I have a lofty goal this week, my friends. I've been thinking a lot about hearing loss and disability and how the church can come alongside of people who live with disabilities. I had so many thoughts (um, what else is new?) that I wound up with what would have been a freakishly long post, so I decided to break it up a little. So far I have four parts. Okay, three and a half, but let's just round it up. I'm planning to make it a five-parter, which means I might actually post every. single. day. this week. Which has only been a goal for the last, oh, five months. Procrastinator Extraordinaire, at your service! Also, I don't really have a fancy name for this series, so put your thinking caps on. Ideas. Need. Brain. Hurts. Thanks.
Anyway, here's part 1. It's short, but it's Monday. I didn't want to have to think too much on Monday.
I mentioned some time ago that I tend to view my hearing loss as a disability. I'm hesitant to share that because I have deaf and hard of hearing friends who probably cringe at the term and I certainly don't want to cause a division between us. And I'm hesitant to use the word disability because I feel like there are so many people who have more challenges than I do that claiming a disability, I worry, makes light of their situations.
It is not my intention to divide or belittle with the word "disability." I just take the definition literally. Dis-ability. Which basically means un-ability. And I do not have the ability to hear without assistance. I'm lacking a very specific ability that most people have and it interferes with my life in the sense that I need to work a little harder and utilize outside resources to accomplish regular tasks. In our culture of "everybody is unique," we are slow to use words like "normal," (because how could there possibly be such thing as "normal" if everyone is "special?") but the truth is that wearing hearing aids is not normal. That does not mean that it is unacceptable or weird or gross. It simply means that the vast majority of people do not have to wear hearing aids and I am different for doing so.
So that's what I mean if or when I ever reference hearing loss as a disability. I could also write a whole other post, or series of posts, on how, for me, hearing loss is also more than a disability; it's become part of me. But that's for another day. Or week. What I'm just trying to establish right now are my thoughts on the word "disability." Capisce?