —
“The LORD said to him, ‘Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say,’” Exodus 4:11-12.
“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” -Psalms 90:17
“Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” -Proverbs 31:31
In the simplest terms, I feel like God has been bothering me about hanging on to sign language. I compulsively think about it, it will badger me every time I am asked about the future, and…I think I want it. I think I want to study it more, at least for a while. I think maybe I can do real good in the world if I make it. And to start making it, I have to try.
Of course there doubts. I worry constantly about the decision I have somehow made. How much longer will I torture myself in school? How old will I be when I finally do enter the “real world”? How will the day-to-day look as I continue studying? Will I get stuck in my hometown for even longer than I thought? Will people (my age and my elders) think I am crazy for prolonging something that seemed to come out of nowhere, or pursuing something that appears to be a fad or a whim? These doubts, questions, fears, and potential regrets have kept me up for way too many nights. Grappling with them have left me faint, vulnerable, and highly self-conscious of my own desires.
You know what it reminds me of? The final lines of the 1946 film The Best Years of Our Lives. Fred and Peggy finally come together, and as Peggy smiles in joy and relief, Fred gives her the honest truth, but with the tone of a strong work ethic and an understanding that it won’t be handed to him in his voice:
“You know what it’ll be, don’t you, Peggy? It may take us years to get anywhere. We’ll have no money, no decent place to live. We’ll have to work, get kicked around.”
This is the attitude I want with regard to the next phase of my life, the life that I mindfully choose. I want to lean into the struggle and upcoming hardship I know I will face. I have been told that interpreting can be lonely – and I think that is due to the isolation some have felt with regard to the Deaf community. I have also heard that interpreting is emotionally taxing, especially when having to sign to someone they have cancer, or have to interpret in a difficult situation. I want to lean into these things – I refuse to look at life for all the ways I can avoid pain. I don’t want to find the perfect, comfortable niche in the world. I want to find the place I belong, the place that was set for me.