a difference in human experience

Feb 22, 2008

I recently started attending a group fitness class at my gym - 24 Lift - an intense 60-minute lifting class. I love it for multiple reasons. But mostly because the instructor, together with the loud music make for a more intense environment where I challenge myself more greatly than if I was doing it on my own in the gym.
Just last night I was at the gym, waiting for the class to get started, when two hearing impaired ladies came into the room to also join in on the class. I couldn't help but observe the instructor as she tried to communicate with them. She mentioned that although she didn't know sign language, she would help them as best as she could - which is exactly what she did. I have to give her props - throughout the entire class she made it look as if she has always instructed deaf attendee's. They followed along just as well as any of us and in the end had the same outcome - they got their heart rates up, worked every muscle in their bodies and were glowing with sweat :) I left pondering this whole experience.
I had to think about what that class would have been like without the ability to hear anything. There honestly wasn't a second that went by that the sounds of the class didn't affect my actions. The music determines the pace at which we exercise - the sound of the instructor’s voice encouraged us to continue pushing although we wanted to give up. My ability to hear during those 60 minutes, to me seemed essential. However, obviously that wasn't the case for these two women. The reasons why they came - I could never tell you - but I do know that because of their attendance I left encouraged by their lives.
Wikipedia (a great online resource) mentioned something about deafness that I thought was very true to this whole situation - "...consider deafness to be a difference in human experience, rather than a disability." Amen to that!
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