Have you ever taken the time to look at your hands? I mean really look at them. For most of us, we have ten digits, eight fingers, two thumbs, but hands do more than just type out words on a keyboard or hold a hot cup of coffee. For some, hands are their voice. Watching someone signing, is one of the most beautiful and amazing things to ever observe. When I was ten, there was a deaf couple in my church and I would watch them as they watched the interpreter signing the entire sermon. When the couple "spoke" to each other, I was fascinated with just watching them..I was so amazed by the emotion, the strength, the absolute beauty of it all. I wanted to learn how to sign.
We had a book at home, a rather famous one, I believe, called, The Joy of Signing and I was bound and determined to learn a sentence so I could show this couple. I started with the alphabet, as any child would do with learning the basics and then I would practice words until I had my first sentence down: "My name is Becky." Yes, it's a simple four word sentence, but it takes twice as long to sign with the symbols than it does to say it. And you know what that means? Spending twice as long getting to know someone which in the end is double the quality time. When I knew I had the sentence memorized, I couldn't wait until the next Sunday I could go up to them and introduce myself.
Finally the day came, I was nervous, but after the service was over, I walked up to them, patted the wife gently on the back and when she turned to me, she smiled a very gentle smile. I took a deep breath and I signed my sentence. Her smile broadened and she signed back her name. And then she said thank you with her hand and I smiled and waved, then went in search of my mom and dad. That was the last Sunday I ever saw them at our church, but I will never forget that smile.
I never learned how to sign completely; however, there were times that signing would be incorporated with another favorite hobby of mine throughout my junior high and high school years: Singing. So next time you see someone signing, watch them, see how they convey emotion through the fluid motions of hands and fingers and appreciate that hands are truly a fascinating gift we have.