Silence Speaks

April 1, 2014

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Words are such powerful things. They mean absolutely nothing until we put our intentions behind them and then they carry on their shoulders all the meanings of the world. Words, though, are often used with shallow intentions. It’s as if we talk just to hear the sound of our voices so that we might not feel so alone, but we still feel alone. Why do we still feel so alone? Why aren’t our voices company enough? Why do we still crave the companionship of others even in a room of many from which to choose from? What is it that we crave? People? Voices? Words? Meaning? There can be so much more meaning in mutual silence than there ever could be in shallow conversation. Why then do we shy away from silence? Why do we fill the spaces in between conversation with tension and anxiety and meatless filler?

Perhaps if we could only embrace one another’s silence and exist together in silence for just tiny splinters of time then we might not feel so alone and words once shallow would in time regain their depth. When words lose their meaning then so, too, do our lives. Only in silence do we regain our depth.

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Time of Our Lives

March 19, 2014

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Yesterday was the time of our lives, we jumped up for the skies
With our hands outreached towards the sun
Hoping we might catch a ray of light before day turned to night
We were many, but still, we were one

Yesterday was the time of our lives, caution thrown to the hives
The whole wide world was ours to claim
We were naive and unachieved, what else could be believed
Through rose tinged lens, all dreams look the same

Yesterday was the time of our lives, we broke free of our ties
Memories are all that can remain
We were dreamers in a youthful haze, bound by our glory days
Unfledged dreams were all that kept us sane

Yesterday was the time of our lives, our hearts being what drives
Unseasoned, but youth is all that strives
Though we long for our childhood past, days come and gone too fast
This is, this is the time of our lives

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Silence is my gift to you
Only love from a heart that beats for you
Verses from a spirit that prays for you
All gifts from these ink stained hands that create for you

Silence gives and silence takes
Deaf to the choices she made, she makes
The world turns and the world shakes
All my chips are in and the winner takes

Silence is my gift to you
Only love from a heart that beats for you
Verses from a spirit that prays for you
All gifts from these ink stained hands that create for you

Eyes switch off and ears subdue
Blind as black and deaf as blue
A single road diverged in two
I’ll choose the one that leads to you

Silence is my gift to you
Only love from a heart that beats for you
Verses from a spirit that prays for you
All gifts from these ink stained hands that create for you

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Someone once asked me, “How can you be so sure that there is a God?” No, I take that back. People have been asking me that all my life. They’ve asked me that same question in many different combinations of words, sometimes without words at all. English, Spanish, even in sign language, people asked me, “How do you know God exists?”

I’m an introvert at heart. I love people just fine, but it’s important to me that I have time to love myself and to get to know myself. As you can imagine, this involves a lot of monologue, entertaining thoughts and figuring out how this world works. In those moments when I am alone (often alone, but rarely lonely), I study people. I watch them from a distance, observing how we differ and yet witnessing how we are all exactly the same.

What I see is that in the mind, the heart, the soul of every human being; there is a line that we know we mustn’t cross, for if we do then we can never come back. A moral compass that reflects neither cultural nor ideological teachings. We simply know. It is so embedded in our minds from an early age that it cannot be separated from who we are. It is the very fabric that holds us together.

And that, that can only be God.

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These Are Your Rights

December 4, 2013

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The thing about disabilities is that, unlike race, gender, or sexual orientation, disability will affect each and every one of us personally at some point in our lives.

You may not end up in a wheelchair, but one day you’ll have to slow down. You may not go deaf, but someday you’ll hear a little less than you used to. You may not go blind, but a time may come when you need glasses to read, drive, or do any or all of the things you once took for granted. That’s why you should care about disability rights.

They are your rights.

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What Keeps Me Going

November 12, 2013

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You know what keeps me going when it feelings like I’m running in place? I have these pictures of things already past and of things yet to come ingrained in my brain like tattoos in my mind.

My past shows me an image of a little boy frightened beyond belief by the changes taking place inside his very body. A little boy who never really understood what was happening to him because no one thought to ask what he needed. Everyone was making decisions that would effect the little boy long after he was no longer a little boy anymore, yet no one asked him what he thought he needed…

There’s a little boy in my future, too. Many of them, in fact. Little girls, as well. And they all have one thing in common: their bodies are imperfect and the little boys and the little girls, they just want to be children. They just want to go outside and play and they just want to go to school and learn. They want to go on to become teachers, police officers, firefighters, and, yes, maybe even doctors. But more than anything else, they want to be children and they want to be understood. So, the little boys and the little girls, they come and see Dr. JT. They know that this doctor is unlike the rest because he takes the time to explain to them things both frightening and complicated in a way that is neither frightening nor complicated. This doctor, he always talks to the little children, never at them and never through them. This doctor always takes the time to make sure that the little children understand what is happening to them as fully as their young minds will allow.

And this doctor, he doesn’t forget that while healing starts with the body, it ecompasses the mind and the spirit. So, when a family, after just receiving news that will change their lives forever, asks for a chaplain to come pray with them, this doctor, Dr. JT, takes the family by the hand, lowers his head, and begins the healing process with three simple words,

“Dear Heavenly Father. . .”

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Oh, I know she’s out there
Could she be
Close by, maybe
Another place, another life
Hang on, we’ll see
She’s the mystery between the lines
Of a story I’ve read one million times
She’s the whisper in the wind
I can feel her closing in
And I’m starting to figure out
She’s the one I can’t live without
Oh, I know she’s out there

The midnight road’s a lonely place to be
On a moonless night like this for me
This dusty path has been ridden hard
Much like the roadway to my heart
I could swear I’ve been right here before
And I’m still not sure what I’m looking for
Circling the same old place
Feels like I’m lost in space

Oh, but I know she’s out there
Could she be
Close by, maybe
Another place, another life
Hang on, we’ll see
She’s the mystery between the lines
Of a story I’ve read one million times
She’s the whisper in the wind
I can feel her closing in
And I’m starting to figure out
She’s the one I can’t live without
Oh, I know she’s out there

This ain’t no fantasy
This life of mine
But that don’t mean there can’t be
A happy ending this time
No, this ain’t no fairytale
No happily ever after
And I guess that’s just as well
Because I’d die to hear her laughter

Oh, but I know she’s out there
Could she be
Close by, maybe
Another place, another life
Hang on, we’ll see
She’s the mystery between the lines
Of a story I’ve read one million times
She’s the whisper in the wind
I can feel her closing in
And I’m starting to figure out
She’s the one I can’t live without
Oh, I know she’s out there

Just one hug
Just one kiss
One simple touch
Could be the cure for all of this
But with a heart that’s gone amiss
I’d not be satisfied with just one kiss
One hug just wouldn’t do
Unless followed by one million more from you

Oh, I know she’s out there
Could she be
Close by, maybe
Another place, another life
Hang on, we’ll see
She’s the mystery between the lines
Of a story I’ve read one million times
She’s the whisper in the wind
I can feel her closing in
And I’m starting to figure out
She’s the one I can’t live without
Oh, I know she’s out there

But with a heart that’s gone amiss
I’d not be satisfied with just one kiss
One hug just wouldn’t do
Unless followed by one million more from you

If I ever get from here to there, it’ll be by the grace of God. I’m living a miracle and I thank God for that everyday. The age old philosophical inquiry goes, is the glass half full or half empty? Neither. My glass is twice as big as it need be.

Even so, I have my struggles. Loneliness being a big one. I’m used to it. At times, I even prefer it, but not all the time. I feel torn between many worlds. I’m not yet sure which world to call my home. Maybe my home is not meant to be of this world.

Who am I? Am I Mexican American or just American? Am I a signing Deaf or an oral deaf? Am I Protestant or am I Catholic? Am I a writer or an empath? Do I exist to see, smell, taste, touch, love, ponder and connect with others or is it because I do these things that I exist?

Who am I?

I wonder, will a time come when I learn to embrace the silence that envelopes my existence, not because my earthly ears cannot hear the voices surrounding me, but because my Divine Mentor has enabled me to leave them speechless?

Will that day come? Will I one day understand why God decided it was not in His will to have me hear the voices of this world? Could it be that it was His voice I was to focus on all along?

Who am I?

I’ve said this many times to many people, but I’ll say it once more,

“Disability is 1% being unable to do something and 99% people telling you that you can’t do something.”

Disability is not a medical or psychological pathology, but a social disease. Before the disease can be cured and that prejudice can be done away with, society has to change how it looks at people with handicaps. We are all handicapped in one way or another, some wounds are just more apparent than others. Some scars, just easier to see.

The chain is only as strong as the weakest link. We are only as great as the least among us. Until that moment when we look at each other and see only fellow human beings, equally deserving of respect and consideration, society will remain disabled.

A Nightmare and a Dream

April 23, 2013

It was the summer of 2009. I had just graduated high school, much to the surprise of, well, everybody. I was on the verge of flunking out of school and life. Nonetheless, I graduated. But before I was to enjoy the harvest of my dismal efforts, I was to have a tumor removed from that special place where your spine kisses your brain. Apparently I still had a brain. This has been medically proven.

I was told the procedure would be fine. It’s an easy enough location to operate on. “Oh, sure. You’ll spend a couple days in the ICU (intermediate care unit) and be outta here,” the surgeon told me. What he didn’t tell me was that I might forever lose my ability to walk. What the surgeon failed to inform me was that I might not wake up after the anesthesia had worn off. No, that was just one of those lovely surprises life tends to throw your way.

I went under in the middle of July. I still remember counting backwards from one hundred as the surgeon put a large breathing tube through my nose and into my lungs. “See you soon,” the anesthesiologist whispered to me as she squeezed my hand for good luck. I closed my eye and wandered off into a faraway dreamland where life no longer hurt.

I woke up alright. A week after my surgery had ended, that is, but I woke up. I had lived trapped in a frightening nightmare for a week and no one of my family seemed to understand why I was acting so disturbed and dissociated from the real world. In my week-long nightmare, I had seen such horrors as a pitchfork being driven through my mother’s face. A trigger-happy drug dealer shoot my father down dead inches from me. An inferno engulf my best friend as I stood frozen and watched. No one understood why I couldn’t stop crying for weeks, months, years after the nightmare had ended.

I watched everyone I loved die horrible, gruesome deaths in a week-long nightmare while I lie comatose in a hospital bed, occasionally becoming alert enough to pull out my breathing tubes, intravenous lines and anything else my demonic possessed limbs could reach.

Only by the grace of God am I not in a wheelchair right now. I pushed myself and pushed myself until I could walk after that. Now I run and it’s a miracle.

All my life it has been just God and I. No one understands these nightmares I still have some nights. No one understands why I break down in tears in between violent sobs sometimes. Though, much more rarely than what used to be, never will I be completely healed.

I don’t mind being broken. I just wish others would stop trying to fix me and let me find my own way to God. Maybe put their arms around me, tell me, “God is just beyond the mountains,” and walk a bit of the beaten path beside me.

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