By: Dennis Bates
This morning I am scheduled for a complimentary hearing test, compliments of my wife and the local hearing specialist, whatever he’s calling himself. It’s another one of those signs of age. First the print on just about everything got too small to read anymore; now, even though I can see it, I have trouble hearing someone read it to me.
It’s not so much that I can’t hear; it’s just certain frequencies. Some people’s voices are very clear to me; others, not so much. I have trouble hearing what’s being said by some people up front in church. That’s not always such a bad thing, but I at least want to know what I am disagreeing with, instead of assuming I disagree just because of who’s saying something.
You know what I mean?
Of course, it wouldn’t hurt if we sat a little farther toward the front of the church, but my wife would rather not hear than move forward. Hmm, there must be some kind of appropriate metaphor there somewhere. Oh well, it’s probably a good idea if I just leave it alone.
Anyway, I had a hearing test once before, and as I recall, you get placed in a small soundproof booth, handed a headset and asked to indicate by raising your hand which ear or ears you hear the sound coming from. It’s kind of like being told to look up the correct spelling for a word in the dictionary. Exactly how do you do that if you don’t know how to spell the word in the first place? You have to have some idea how to spell the word or can’t look it up.
How am I supposed to tell the clinician which ear I hear the sound in, if my problem is that I can’t hear in the first place? So maybe I’m making this too hard, or too simple. I’m not exactly certain which it is. And maybe I can hear just fine; maybe it’s listening I have trouble with. There is a difference, you know.
Maybe I don’t understand what’s being said because I’m too busy trying to figure out whether I agree with it or not. Maybe I don’t want to hear what’s being said. My wife calls it selective hearing, which is a euphemism for “You hear only what you want to hear.”
Me? I would never do that. However, I do find myself a lot more interesting than a lot of people, and I never have trouble hearing myself. I wonder if that means anything?
I used to think that people who insisted that God talked to them were…well…people I didn’t want to spend too much time with. Sorry, I’m just being honest. After all, I’d felt God, seen Him in action, and believed that He was completely in control, and it was better for me when I followed his lead. I even believed in the power of prayer when I talked to Him. But Him actually talking to me…just a little over the top for me. Again, sorry, just being honest.
Guess what? I’m not so sure of that anymore. As the sounds from the world blur, or at least take more concentration to follow, I have started hearing God’s voice more and more clearly. It’s actually kind of freaky. You mean He’s been talking to me all these years and I didn’t hear Him? Or was it that I just wasn’t listening?