Sr. Baraka has a good post going at her blog on gratitude.
Good news in my family this week. My dad has long had very poor hearing, but lately it has been getting much worse, so that he has been almost completely deaf for a few months. The family lore, although I'm not sure of its truth, is that he first lost hearing when he had measles and mumps together as a child. But it has continually regressed during his adult life and I'm not sure what caused its recent stronger decline although ear infections may have been involved. It is quite a challenge for all involved when someone loses one of their senses that they rely on; it is like losing a part of oneself and losing a key connection to the rest of humankind and the world. It is isolating. Like many things, hearing is one of those blessings that we really typically do not appreciate how great it is until we don't have it. Many many years ago he looked into hearing aids but they hurt his ear so he refused to even consider them again. This time when his hearing got much worse, he decided to reconsider. My mom said he is now fitted with a temporary one while a permanent one is being made, and that he seemed to be very happy and could hear her talk, could hear the TV, etc. So we are all thrilled that we might be able to talk to him without screaming and repeating everything until he gets upset and gives up, and he will feel so much more included. He might even be able to hear the phone ring or hear the door bell! So alhumdooleluh for his hearing loss worsening as that is what it took to reconsider a hearing aid. Well worth the cost, insha'allah.
On a related note, I am a big fan of closed captioning. When it became fairly common in TV's, it became fairly common in our household. In my adult life, I have rarely watched TV without the closed captioning turned on. I get annoyed if it isn't available. Live closed captioning can be pretty worthless and pretty funny, but for other shows it is very useful, even if you can hear. It fills you in on mumbled dialog, sometimes provides you with lines in the script that were left out of the shot for some reason, tells you how names and places are spelled, appeals to visual learners, aids with language learning and helps children develop their reading skills as well. Sometimes it gets in the way of stuff you want to see, but that is usually not the case.