My own grandfather was one of my first patients and I owe my whole career to him. He wasn’t grand in stature but he was a giant of a man when it came to showing kindness and looking after others. He was always there for people. On weekends all the local high school guys without a ride would pile in his car for the two-hour drive to the ski hill. I was 12 years old when he first took me along. The car was always full.
Over the years I spent a lot of time with my grandfather hunting, fishing, skiing, and helping to mow his lawn. When I knew him, he’d always had quite a hearing loss. Having been on the front lines in World War I, I think he lost his hearing at a young age.
He was one of the first people I fitted with hearing aids. I can still see the grateful and astounded smile on his face as he stared in the distance and nodded his head in approval. And I was so proud to help him so much.
Later he told me how astonishing it was to hear his friends and the sermon at church. Knowing that my grandfather went to church every Sunday, (expect in hunting or fishing season, for which the Lord makes a provision), I was shocked when he revealed that he hadn’t been able to hear the preacher for as long as he could remember. I asked him why he’d been going to church all these years if he couldn’t make out what was being said. His response touched me to the core, “I go because all my friends are there. I go just to be with them.”
People with a hearing loss needn’t settle for “just being there.” Let’s enjoy what’s being said.