It is hard being labeled or viewed as something “broken”, or even worse, feeling like you are broken. When I lost my hearing I felt like I was broken and as if a piece of me was missing. I was only six years old when my journey began.
My name is David Cluff and I would like to share with you how my life changed through this experience. In March of 1993 I was born with a virus called Cytomegalovirus, which is known as CMV. This virus has many side effects and doctors thought I might not survive. I was born pre-mature, but despite all the odds a miracle was born. I was welcomed by loving parents and would eventually be the oldest of four children in the coming years. My childhood was not like most kids growing up. At age three I was diagnosed with hearing loss and fitted with my first set of hearing aids. At age six I woke up one morning and any hearing I had the night before was completely gone. Just like that, something that I cherished so much was gone. My world had changed in a matter of moments and I felt broken, unsure, and I missed the way things used to be.
Shortly after losing all my hearing I was given the option to receive a Cochlear Implant. After lots of prayers and help from family, friends and people I hardly knew, I got my first Cochlear Implant in October of 1999. Shortly after recovery I got the Cochlear Implant turned on and my ability to hear my parents, my own footsteps and the water running was restored. Did that magically make everything perfect again? Nope. Rather it was the beginning of a journey of faith as I re-learned to hear the world around me. It was like a matching game of what sound goes with what. As the years went by and after a major move to the great city of St. Louis, Missouri, I was given another opportunity to receive a second Cochlear Implant for my left ear. It was my dream to hear with two ears again. I was once again faced with the challenge of re-learning to hear. Hearing with two ears is not the same as hearing with one.
I am still broken but over the years I learned that “Broken No More” does not mean that everything is going to be perfect or seamless. Rather, it is like a puzzle. When you get a puzzle in a box or bag you now have the choice to either put the puzzle together or let it sit on the shelf. My challenges came like a bag of puzzle pieces. So many pieces that it often felt like it would take years to put each one together to match the master photo. Yet, I had a choice. Am I going to let it sit on the shelf and let my challenges hold me back or am I going to do my best to put the puzzle together? Once completed you see the whole picture; but notice how there are lines going all over the place from each puzzle piece. It is not seamless at all but it is “broken no more.” That is like life. We are given pieces of a puzzle and with time we come to see the masterpiece.
My master puzzle is still in the works but I am seeing parts of it coming together and that is when I know that everything is alright and that I am Broken No More.