Many times the world of a trailer park can be a microcosm of society as a whole. One of the trailer parks we lived in when I was growing up was exceptional in its sheer numbers of interesting characters. Back then I felt like I lived in a really strange place....now I am quite sure I did.
Two of my favorites in this cast that even Hollywood couldn't have made up...was a couple I would babysit for occasionally who had four children...every single one of them was born deaf. He was a policeman who worked nights and she was an overwhelmed woman who pulled her hair out by day...well come to think of it she did that by day and by night. Her voice was loud and shrill and I always assumed that the day she was born, when the doctor smacked the bottom of her feet...or whatever...and she began to cry, everyone in the delivery room plugged their ears and went "Whoa! What the heck!" Her children were rambunctious and happy...probably because they were blissfully unaware of the sounds of nails on chalkboards or their mother's voice. Perhaps very few others noticed, but I have always been strangely sensitive to the audio of life. Loud noises will sometimes make me burst into tears, which makes those around me say "Whoa! What the heck!" So perhaps Marilyn the Mom and I were just opposite ends of some weird spectrum.
Their family was known all over the trailer park. Mostly because it was unusual for one family to have hearing parents and four totally deaf children...and because the parents fought...alot...with the windows open. They seemed to think that because their children couldn't hear them fight....neither could we. I remember many times showing up at the trailer to babysit and now I see clearly the kids not looking at their parents unless they were being spoken to with flying, manic fingers. In the wisdom of years that I now possess...I do believe, that while they couldn't hear the discord, they could see it and feel it and tried their best to ignore it. Many years later someone sent me a newspaper article showing where the dad had pulled someone from a burning building. If only he had seen the smoke pouring from his own home. I learned just enough sign language to say "don't do that," "thank you" and "yes, I promise I'll come back."
In my own life I have lived close to God from time to time, but honestly, mostly lived my life as if he was speaking sign language and I hadn't learned the Alpha-bet. Best excuse in the world when you want to ignore something God is saying is just to admit " Sorry, no hable Trinity". When I would get in trouble, however, it was a whole nutha story...then and only then would I scream for Him at the top of my lungs. He knows that language, but he's not impressed...nor is he deaf. I would shout (in my very best Marilyn imitation) "WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I NEEDED YOU??!!" To which He responded calmly and probably sadly..."Right where you put me...on the outside of the trailer listening through the windows."
I don't do that anymore. I don't fight with the world, fight with my short-comings and my problems and hope the neighbors don't hear. I just worry about God being able to hear me, whether I speak the language of despair, guilt, or doubt. And I leave the door open, not just the window, by offering up thanks and offering up myself..especially when I have messed up. God always tries to correct us lovingly (and often creatively) in private....and if we don't get it...He will correct us in public. He will let the people in our lives see us fail and hear us fight with ourselves...screaming that can be heard all over the trailer park...loud noises of failure that make me cry. But when all is said and done and He sees the words written on my heart, He comes to my home, whether it's mobile or not and says..."don't do that"..."thank you"..."yes, I promise I'll come back."
A language I totally understand.
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