Marie’s Story: My dearest widower and I just finished watching a powerful film about a deaf-blind, feral teen whose life is transformed by a nun. Don’t be cynical! Based on a true story, Marguerite the nun fights her way into this young woman’s heart and mind. I’ll bet the movie will win your heart, too! It’s currently unavailable at Amazon, but I’m hunting for it.
My Story: I had an unforgettable experience on a flight from California to Atlanta many years ago. I was in an aisle seat and an older woman was sitting across from me. I smiled at her but she looked away. Her hands shook as we took off, so I smiled reassuringly. Again she ignored me. A flight attendant came up to her and asked if she needed any help. No response. I was curious now, because flight attendants never ask the riff-raff section if they want anything during takeoff. The flight attendant looked around helplessly and called out, “Does anyone know sign language?” I raised my hand. (Don’t laugh!)
I got out of my seat and touched the woman’s hand. She grabbed my hand and started signing to me, telling me her name was Nellie. She was deaf and blind, like Marie. I squatted down in the aisle and spent the remainder of the flight talking to her. Nellie was so gracious and patient as I struggled to keep up with her, signing words and letters into her cupped hands. Can you imagine reading sign language that way? Nellie, brilliant and brave, was on her way to see her daughter. She’d never flown before and I cannot imagine how she’d gotten the nerve to take that trip. We said our goodbyes in Charlotte (with me worried that she was “on her own”), then my widower and I took another flight to Atlanta. Here’s the kicker: We were in Atlanta’s Peachtree Mall when a woman came up to me and asked if I was the one who had helped Nellie make it to her next connection. It was THE flight attendant, who told me that Nellie made it! What an amazing series of events that connected me, Nellie, and the attendant. I do believe in miracles!