What Memes Mean: "…And The Deaf Hear…"

Go grab a box of tissues before you buffer this one.

Usually a video goes viral because its content is outrageous or humorous, either intentionally or unintentionally, and typically at someone’s unfortunate expense.  But every so often, a video makes its way through the group-share ringer because it’s incredibly moving or shockingly beautiful.

The woman in this video is hearing for the first time in her life thanks to an auditory implant.  Her husband recorded her reaction to the moment, and her response to the implant being activated is breathtaking.  The woman begins weeping – not at the first-heard sound of music, birds chirping, or the words of a loved one – she begins weeping at the sound of her own voice.  Weeping and laughing, and then weeping more at the sound of her own laughter.  It’s extremely difficult to watch this moment without joining in.

In our examinations of meme and modern culture, it’s easy for me to find the evidences of brokenness (an obsession with pointing these things out is itself an evidence of the break). But sometimes there are moments where we see past the jagged pieces to vestiges of a divine image and types of redemption – the places where we groan along with creation for the revealing of the sons of God.

We’re going to ignore the incessant YouTube commentators on this one: I’m not really interested in turning this moment into a debate over short-sighted and juvenile divisions between science and religion.  That sort of debate misses the point.  When I first viewed this video last week, it had 50,000 hits; yesterday it had 5 million, now going on 6.  Something about this moment resonates with us – we are moved by the deaf hearing because, even though we were blessed with the ability to hear from birth, most of us “get it”.

We know what it’s like to not have something “essential”, whether real or perceived; sitting in a room full of people feeling like everyone else has something we don’t have.  This feeling of being incomplete is common, and we can extrapolate that feeling of ache to those we imagine must be even more desperate.

But when the desperate are actually given that thing they’re missing?  That’s redemption.  That’s worth getting worked up over.  Many times our days drone on in an acceptance of what we assume (and are told) will never change.  This video is moving because we rejoice when the deaf hear their own voice — that kind of thing that doesn’t happen much.  And such an unprecedented a case of redemption resonates with the groaning in us, and with the hope that we someday will be made complete.

All that said, I hope this video makes your day a little brighter.  “The night is almost gone, and the day is near.”

About Kirk Bozeman
  • http://www.FillingMyPatchOfSky.com Erin

    Thank you for not only sharing this video but also for your written analysis. I agree: Redemption is beautiful. I couldn’t help but think of the line from the Sara Groves song “Add to the Beauty”: “Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces, calling out the best of who we are.” Evidence like this, of hearing being restored, reminds me to trust and hope and wait for the full redemption to come.


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