My sisters and I had been exploring the possibility of hearing aids to help out my mother for the last several months. In recent years, her hearing has seemed to deteriorate a little (or she has just gotten better at not listening to us when she doesn’t want to. I’m not sure which). On a recent visit to Nashville, we decided it was time to make the move and take those first steps. My youngest sister, my wife and I took her to our local Costco to look into this possibility. It was an interesting experience. They took mom into this sound proof booth right there in the middle of the store, ran a few tests and talked with her one-on-one. Then, they brought the three of us in to sit down and talk a little further about the results, what they revealed and what our options were.
The audiologist talked about things like sound reduction, pitch changes and limitations, and background noise. As she was allowing mom to try out a pair of the hearing aids to see what they felt like, mom asked, “Am I really loud? I feel like I’m talking louder than normal.” She replied, “Hearing aids are going to help with all kinds of noise. But you still have a responsibility to learn to listen and shut out the background noise. The problem we have with hearing loss is that we sometimes forget to hear our own voice because we focus on so much going on around us.” The audiologist’s response got my attention in a way she probably had not intended.
Sitting there in that little booth, I had one of those unexpected God moments. My life–like so many 0f yours–has a tendency to demand way too much at times. Schedules get out of whack. Surprises and interruptions throw my life out of balance. Challenges arise. Problems seldom come with really easy answers. It seems like my life forces me to focus on things I really don’t want to–background noise. And, in the midst of all that noise, I can forget to hear the most important voice–God’s. What I need is a spiritual audiologist. Someone who can remind me that I have a responsibility to learn to listen.
It’s easy to find other sounds or voices to focus on. Many of them are good. Relationships. Partnerships. Work friends or neighbors. Our culture, our school, our family or our church can offer voices that demand to be heard. But I have to be careful about allowing good voices to shut out the One voice that brings all of this into balance. I can tell when I’m off kilter. I can tell when I haven’t listened very well. I can feel the stress. I can almost see the calendar filled with things that don’t matter. But it’s not till I learn to listen…again…to the voice of God, that I find I can really hear again. I learn that all the other noise starts to make sense. All the things that crowded my life before begin to find their rightful place and, before I know it, my life is back in order.
So I’m trying to use my hearing aids–reminders that His voice is the most important. I’m trying to tune in more, focus on His voice and keep things in balance. God forbid that I would wake up one day unable to hear the one voice that makes sense of all the other noise.