Last Sunday I was greeting people as they walked out of church and into a beautiful spring morning. There were scores of people around me, spirits were high, people were lining up for coffee, laughing and talking.
That’s when Melissa walked up to me. I grasped her hand, smiled and said how happy I was to see her. “What a gorgeous day” I said. And she said, “Yes, I love hearing the birds.”
I stopped. My smile fell a bit, my mouth dropped slightly open, my brow tightened quizzically.
What birds?! I thought There are no birds out here! What is she talking about?
Then it dawned on me. Melissa is blind.
I was still holding her hand, and she was still looking at me through her dark glasses. Waiting for me to respond. In the silence created just by her presence in the midst of this happy din, I was quiet enough to hear it. It wasn’t just a bird or two, but a whole chorus coming not from anywhere but from everywhere.
“Thank you. Yes. The birds. I hear them.”
Caroline Oakes says
Wonderful, David! Thank you.
Your sudden realization of the ubiquitous presence of the birds reminds me of a time when Allison (when she was a young teenager) overheard me counseling someone on the phone with the saying “When the student is ready, the Teacher will come.” Allison leaned in and corrected me, saying, “No, the Teacher is always there! The student just doesn’t realize it.”