Netflix; I watch it with the subtitles turned on. As if I cannot hear the voices in the movie. Maybe it is just an appreciation of reading. It never crossed my mind though, the true importance of subtitles, but that particular day it did; for me a new, and different, perspective was solidified. The scene for the movie that I was viewing was set in the outdoors, and the birds could be heard chirping. As the birds continued their on-screen melody, at the bottom of the screen the subtitles stated, [birds chirping]. It hit me the other day; within myself I grasped a brief moment of awareness from the inside of a cohort, looking outward, although I would remain on the outside of that cohort.
The moment of focused realization stuck with me for some time that day. I remember walking outside to enter my car. One the way I heard the loud sounds of birds enjoying themselves on the branches of a nearby tree; [Birds Chirping]. I thought deeply to myself, someone needs this; that continuous string of words put together at the bottom of the screen. For me it was a choice I needed not make but, for another person it was the only choice to make so they may enjoy and understand the motion picture that they were viewing. That someone has never heard how it sounds when birds sing. They can only imagine. They can only dream of sounds. That day I remember much time spent in thought, imagining myself, a life without the ability to hear; a forgotten many are the deaf. No ability to hear how it sounds to see the phrase, [birds chirping], come to life; neither on screen or in front of their ears. Maybe it’s like a life without the ability to see, or lacking the ability to talk or walk; capacities that the majority of us take for granted. What would life be like without these abilities?
As I reviewed the notes on my phone, I ran across the link to an article expressing a list of “the greatest” quotes throughout history. One of those quotes brought me back to the [Birds Chirping]. Confucius, a well-known philosophical mind of the Chinese culture, once quoted: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” This statement made my thoughts race a few steps further as I returned home to once again hear the [Birds Chirping] in the back yard. What if one cannot hear, then they must truly forget. For a person who is visually impaired, how will they remember if they have never seen? Well, we can all “do”, so we can at least understand. I realize now, with a deeper understanding, what it would be like to not have these assumed abilities at my disposal every day.
Hear, see and do. More verbs that we naturally take for granted every day. You’re blessed to be able to hear and see, but most importantly to do, helping you understand the message from your perspective. Someone cannot see these words that I have written, so they cannot read it and remember how the message physically looked. Someone cannot hear another person reading this out loud, so how will they remember? The “normal” perspective must be substituted through one’s own experience. But we can all figure out a way to do it; whatever “it” may be.
This morning when you woke up, did you recognize your ability to see? Or did you just look in the mirror, to admire your beautiful face. You would have missed your interview if not for your ability to hear your alarm clock buzzing in the background. Through the ability to hear, the clock helped you remember. You did get up to “do” what needed to be done that day, so you must understand. Maybe that’s all one can ask for. Maybe the “doing” part of anything is an unconscious recognition and appreciation of our given abilities, albeit mentally taken for granted. We know what abilities we were innately given, and what we are capable of, so we just “do” it.
Wherever you stand, do not take for granted the moment and ability to pause and hear the [birds chirping]. It is only a dream to many and one day could only be a memory to you.