BY DAVID CLUFF
A few months ago I went to go speak at the Central Institute for the Deaf (CID), for a parent’s workshop. I was asked to talk about different resources that the St. Louis Children’s Hospital offers, deafteens.org and other resources in the St. Louis area. I was a little worried and did not know what to expect. I was soon about to learn that I will grow stronger within myself through this experience.
The morning came, I was driving down to the school and as always I got the sick feeling. I knew the feeling would go away once I am in the school---just like it does when I attend other events. I found a parking spot and as I walked into the school I felt a little peace from above and knew everything would be alright. I got in and one of the staff members said “You’re David Cluff, right?” and I said “Yes, I am.” They immediately showed me the way where I then ran into the author of Sophie’s Tales, who helped me with deafteens.org.
Once I was in the gym where I would be speaking, I listened to Dan and Amy Morra’s story about their children. I felt more peace knowing that they were there. I have met them before and read their story. Even with all the peace I was feeling, I was still struggling to find the confidence within myself.
My time came to sit in front of all the parents. I took my seat and looked at the parents. I could see that they were in need to know that everything will be alright. Some parents had just found out their child is deaf and were still recovering from the news. Others want to learn more and give their child the best care they can give.
The spokesperson went to the microphone and introduced me and then it was my turn. I stood up—and had faith and prayed that Heavenly Father would help fill my mouth with words that these parents so desperately needed. I started speaking and the next thing I know I see tears running down their faces. How could I keep my own tears back? I had to work hard to keep them from falling. I then knew that Heavenly Father was helping me along. I don’t remember everything I said but I remember the feeling I felt as I spoke.
Afterwards parents came up and talked to me and asked questions about what they can do to help their child. I felt a confidence grow within me as I spoke to these parents. I was able to apply personal experiences with these parents and they were able to find comfort knowing that I know what their child is feeling.
I have grown such a love for these parents and their struggles. They remind me of my parents and everything they did for me. My parents were not able to attend and watch me but in a way it was good that they could not make it---I needed to know that I can do this. They felt the same way and yet they wished they were able to make it.
As I walked back to my car I thanked my Heavenly Father for helping me find confidence within myself.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13