The story of Jesus’ transfiguration is an invitation for us to see through the “veil” that separates us from seeing clearly. I’m mindful of two transfiguration moments in my own life.

The first was when Sheryl, my spouse, and I were returning home from our annual pastors’ institute. As we were turning into a restaurant, I saw an unkempt man with his dog on the corner. He was holding a large, hand-lettered sign readingMean People Suck.” 

As we entered the restaurant to place our orders, I kept thinking about him, as car after car must have driven by without even looking at him. So, I purchased a $10 gift card.

I walked up and handed him the card and ten extra dollars so he could eat, at least for a day. Startled, he looked directly into my eyes and said, God bless you.” I returned the sentiment. 

We were no longer strangers, but humans looking at each other through fully opened eyes, all because of the simple exchanging of blessings. We were both transfigured. No chariots or Old Testament prophets, just two people connected by the heart, not by apparent differences. 

The second “transfiguration” was at a Disciples conference center in Newton, Iowa. The meeting hall was one of the first hearing loops Sheryl and I had installed over a decade ago. 

It allowed me to use my telecoil setting to sit anywhere I wanted in the assembly space. All I had to do was to switch my cochlear implant setting to telecoil, and the sound from the microphone would go directly to me wirelessly without all the attendant background noise that made it challenging to hear clearly.

Through the previous fifteen years of complete hearing loss, I had painfully learned to be skeptical. So when I approached our regional minister, he assured me the hearing loop was working. Yet, when I switched on my telecoil setting to test his words, I heard nothing. 

This was not a surprise, since it had happened to me routinely over the years. Thankfully, Sheryl, the techie, rushed to the rescue and fixed it. 

Then, as I suspected, none of the short videos in the presentation were captioned. This was bad enough, but then I heard yet again the devastating words: “Break into small groups in the room and discuss the questions.” 

Of course, there was no microphone and multiple people talking at the same time. This is absolute hell for anyone with hearing loss. 

I was furious. How often have we been over this? Why are hearing people so inconsiderate?

Finally, one of the moderators, who is a friend of mine and who understands the limitations of my hearing loss, announced that anyone with hearing loss could go into the dining room where there was less ambient noise. Looking around at my (presumably) better-hearing members of my small group, we all arose in concert and proceeded to follow her in single file, like ducklings, out of the room to have a quieter meeting.

I turned to the woman on my right, who had not contributed at all to our previous attempts to communicate in the cacophony. Immediately, she started sharing everything her hearing loss had made her keep to herself. Another epiphany! 

My friend, Kirsten, was the first moderator to address “the elephant in the room.” By this I mean the unheard voices of those with hearing loss, and to move forward to support us and lead us into the dining hall. 

When the heretofore-silent woman could hear, she transformed into an active and invaluable contributor to our small group. She had also been transformed by their becoming aware of not only my own vocalized needs but hers as well. 

The next time we needed to break into small groups, my new hearing allies got up even before me, and we marched off yet again to the dining hall.

Transfigurations surround us. Sometimes it just takes a thought, a word, or an action to see through the gossamer veil that keeps us from seeing them. 

Transfiguration Day isn’t just one Sunday in the liturgical year, but every day if you have eyes to see. Just open them and see clearly!

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