While a Senior in high school, my daughter Melody was faced with that age-ol’ decision, “Who do I want to be when I grow up?” She pondered nursing but was afraid she might accidentally kill someone — which made her ponder — perhaps — forensics . . . CSI Miami, anyone?
Melody consulted her high school guidance counselor. Having experienced the joy of working with small children in the church nursery, Melody decided that teaching could be an option. She told her counselor that she had learned some American Sign Language and would like to explore that field. When Melody left the counselor’s office, she had made the decision to pursue a career teaching children who were hearing impaired.
Her counselor told her about a wonderful college in St. Augustine, Flagler College. Before Melody graduated high school, she had been accepted into this fine institution of learning.
Her grandmother Shirley (who will be at the retreat this year) asked her, “how do you know that is what you want to do?” (I really believe that Shirley “Nanny” may have had some ulterior motive in that she did not want her granddaughter to be five hours away from her — yes, they are close.)
Melody had no answer.
While attending “Night of Joy” (an all-day, all-night concert event at Walt Disney World Orlando featuring various top contemporary gospel artists), Melody pondered that question . . . how do I really know? How do I really know that teaching deaf children is my life’s career choice?
While observing Michael W. Smith in concert, and out of the corner of her eye, she saw a young girl signing Michael’s songs to her hearing-impaired friend.
Melody had her answer.
A year later Melody met Michael W. Smith in person at Lifeway Christian Bookstore where she was working (and met her future husband). Not only did she pose for a keepsake snapshot with him (which is in a box somewhere), she had the rare opportunity to tell him about that life-changing moment she had experienced during his Night of Joy concert.
Melody graduated Flagler College with honors in December 2001 and married her wonderful Army officer February 2, 2002.
Thereafter, Melody taught the hearing impaired in Savannah, Georgia.
Currently, she is the lead translator of the Deaf Ministry at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Colonial Heights, Virginia, a ministry that she helped to establish. . . . and the mother of my wonderful grandchild.