"a thousand to fall at my side" would somehow not come near our home. But my faith was not strong enough, my prayers not powerful enough. We were destined to become like almost every other married couple I knew. It does indeed rain on the just and the unjust.
I can remember the night well, that our home was invaded. As a newlywed, I was pouring my heart out to my husband as he watched TV to keep from being overwhelmed with emotion at the details of my story. Then as I allowed the usual moment of hesitation in my monologue, where he would normally enter the conversation with compassion, wisdom, and understanding, there was silence. I remember waiting, thinking, "Wow! He is so touched with my outpouring, he cannot speak." The silence continued...and then the scene that has been rerun in our home more times than Andy Griffith played out.
"Honey? Honey? Are you listening??......HONEY! ARE YOU LISTENING?"
His armor still shown brightly, as it rested against the blue denim background of the recliner. His shield still rested against the left side of the chair, and his sword against the right side, ready to defend me in a heartbeat, but something was still wrong. I then ran to my knight in shining armor's side convinced some thing was terribly wrong. Finally after struggling to shake that massive amount of shining metal and getting no response, denting the chest plate as I enthusiastically performed CPR attempting to revive him, I flipped open his face guard, only to find a some cob webs and a note, "Gone to get a sandwich, keep talking."
The glazed look in his eyes as he returned from the kitchen, wearing his ragged white t-shirt and jeans, said it all. (Do Knights always dress that tacky under their armor?)Not only did he not have anything to say about my vocal offerings, not only did he not hear them, he did not know I was in the room. The winds of selective hearing had blown into our home. I thought my man would be different than so many of my friends' husbands. It was a sad day, for both of us. I would now talk twice as much since he could only absorb half as much. The half he did absorb would be confused with the the half he didn't hear. The half he didn't get would be the whole juxt of the conversation.
I have come to accept my husband's late onset hearing disability, although I think it would make it easier to deal with if I could receive a monthly disability check to compensate me for the inconvenience his hearing loss has caused me. Of, course I would have more information to share with him when I came back from shopping which would only make the situation more unbearable for both of us.
The new tragedy? Our home has been struck again. My 10 year old son started exhibiting the same symptoms of this disability. I was devastated. He is only 10. He's too young for a grown man's disease. I cried out to God in desperation, "Please don't take my son from me! I still have so much to share with him! Please God, 6 months! Give me 6 months to say goodbye, before his eyes glaze over, and communication is forever limited to commercial breaks and the time it takes to fix him a sandwich!" But I did not pray through and his hearing got worse.I would frequently be giving directions in his general direction in the living room. I would wait on some sort of acknowledgment that my words had been received and processed. Moment's later, still no response. I cannot count the times I have given reminders as we walked out the door, of items he needed to grab, only to arrive at our destination "itemless". I found myself addressing him like he was 90 years old and living in a rest home.
"IT'S TIME FOR YOUR BATH!"
"NOT MATH! YOUR BBBBBBAAAAATH!"
And with the absolute sincerest look on his face, he would say, "Mom, I'm sorry, I didn't hear you."
Well, this mom got tired of apologies. I decided to take Nathan to our Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist. We drove an hour and a half, in hopes of a miracle procedure to restore sanity to our home.
We arrived, and I informed the doctor of my dilemma. "My son is turning into his father at age 10. This should concern all parties involved. " He didn't seem to realize what a state of national emergency this was. I told him of Nathan's hearing loss, his constant misunderstandings, and the all annoying phrase repeated throughout the day, "What?".
The doctor laughed and informed me, that he has numerous wives drag their husbands into his office to get their hearing checked, only to find their husbands can hear fine, it's the high frequency of their wives' voices that they cannot hear. I cracked up laughing, assuming that was some sort of audiologist' joke, but he assured me it was true. I felt pity for those wives, but knew God could move in my situation. Apparently God moved all right- right out of that doctor's office. They performed the tests on Nathan's ears. I was shocked by the results- as I usually am when told I am the one with the problem. Apparently the high frequency of my voice does not always register in Nathan's ears. The more frustrated I get, the higher my voice goes, decreasing my chances of being heard. I am raising a 10 year old, with the hearing of a 60 year old. The doctor suggested he marry a woman with a deep voice. He did give me some pointers to making sure I am heard- make him look me in the eyes when I am giving him direction. Make him repeat the directions back to me. Minimize distractions during important conversations. He said I could also try them on my son if they worked on my husband.
Then as we were leaving, the doctor told Nathan, "Nathan, it was good to see you again."
Nathan replied, "Again, what does he mean again?"
"Nathan, he was the doctor that took your tonsils out."
"Oh, yeah. I forgot."
With his memory following so closely on the departure on his hearing, we decided to go straight to the Social Security Office and get his paperwork started. Wanted: A godly woman with a low voice, a good memory, and patience to marry my son.
As we prepared to leave the office though, the doctor looked into Nathan's eyes and gave him a clear instruction. "Don't tell your mother anymore you can't hear. You need to be honest and say, "I wasn't listening."
Well, about that time, God stepped back into the office, and convicted me of my listening skills.
"My sheep know my voice.....
I know His voice well. I can recognize Him in a crowd. I can hear Him in the crashing waves, or a gentle brook. And I know when to pretend I didn't hear Him- when He asks for more than I am willing to give. I can hear Him calling my name, when I want just 30 minutes to sleep. When He calls me from my gentle cruise to leave the boat and walk on the water, I sometimes find myself in more of a hearing mood than listening one. We as His sheep know His voice, but are we always listening? To hear is to simply acknowledge the sound, to listen is to hear the sound and process the information. So many times, I am comforted by hearing His voice, because it means He is still near. It also somehow leads me to believe that as long as I am close enough to still hear His voice, than I can hone in and listen more closely when I feel like "listening."
The sad issue is this- it we who miss out when we don't listen. When I try to tune out the noise of my kids each day, I miss out on on conversations I want to join, games I want to play, jokes when I really need a laugh, and joy and chaos I will someday miss and long to hear. Sometimes we are tuning out an invitation from God to draw closer, go deeper, soar higher, or even rest longer. We tend to always try to remember that we will not have our kids forever and time is precious with them. If only we could grasp that concept with God. Though God is eternal, the time He would share with us today under these circumstances in our lives, may never happen again. It is the changes in us that will hinder the effectiveness and impact of time spent with Him, not Him. If God calls you today, it is because He knew something of your present circumstances or tomorrow's events that makes this moment in time the perfect moment to speak to you. What if what He wants to impart to you today, will be too late to receive tomorrow? We treat God's continual presence and activity in our lives too lightly. We take for granted our God who never sleeps nor slumbers, assuming we will always another time to meet.
When the same voice that spoke light into existence, calls unto our inner man to come and dine, it is not an invitation to be taken lightly. Just as he tried to instill in the Israelites with their daily ration of manna, there is daily provision from Him available to us each day. Tomorrow's will not be available today, and today's will not sustain through tomorrow. Just as I long for Nathan to treat every word I speak to Him as significant and meaningful, how much more so should the words of our Good Shepherd be heeded and internalized.
As Dr. Schultz gently reprimanded Nathan, I too, received the rebuke to be honest-"Father, I will not say I did not hear you, but rather I was not listening. " How ridiculous to ever think God would speak too low for me to hear.
I paid a $35.00 co-pay for that rebuke. Of course, I saved $35.00 when I cancelled the appointment I had made for my husband.