Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Master Healer

My cochlear implant will be activated tomorrow at 9 a.m. ish. I imagine that there will be some fiddling around and adjusting before the sounds come in.  What no one can predict is whether I will recognize or understand the signals being sent to my brain.  Many of the impulses will be entirely new to my brain. Sounds that I've never been able to hear include s, z, and the difference between sh and ch. There's a whole range of high frequency pitches that I can't hear, either.  Think the top two octaves on a piano. There's likely to be a steep learning curve as my poor 33-year old brain attempts to figure out what to do with all these new interloper sounds trying to forge new neural pathways. I imagine it being like a whole bunch of people showing up at my brain's orderly, well maintained house and knocking on the door, demanding to be let in at once to do some major remodeling. After the implant is activated, I'll have homework, and William (and anyone else patient enough to take me on) and I will practice listening, recognizing, and categorizing a whole new set of sounds.  Turning the implant on is not the end, but rather, one more step on the road back to hearing.

With that background in mind, on the eve of activation, I want to record something that I've thought about for many years.  The New Testament records the miracles that Jesus Christ worked during His ministry.  Of special significance to me are the healings of the deaf and the blind.  Mark 7 records Christ's healing of a deaf man with a speech impediment.  The man is brought to Christ by his friends. The account doesn't record any conversation between Christ and the friends, but rather, Christ takes the man, puts his fingers into the man's ears and then touches the man's tongue.  With the simple, "Be opened," the man's ears are opened "straightway" and his tongue is loosed and he speaks clearly, likely for the first time in his life.

John 9 records the healing of a man born blind. I've always liked this miracle because Jesus teaches that the man wasn't born blind as a punishment for sin, but rather, that the works of God could be made manifest.  And how!  Jesus anoints the blind man's eyes with clay and instructs him to wash the clay off in a nearby pool. The Bible records that the man washes and comes away seeing.

Understanding a little about how the body compensates for a missing sense, such as sound or sight, I see that these healings are actually two miracles in one.  The first miracle is that Jesus corrects whatever physical defect caused the first man's deafness and the second man's blindness.  The second miracle, and the greater accomplishment, is that these men's brains immediately know what to do with the signals coming in from their restored senses.  The deaf man's brain immediately recognizes, understands, and reproduces the sounds coming at him, since he's able to speak without impediment.  The blind man's brain receives the signals from his newly restored eyesight and immediately recognizes what it's seeing, Jesus, his friends, the man's parents, etc, all people that he'd never before been able to see. The fact that Jesus' miracles can overcome all of the disadvantages of being born with a missing sense and restore them perfectly is a testimony to me that He is indeed the Master Healer.

And these types of miracles are not limited to physical defects.  His Atonement covers all limitations and shortcomings and can, through exercising faith, restore each of us perfectly.


  1. i love reading your posts! i cannot imagine the anticipation you must be feeling for tomorrow morning! what an amazing journey. hugs to you!!

  2. Can I help you practice your z sounds? I remember doing that when we were kids. It would be really exciting to be there when you get it down!

  3. Beautiful! I love the connections you're making.

    And I want to volunteer to help too! I did really well in my phonetics classes and would love to practice with you, so sign me up!!!