Hearing

20 05 2008

I am watching a documentary on HBO about an elderly couple, both deaf all their lives, who get cochlear implants. I have no idea what it is called because the info says it is Little Miss Sunshine, but I have found myself drawn deep into the story of these people. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to not be able to hear, but even more so, what it must be like to live your whole life without hearing a sound only to suddenly be able to hear everything. The noise that we put so easily into the background is instantly all in the foreground all at the same time to the point where you can’t distinguish which sound you should be hearing. 

I love what the father says when asked what the voice he hears sounds like – he says “I don’t know, how do I describe what green looks like.” There is absolutely no reference. They go home and test everything out. The light switches, rubbing their hands on the walls, their footsteps, tiptoeing down the hall, power tools, fans, car washes – everything that we take for granted they are immediately in tune with and amazed by.

It is also heart-wrenching, the pain that they go through with the frustration of not progressing quickly in being able to distinguish different noises. They usually revert to taking their receivers off to return to the “normalcy” of no sound rather than get used to the new sensations.

The daughter, who is narrating the story, said something that hit me hard…”As I watch my mother struggle with all these new sounds, I realize that part of learning how to hear must be learning how NOT to hear; how to tune in what’s relevant and tune out what you don’t need or what you just don’t want to hear….In the car, mom had already stuffed her $7,000 tool in the compartment next to her chewing gum.”

I realize that my life for the most part is sensory overload. It’s so loud that it is hard to distinguish what God is trying so patiently to speak into my life, that I often just give up and put His tool in the compartment next to the chewing gum. Then I get frustrated that I cannot hear only to realize that I’ve already discarded the only thing that can repair what is, in my case, a deaf heart, and turn it back on, wondering why I had turned it off in the first place. I am wired to be around people all the time – it gives me energy, but it’s so good for me to realize my need for quiet, to remind me to simplify and quiet the noise in my life. 

What do you do to quiet the noise?

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One response

20 05 2008
Chris

Wow….great post! Good stuff. Thanks for the insight!

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