Sight or Sound?

by Don Meyer, Ph.D. | May 15, 2010

"Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see."
Mark Twain

If you had a choice, would you rather be deaf or blind? Now that is a question which can take you to a lot of places. Let's try going to a few of them. 

The other morning I woke up to the most amazing sight of fog. I looked outside and I could hardly see beyond our house. As I walked to my office in the cool air and saw the way the fog hung in the air, I felt like I was on another planet. 

I had my camera with me and I captured some amazing photos. For a moment I stood at the end of our driveway and I could barely see the silhouette of Bongiorno Hall. What a picture. I walked a few steps and positioned a large maple tree in the foreground and took another shot. It almost took my breath away as I walked across campus shooting shot after shot of that other-worldly scenery, all draped with fog. 

But that wasn't the only thing I saw that day. Even before I saw the fog I saw Evie's beautiful blue eyes. I saw the clothes I was going to wear. I even saw myself in the mirror. I saw our students and faculty as they mobilized in the Flower Chapel before they spread out over Phoenixville for Community Service Day. I saw my friend Chuck Benz of Phoenixville Federal Bank and Trust as he drove me around town so we could see our students first hand. 

At the end of the day I saw John Colarusso serving Petrucci's water ice (free) to everyone on campus. I saw our students in our Dining Commons as we all talked about the adventures of the day. I walked home and at the end of the day I again saw Evie's beautiful blue eyes. 

If I were blind, I would not have seen any of those things. 

The other morning I woke up to the most amazing sounds. I heard the alarm clock and moments later I heard Evie's wonderful words reminding me that she loved me. Already the birds were having a singing convention outside our windows. As I walked to my office I listened to their continued morning overtures. 

It wasn't long before I heard the sounds of final instructions for our leaders as Community Service Day began. The buzz in the Flower Chapel was electric. And as I stood by the door and gave a "high five" to each student wishing them a great day of service, their joyful sounds echoed in my heart all day. 

And what can I say about the joy of riding with my friend Chuck Benz as we talked about everything from his Yankees and my Phillies and vacation and work and family while stopping and visiting with student team after student team. They chirped and laughed and reflected on what fun they were having. 

Later, I stood by John Colarusso's truck talking with him and our students and realized again the joy of friendship and a job well done. I talked for hours (literally) with students during and after dinner reflecting on the day and solving the problems of the universe. Later I ended my day hearing Evie's wonderful words reminding me that she loved me. 

If I were deaf, I would not have heard any of those things. 

And that was just one day. If I pondered further what it would mean being deaf or blind and which I would prefer, I really don't know how I would answer. Could I do without music or colors, flowers or birds? Could I do without seeing or hearing Evie? Back and forth. Back and forth. 

I guess there is something worse than being blind or deaf for as someone said, "None so deaf as those that will not hear; none so blind that will not see." 

Think about it.

Dr. Don Meyer is President of 
Valley Forge Christian College, Phoenixville, PA 
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