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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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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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 met a girl with a familiar face. I knew I had seen her somewhere else before, but where, I just could not place my finger on it. Then it hit me! This girl, she was the girl from a dream I had some nights ago. A dream I could barely remember, but her face, I could not forget.

The dream, it was one of those dreams so beautiful and so otherworldly that waking up and realizing it was just that, a dream, was sobering and cruel. Why couldn’t such a dream be reality?

How could I have dreamed of a girl I had never known until now?

Street Missionary

February 10, 2013

I took a visit to the ER last night. I was hit by a car the night before and wanted to make sure I’m alright. I’m a little sore, but okay.

I saw a pregnant woman crying in the waiting room. Not one to mind my own business, I approached her with my pen and pad. “What’s wrong, hun?” I scribed.

In that small piece of time, I single handedly broke down the wall between silence and sound; deaf and hearing. I did what I couldn’t and by the time I had left, her tears had become smiles.

I had won over deafness and reached over the borders of ability to touch another life.

I won. . .

Fatherhood

January 23, 2013

Most of my friends are pregnant or have had children. I really want to start a family, but no chance of that happening soon. I’ve only just recently discovered the fun of casual dating. At least I get to live with one.

My two roommates, a young married couple, and their beautiful children–the boy is twenty two months and the girl is just over a month–have been such a blessing to my life. That little boy is getting so big. I love how he can’t go to bed until he gives his roommate a kiss goodnight. Sometimed I think he thinks I’m his live in “manny” or something, other times maybe his adopted older brother.

Sometimes he’ll crawl into my lap while we’re watching a movie or after he’s grown bored of making a mess in the living room and just cuddle up against me.

When I’m holding him against my chest in moments such as that, my heart beats with more love than I knew possible and I am reminded of my yearning to one day have a child of my own.

Victor Chukwueke, a Nigerian immigrant, arrived in America at the age of fifteen in 2001 when doctors in his home country were unable to treat his disfiguring facial tumors. Victor, diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis, was determined to make the most of the new opportunities America granted him.

Victor completed his GED, enrolled in a community college and eventually graduated from Wayne State University with a GPA of 3.82 in his studies in biochemistry and chemical biology while simultaneously undergoing medical and surgical treatment for his tumors.

It’s fair to say that, just this blog’s author, Victor’s experiences as a patient changed his life and he vowed to become a physician so that he could one day have the same influence in the lives of patients that his doctors had in his. Only one thing stood between Victor Chukwueke and his dream of attending medical school: citizenship.

In a miraculous turn of events, a Michigan congressman, Sen. Carl Levin, took interest in Victor’s inspiring story and introduced a private bill into congress to grant Victor American citizenship. Represented pro bono by attorney Thomas K. Ragland, the bill passed congress and was eventually signed into effect by President Obama, making future MD, Victor Chukwueke, eligible to attend an Ohio medical school.

For further reading:
Obama Signs Into Effect Bill Granting Victor Chukwueke Citizenship

When Words are not Enough

February 17, 2012

I pride myself on being able to put complex feelings into words in a way that comforts even the most afraid spirit. Words are not enough this time.

Words cannot explain the pain I feel seeing a little boy embark on his journey with the same disorder I have. The young child only just recently had his entire right eyeball removed. His orbit–the eye socket–is inflamed so badly that it’s swelling right out of the socket. His doctors are considering tarsorrhaphy (sealing the eyelids together) to reduce inflammation and protect the now vulnerable flesh from infection. He’s afraid. His mother asked me if it will hurt. No, it won’t, but pain isn’t the only thing terrifying children inside hospitals. It’s the environment. It’s knowing something is wrong with your body and there’s nothing you can do to fix it or make it go away.

I want to hold him. To walk him through all the pain. To let him know that he is no lesser being. I want to teach him how to live like a champion and hope that he might realize that he can compete with the most able of them. God chose him, just like God chose me. The chosen must walk together.

Thank you, Connor, for reminding me of my calling. See you soon.

A Soldier at War

November 7, 2011

In every war there is an enemy. My war is no different in that sense, but my enemy is. My enemy lives in my mind, amplifying the darkest corners of my heart. My enemy is a master of psychological warfare. My enemy knows my every fear and exploits them in attempt to break me. My enemy uses my every weakness to crush me mercilessly. When life becomes too stressful, my enemy plants the suggestion of suicide in my mind. My enemy whispers into my heart, “Jaime, kill yourself. It’s the only way to end this pain.” What my enemy doesn’t know is that I’m one of God’s chosen few; an elite warrior created to give my pain and the pain of others a voice that sings only the glory of God. So I say to my enemy, “Hurt me. Do your worst, because I’d rather feel this pain than nothing at all.” My enemy knows I’ll win and my enemy is afraid.

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