"He made their hearts, so He understands everything they do..." - Psalm 33:15
I don't have a problem forgetting that God created me. But I think that I fail to fully comprehend what that means. When I read Psalm 33:15 this morning, I was reminded of something I often forget.
God made my heart. He understands me better than anyone, because He made me that way. There are times when I do something or struggle with something and I don't understand why. An example of this is fear. Sometimes there are fears I just can't get over. It doesn't matter how irrational I know they are, I am still afraid.
When I was younger, I was a competitive gymnast. During my last season, I missed my hands doing a back walkover on the beam during my routine. I was able to pull my legs around fast enough to land on the ground instead of the beam, so I was not physically hurt. But emotionally, everything had changed. I still did the skill by myself for competitions, but during practice, I had a total mental block. I was absolutely terrified, and I could not help it. I could barely do it with my coach spotting, even though she had been there for me since I was seven years old, and had saved me from many falls. I had no reason not to trust her, I just couldn't get over my fear.
This was so frustrating for everyone involved. I didn't understand why I couldn't just get over it like I had gotten over so many other fears during my gymnastics career. It wasn't my first time to fall, and it definitely wasn't my worst fall. I had been hurt many times before doing other skills... fallen on my face or neck... slammed into the beam or vault... whacked my legs against the high bar while dismounting... but I had been able to talk myself out of the fear and keep working.
This is just one example. Of course, there are many other, more serious instances where I don't understand why I feel and think the way I do.
But even when I do not understand myself, my Creator does. How comforting is that? I don't know why I can't just trust Him... But He does. And because He understands, I know He knows how to help me. Sometimes I don't know what to do about the problem because I don't know why I feel that way. But He can fix the problem, because He understands my heart.
Humans have this need to feel understood... Think about how many times have you heard someone say about their significant other, "He just gets me..." While it is important for me to feel understood by Nick, I need to remember that the Creator of the universe already understands me better than anyone else ever will.
This semester, I am taking American Sign Language at the local community college. This has definitely not been the blow off course you would think it would be considering where I am taking it. I have already learned so much in the past 3 months. In order to complete the course, each student is required to go into the Deaf community five different times for at least 1.5 hours each time. I have been to two different Deaf churches and then a community/living center for Deaf senior citizens. I went to the community center twice, because there, you actually sit and have conversations with the residents. It is very interactive. They are so kind and are sure to sign slow enough so I can understand, and they ask over and over again if I get what they are saying. Most of the time it takes two or three tries, but I am definitely learning! I wish that my other foreign language courses had required something like this, because there is nothing like entering into a community where you are forced to communicate using the language you are learning. And there is nothing like signing something wrong and having someone laugh at your efforts.
We are also required to spend at least 20 hours in lab. This lab is run by Deaf instructors, and there is a strict no voice policy. I definitely learn more in lab than I do in class, and it is supposed to be that way.
Now, you might be wondering to yourself, "Self, why is she taking ASL?" Well, that is a great question! I want to be a clinical psychologist for children, especially those who have experienced trauma or neglect. Many Deaf children face a form of trauma because they are unable to communicate and participate fully in the world around them. Many hearing parents refuse to learn sign language and are not able to talk to their Deaf children. If a Deaf child goes to a public school, they may have some friends and teachers who can talk to them, but for the most part, they go through the day without communicating with many people. Just imagine having to go through every single day without being able communicate efficiently with those around you. And not only can you not communicate, but so many pieces of life slip through without notice because you can't hear.
Because of this, many Deaf children suffer from depression and anger issues. They are trapped inside their heads with hardly anyone who is able to help. They need counselors and psychologists just like regular children do. But most of the time, they have to bring an interpreter with them. It's hard enough to tell your struggles, worries, and problems to a health care professional without a stranger standing in the room listening. But many Deaf clients are required to tell their problems to an interpreter who is hired for the job. Even the highest assurance of confidentiality does not make this easy or comfortable. I want to be able to eliminate the middle man. Deaf children can feel safer talking directly to me. Deaf parents with hearing children can feel more comfortable because I can talk to them directly instead of using an interpreter or their children to communicate.
Ultimately, I hope that learning ASL expands the pool of clients I am able to help. So many psychologists are able to help hearing children. I want to be able help both the hearing and the Deaf.
I just wanted to take a moment to blog about a little gadget I have recently come to love.
Now, I have loved Gmail, Google Documents, and Google Reader for years now, but I have only recently tried Google Calendars.
It is very similar to iCal on my mac, which I LOVE. But there are some key differences/additions that have gotten me hooked.
1. I can pull this up on any computer as long as I have internet. My iCal is great because I don't need internet, but I have to have my computer. If I am at work or on a campus computer, I am out of luck. But Google Calendars is accessible anywhere, even on slow old PCs.
2. It has an awesome Tasks List.
I am a list maker. I love lists. Sticky notes with lists. Everywhere. The best part of a list is that you get to cross something off when you are done. Yes, I am one of those people who will just write something down so I can cross it off. In the summer of 2009, when I was working in the main office at camp, Jason had a huge list written on the board in his office. Above it said, "Haley's List." I worked very hard to get things done on this list. But Jason never let me cross anything off! He would always do it himself. He said that it was his list, so he got to get the joy of a job completed. I don't really know what is fair about this, but lets just say it forced me to work with the intrinsic motivation I already had instead of for the extrinsic reward of crossing things off a list. Or maybe I am just being a little dramatic. He still rewarded me with Sonic.
Anyway, this list maker is awesome and super easy to use! When you check something off, it is checked AND the words get crossed out! Amazing! Your tasks also show up on the calendar if you give them a due date.
3. I can share my calendars with anyone.
Nick and I can both have our calendars in the same place. This is definitely one thing we can't really do with iCal. I like it because we can see what we have going on, and it helps avoid conflicting schedules.
That is all. If you don't already use Google Reader, you should look into that now. And I would suggest checking out the Calendar feature while you are at it.