Next Saturday, I have my first date with a very special lady I met online. She’s super cute and smart, but there’s one thing that really sets her apart from everyone else I’ve ever known: She was born completely deaf. Meeting a deaf person will be a life-changing experience for me. Here are all the amazing things I’m going to learn on our date:
I’ll realize that the fact that someone can’t hear isn’t the only thing that defines them as a person. It doesn’t mean they’re fragile or vulnerable. On the contrary, I’ll learn that deaf people are incredibly strong. I’ll find it so inspiring that a person with such a serious disability can overcome adversity and not only lead a normal life, but excel at it.
I’m going to notice just how easy talking with a deaf person can be. At first, I’ll over-enunciate my words and speak slowly to help her understand, but I’ll quickly discover that she doesn’t need me to do that. I’ll learn that understanding a deaf person’s speech is really not hard at all. After a few minutes of chatting, I’ll be speaking to her the same way I’d speak to anyone else.
She’ll seem like any other girl to me. In fact, our conversation will sometimes feel so natural and effortless that I’ll lose sight of the reality that deafness does seriously impact a person’s life. Thinking about what she’s had to overcome, I’ll be surprised when the truth hits home: You should never, ever underestimate someone just because they were born different from you.
When the night is over, I’ll be amazed by how much just one date completely changed the way I look at deaf people. I’ll be so happy that I didn’t let myself be intimidated by this girl’s disability and instead decided to take her out on a date and learn what a deaf person is really like.
The whole experience will finally teach me something I’d heard but never really understood until next Saturday: At heart, we’re all basically the same.
It will be a powerful lesson that I am never going to forget.