My deaf and hard of hearing friends and those who know American Sign Language (ASL) will recognize the sign above for the double H which means ‘Hard of Hearing’. That sign is the one I use when communicating with the deaf to explain that I am hard of hearing though not completely deaf and it is one of the reasons I continue to try to learn ASL.
This morning was a bright and beautiful morning and I found myself at the pond at the back of our small farm, fishing. I was fishing and the fish were cooperating. Bass after bass seemed eager to take my hook. I catch and release because mostly, for me, fishing is a chance to talk to God.
From our house, the pond and the woods beyond offer a symphony of sound. On hot days or cool nights, you can, if you are not hard of hearing, listen to a complete symphony of nature in sonata form, the first movement being the stately croak of the frogs their allegro flow introducing the night song. Then comes the minuet – the nighttime dance of sounds. Being a distance away and hard of hearing makes me miss much of the minuet, particularly the alto and soprano sounds of nature. This morning, though, I was thinking about (and talking with God about) the fact that when I am at the pond, closer to the orchestra; I am able to hear more than when distance blurs the music. God showed me that the same is true when I long to hear from Him what it is that He is expecting of me. When I cannot hear His still small voice of encouragement or direction, often, I am too far away. When I find myself far from God, I always notice that it was me who moved, not Him.
I have had the joy, in the past, of owning hearing aids that open up so much more of the world than what I hear on a daily basis. Sadly, the cost of such devices precludes having them at times and it is then I wonder how much I am missing. Newer devices have the ability to open up in a kind of stereo when out in nature to pick up all the sounds. This morning, I wondered what kind of device do I need to hear God speak to me? Then I realized that it is His Word. By staying in it, studying and enjoying it, I hear better and I find myself closer.
What keeps me from hearing when distance is not the issue? Sometimes I can be right next to my wife and not be able to understand what she has said. If I cannot see her face and watch her lips move, I miss much of what she says. When there is a crowd and other background noises, I cannot hear what someone says to me. Sometimes I hear a sound but I cannot distinguish the words because there is too much busyness going on about me.
One of my physical issues that inhibits my hearing is damage to the small hairs of the ear canal. These small hairs are the sensory receptors. The doc tells me that it is through mechanotransduction that these hair cells detect movement. When that happens, the brain hears sound. The damage to my cells causes them to send a constant signal to my brain which is translated as a high pitched non-ending hum. I have two different pitches, one for each ear. Damage to these hair cells results in decreased hearing sensitivity and because they cannot regenerate, this damage is permanent. What is interesting is that, because they are damaged, they move continually. This continual movement generates the tinnitus and decreases my ability to hear.
How often, I wonder, is my inability to hear what God is trying to say to me caused by me being too busy doing whatever that may be good works? My busyness may be blocking my ability to hear what God is trying to say to me. Even when I am by the pond, if I am completely wrapped up in working with the horses or some other chore, I often do not hear any of the symphony going on all around me. I can be close enough. I can even have been spending time in God’s Word so I have my hearing aid; but, if I’m too busy, I’ll miss what He has to say to me.
So, there is my prescription for better hearing of what God wants to say to me. I need to get closer to Him. I need to be in His Word so that my hearing His voice is aided by the scripture and I need to stop the busyness of a Christian life and just listen.
How is your hearing?