There are a few good things about not hearing, I’ve discovered since the morning I woke up deaf.
I sleep better when I can’t hear the headboard squeak. The Preacher’s favourite music — not always my taste, barely bugs me. And our parrot’s crow imitations? Mere dibbits of sound in a landscape of silence.
The first morning of my almost total deafness, I woke early. Sensing something different in the morning quiet, I got up. Walked to the window, noticed the maples swaying at the back of the property. But I heard no wind. Inside the house, not even the antique clocks ticked. (Or tocked, for that matter.)
“I’m deaf as a stone!” said I. “Can’t hear a thing.” (Turns out I hollered.) “You don’t have to yell,” said the newly roused Preacher. At least I think that’s what he said. His face appeared pained and his lips moved.
“But it’s like someone tied two pillows around my head with a belt!” He appeared to groan, and reached for two pillows himself. Unnerved by the silence, I laughed myself silly.
When I calmed down, I realized the problem: my ears are a wax factory. Every few years they produce enough to fill the ear canal. Then they give notice by stealing my hearing. My deafness had snuck up on me gradually. I’d ignored it, hoping it would go away.
For the next few days, when the alarm rang at five a.m. the Preacher had to shove me awake — a a job he seemed to relish. I couldn’t hear my cell phone alarm, barely six inches from my head. (If you have a Blackberry you’ll understand the extent of my hearing loss. Those alarms start out sweet and soft, but if you don’t stop them, they’ll blow up your nightstand.)
My doctor looked at me soberly. I read his lips. “You have to be really sick to come to see me. Last time you had shingles. What’s wrong?”
After he blasted my wax factory into kingdom come, I left his office a new woman. I didn’t try to start the car after the engine was already humming. I remembered to turn off the blinker. I heard birds, and my hands brushing the steering wheel. My world had changed.
But I’ve thought ever since of something my doctor said during that visit. Also a person of faith, he told me that for some time he sensed God calling him to an unusually difficult assignment. He had resisted, he said, “but I have to listen now.”
God speaks to us all, in many ways. Choosing not to listen blocks our spirit’s ears. But our Father in Heaven is rather like my Blackberry. He never gives up. He does, though, allow us to choose: remain deaf or allow the Holy Spirit to blast that God-deafness all the way to sweet surrender — so he can flow through us and change the world.
What’s your choice?