All the way down the long hall, Susan held on to her mother’s hand. She tried to hang back and keep from going into the Primary room.
Her mother gently pulled her along, then opened the door and tugged her into a room filled with children. They were seated with their arms folded, listening to the quiet music. Susan hid behind her mother’s skirt.
A woman came up and talked to Mother. Susan peeked around and up into the woman’s face. It looked nice. The woman smiled at her, and Susan ducked back. Then the woman beckoned to another lady, who came forward. Susan hid again.
The three women talked together, but Susan couldn’t tell what they were saying. She peeked out again at the new lady, who had gray hair and a merry face full of wrinkles. Susan knew that her smile was a permanent part of her, because all the wrinkles curved upwards.
With a flutter of her skirts, the woman knelt beside Susan so quickly that Susan didn’t have time to hide. She looked away, but the lady turned Susan’s face back toward her. Then her hands began a graceful dance.
Susan stared in amazement. Then a warm feeling began to grow inside her.
The hands were talking to her! “Hello, my name is Sister White. I am your Primary teacher. Welcome to our ward.”
Susan’s hands moved. “How do you know sign language?”
“My son is deaf. I learned so that I could talk to him.”
Susan nodded. That was good.
“Come,” her teacher’s hands insisted. “Let’s sit with your Primary class. The Star-A class is over here.”
Susan disappeared behind her mother again. She was afraid. Sometimes children made fun of her because she couldn’t hear.
Mother drew her gently out. “It will be all right,” she signed. “They will take good care of you.”
Susan put her hand into Sister White’s and walked over to her class. Her head hung down so that she couldn’t see the other children’s faces. Then she watched her teacher reverently talk with her hands, signing the scripture and the prayer. Then Sister White added, “We need to stand and sing the song.”
Susan was bewildered. She looked at Sister White, who beamed and nodded.
The children stood, and Susan watched in amazement. They were singing with their hands! Soon she recognized the song. Her hands joined in too.
As I have loved you, Love one another.
This new commandment: Love one another. … *
When the song was finished, everyone sat down. Then one by one children turned around and smiled shyly at Susan. She held her head high and smiled back. No one in this ward would laugh or make fun of her. They all welcomed her, just as Jesus welcomed everyone.