‘EYE CAN TALK’ – a silent soul emerging…

This week I watched Locked-in Boy on BBC iPlayer from the series ‘My Life’.
It’s the story of Jonathan, who spells out words by using his eyes to pick out each individual letter displayed on a board.


I found it a deeply moving programme. Truth is, it made me cry, it made me smile, and it most importantly, it made me think…

Words. We take them for granted, and without a cost attached, we can open our mouths without thinking.
But watching Jonathan spell out each word, letter by letter with his gaze, puts speech into perspective.
– It gives a completely different meaning to the phrase:

‘spelling it out!’

There’s a point in the programme where his mother, Chantal, says:
“He spelt out ‘i— l-o-v-e—y-o-u’. He’s chosen to write that, and that makes such a difference because you know that’s exactly what he wants to say.”
How different our exchanges with strangers, friends and family might be, if we knew that the words they were saying to us, and us to them, were carefully chosen.
How different it would be, if our words were really thought-full.
– It gives a completely different meaning to the expression:

‘choosing your words!’

In the programme we see (teacher) Sarah and Chantal enabling Jonathan to communicate with the Government Minister for Vulnerable Children & Families. Jonathan campaigns for children to have the opportunity to be taught to read and write, no matter what their disability. It has from his own experience of being denied opportunities by Authority, that this Teach Us Too call has arisen. He spelt out to the Minister “I come as a voice for the voiceless”.
He truly does, and to quote Sarah: “[he] doesn’t make a sound, but has such a lot to say”.
– It gives a completely different meaning to the expression:

‘finding your voice!’

We need people to help us find our true voice. People who believe in us; people who can see locked-in potential; people who enable and encourage. And we need to be that kind of people, to others.
Towards the end of the programme we see Jonathan meeting his champion author, Michael Morpurgo. It is an intensely moving scene. Both show one another deep respect. It’s the stuff of real, connected humanity.
Mr Morpurgo later says: “Meeting you that day has left its mark on me. It’s a memory I shall hold dear for the rest of my life.”

I’m not surprised. Jonathan’s faith shines out from his face, and his poems.
Although a trauma resulted in him being born with cerebral palsy, with many challenging effects, there is a huge ‘but’ in his life: “I never let it hold me back… I don’t know how long I’ll live, but I’m determined to make the most of my life… I’m going to make every moment count”. His blog is testament to this!
Jonathan surely understands the meaning of life in all its fullness…

Truth is… I have come in order that you might have life, life in all its fullness.  (John 10:10)

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