Saturday, June 26, 2010

RIP, eHarmony

Yup, you read that right. I closed my account on eHarmony. Because $60 is a lot to pay for one month and even though the monthly payment gets cheaper if you opt to do it for longer ($20/month for one year), it still adds up. I have insurance to pay for. And you know, food and stuff. A roof over my head. Frivolous things like that. I don't think I would recommend eHarmony to anyone, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless.

Anyway, I haven't had a "Hearing Aid" segment for a while, so here are a couple of thoughts:

On Vulnerability: I'm not a big swimmer. I mean, I like splashing around in the pool some, but I'm not crazy about getting wet (outside of baths and showers, that is). And I also am uncomfortable with the vulnerability that comes with not having my hearing aids in when I'm in the pool. Because without my hearing aids, I can't hear anything whatsoever at all (except for really, really high pitches. And my brother's band, apparently). I know D/deaf people do it all the time, and I'm amazed at their strength to go through life with absolutely no hearing. If that day ever comes for me (like if I lose even more hearing as I get older), I'm confident the Lord will keep me and I am thankful that I do know sign language and that the Lord has blessed our generation with such an abundance of technology - new ways of communicating are cropping up all the time! But for now, I find my hearing aids bring me more independence and even joy... there are sounds I would miss if/when I lost all of my hearing. Like music. How do people live without it? I think I also use auditory cues more than I realize. Like at work, I can hear the printer whir two cubes over. So when I print something, I listen to make sure the print job got sent and I listen for the whir to stop, too, so I know when it's done with my stuff.

On Technology: I expect to lose all of my hearing some day. I went to the audiologist a couple of years ago and he said that I had lost ten percent of my hearing since the last time he tested my hearing, which was ten years before that. I don't think about that reality very much. I often assume I'll be old and knocking on Heaven's door before hearing aids are no longer useful to me, but I can't know that for sure. So in the meantime, I try to be more careful and protect what hearing I do have. I try to keep my TV and stereo at reasonable levels and turn off my hearing aids altogether when I'm in exceptionally loud situations.

Every now and then, I think about getting a cochlear implant, and while the idea is less frightening to me than it used to be, I'm still wary. I mean, they drill a hole in my head! I had a friend who got a cochlear implant and she told me it took three years before she was comfortable with the implant and relearning how to hear. Three years. That's a heckuva adjustment period. I'm intimidated by that. I know, I know, the benefits would outweigh all of that. The same friend told me that now she can talk on the phone and carry on complete conversations without having to watch someone else's face all the time. That sounds magical to me. For the record, cochlear implants don't make people hearing. My friend doesn't consider herself hearing now. She still needs to ask for clarification and while she can talk on her cell phone, she only does it with select people that she's learned to recognize (mostly family members, if I recall correctly). So a cochlear implant isn't perfect any more than wearing glasses makes someone suddenly acquire 20/20 vision. Your eyes are still farsighted or nearsighted or whatever, the glasses are just an aid to make things easier. So it is with hearing aids and cochlear implants. They can be a great help, but they don't bring perfect hearing.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I've been reading a few D/deaf blogs lately and I always walk away never quite sure what to think. What I do know is that it is tempting to jump into that kind of lifestyle again. To sign instead of talk or sign and talk and understand and keep up. To commiserate with those who struggle with hearing loss in a hearing world. To feel like part of the group. It's tempting to think that will bring satisfaction.

I've been all over eHarmony in the last couple weeks. Most of the time, I've walked away discouraged. I'm far too... traditional? Old-fashioned? Downright prudish? to initiative conversation myself. So I wait. And wait. And wait. For someone else to do it. And when they do, they're... how do I put this nicely? ... not quite my cup of tea. And when I do get matched with someone who is my cup of tea, my hopes skyrocket to frightening levels. It's tempting to think I'll find acceptance there.

It's been a tempting week or two. There's this constant craving to belong, to fit in, to be part of something, to feel included and content. It's tempting to think that things of this earth will satisfy those needs. Tempting to think that I'm in charge of finding my own way on my own, to think that I have the power to do that.

It's tempting to think my problems are only earthly. That all my issues are outside of me and not inside. But the truth is that my biggest problem isn't that I wear hearing aids or that I don't wear a ring on my left hand. My biggest problem is that I'm a sinner in need of a Savior. To paraphrase Paul Tripp, I want to think that my problems are outside of me and the solution(s) is inside of me, that if I just have enough self-esteem or strength of character, I can handle anything life throws my way. But the truth is that all my problems are inside of me and the only Solution is outside of me. All the self-esteem in the world won't free me from the problem inside of me. Only Christ - not hearing aids or rings - can do that.

I know my hope is in Christ alone and frankly, I've been playing that song (In Christ Alone - the Newsboys version) almost nonstop the last couple of days, hoping it'll make my heart catch up with my head. I'm thankful the Lord isn't dependent upon us or our emotions for His truth. What I know to be true is that God is enough. Hearing or deaf or single or married, Christ is sufficient.

I know this, but I battle to know it.

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Romans 7:15-25 (ESV)

It's been one of those "wretched man that I am!" kind of weeks. But it's also been one of those "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" kind of moments. Praise God that His truth is objective and our shifting (and sometimes shifty) emotions don't undo it. Praise God that His truth is absolute and not dependent upon changing circumstances. Praise God that He is enough ... even when I don't "feel" like it.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1-2 (ESV)

Praise God for the freedom we have in Christ. Praise God for hope.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

City mouse, country mouse

I live in a suburb, but I'm really not that far from "the city," as we say in these here parts. It's a 10-15 minute drive to get to the midtown and downtown areas of my city. So I don't feel terribly suburban.

Just a few more miles south, though, and we're talking SUBURBS. They're pretty. They're immaculate. They're rich. I used to want to live there. Good schools. Safety. White picket fence. Everything within reach. But the two trips I made down there this week left me feeling a little empty. "What are they hiding," I wondered, "with their wealth and fancy cars and big houses?"

Because we all do that, you know. We hide our insecurities with something. Money. Sex. Power. Work. Drugs. The more I learn about God, the more I realize just how broken and messed up I am. How broken and messed up we are. So I know those manicured lawns and subdivisions - as pretty as they are - are just a front. And I feel deceived, almost. They're messed up but pretending they aren't. And my heart breaks as they deceive themselves.

Contrast that with the city - the urban core. It is raw. It can be dangerous. It is old and decrepit. It's messed up and falling apart. Sometimes it is downright ugly. Buildings in decay. Gang shootings. Drug deals. Unaccredited schools. Broken homes and broken hearts. It is real and my heart breaks for the reality they face. But in some odd way, I rejoice in the real-ness. They seem more willing, in the city, to face things head on, rather than hide from them in the 'burbs.

(And I know you can live in the city and still be hiding from things. And you can live in the suburbs and not shy away from life. I am speaking in extremely general terms only.)

My church is really big on "the good of the city." Every sermon closes with "for the glory of God and the good of the city." I've been having a hard time with "the good of the city" part. Not because I don't desire the good of the city. I do. I'm just cynical. I've lived here my whole life and I wonder sometimes if the church - made up of a lot of people who didn't grow up here - is fully aware of the task ahead of them when it comes to serving Midtown. And I would cling even tighter to my comfortable suburban living, where I live close enough to the city to engage with it, but far away enough to not have to take on the messy task of actually living there. I'm a cheater. It's true.

But what I'm learning is that I can't give up on the city because it seems hopeless. And I can't cling to the suburbs because that's not where my hope is. And the more I learn about myself and who God is, the more beautiful the urban core becomes, for it is a mirror to my own soul - broken, falling apart and badly in need of restoration. And the more beautiful the suburbs become, because they are a mirror to my own soul - empty but full of idols and badly in need of life. God has grace for both city and suburb. And it is a thing of beauty.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I like to fantasize about living in NYC someday. Just for a while. Which is why I'm in love with this blog. Seriously, visit it. It's marvelous.

I signed up for eHarmony. It's true. I'm having a love/hate relationship with it right now. It all feels very meat market-y. And I mentioned in my profile that I was hard of hearing. Full disclosure, you know. I think that scares people away. Meh. If God is bigger than the boogie man, then He's surely bigger than this.

Also, on eHarmony, there's a section where I'm supposed to tell what I'm passionate about. Do you know what other people write? Things like ministry and teaching underprivileged kids and staying fit and spending time with their families. Do you know what I am passionate about? Chocolate, friends. Bedtime. Keeping my apartment clean. Figuring out how to stretch a dollar and a meal at the grocery store. Helping people. Mom things. Wife things. How does one convey that on a dating website without sounding like all I want to do is hang out in the kitchen and clip coupons all day? While barefoot and pregnant, of course. :p

My car has been put to good use the last week or so. Between making a Costco run and carting people around the city, Amelia definitely held her own. I'm really so thankful to actually be of use now - a car that's comfortable for people to sit in and big enough (and yes, gasp, uncluttered enough!) to be filled to the brim just seems to open more doors for ministry than a tiny one that I alone can barely squeeze into. Okay, that was an exaggeration. I could fit people into my old car - if you are into that clowns packed into a circus car kind of thing. ;-)

I got a sample of infant formula in the mail the other day. And by "sample," I mean box. As in a small box with one large round container (12.6 oz. Yup, I goggled the heck out of it) of infant formula (the "sensitive" kind, for those with lactose intolerances, you know) and a rectangle-shaped container (1.45lbs. Whoa, mama) of formula (specially fortified with vitamin D, dontcha know?). I'm really just stupefied as to how that happened... somebody, somewhere seems to think I have or am about to have a small child. And somebody, somewhere is severely confuzzled. OR it's a sign from God that I'm to be with child, immaculate-style. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Annnnd that wraps up this post. Thanks for bearing with my random quirkiness, loves!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

One month later...

I was three years old when Jared was born. Grandpa and Grandma took me to the hospital to visit the new baby. When we walked in, I saw my dad at the end of the hall and I ran running into his arms, yelling, "I have a new baby brother! I have a new baby brother!"

I was 27 years old when Jared got married. I had the privilege of standing up with his bride at their wedding. When she came into the back room after the ceremony, I ran into her arms and said, "I have a new sister!"