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Miles to Go—Hear Me


By Marianne Miles

I exchanged a thermos cup of coffee for a good-bye kiss with Brian, my husband, as he left for work. “Bye,” we both chanted simultaneously.

Then Brian stopped. “Oh, I forgot,” he said. The halogen light I installed over the driveway seems to be shorting out. Don’t let the kids play under it today because it could explode.

“Seriously?” I asked, knowing nothing of the new bulb.

“Yes,” he said, turning to leave. “And it has some sort of poisonous gas,” he said over his shoulder. “ It’s not likely to break, but to be safe…,” and he was off.

Off and Running
Great, I thought, one more thing to worry about. But I didn’t worry. In fact, I forgot about the whole thing until I was returning from a shopping trip that afternoon with all three kids. We had homework to do, bathrooms to clean, and a meal to cook before our dinner guests arrived.

Unlocking the front door, arms draped with grocery bags, I heard my twelve year old son say, “Hey, Mom, look at this.”

I turned to see him standing directly under the faulty light. He gazed up at it curiously as it buzzed, flickered, hummed and flashed with flashed with electric snaps. Terrified, I screamed, “Get away from there!! Run!” And, wow, did he!

“What is it?” he asked as he stood behind me. The light settled down.

Relieved, I only wanted to get inside and drop the groceries, but I mumbled an explanation. “It’s broken, honey. I was just afraid it might explode. Daddy said there’s something poisonous inside that could hurt you.”

I set the kids about chores and was unloading groceries when I glanced through the window and saw my son stalking the bushes out front, carrying a big stick. “What are you doing?” I called out the window. He put his finger to his lips and came over to whisper to me.

“There’s something moving in the hedge. I think it might be that poisonous animal from the light.”

Wanting to be Heard
This humorous mistake speaks to the value of clarity. It’s a great goal of communication since we all want to be heard. How often, as a mom, wife, sister, friend, are my words misunderstood, or not heard at all?

I’ve been thinking about this recently as I move in the circles of my community. A theme in my relationships is not being heard. I feel like someone punched the “mute” button on my shoulder. My lips move, but no one hears me. For example, I might say, “I’m in the pits” to the question, “How are you?” only to have the person respond with, “That’s nice.” I answered an e-mail twice, saying I would be at a meeting and the group was surprised to see me when I showed up. In another group I have attended for years, my name was left off the roster. Hmm…

I try not to take this unworthy-to-warrant-listening-to status personally, but who else could I think deserves such anonymity when the perpetrators are, in fact, ignoring me?

I have appeased my bruised ego by searching the Internet for statistics on missed communication in listening. Estimates run that fifty to seventy-five percent of communication is lost in the cosmos that hangs between us. And, as my son proved, ideas that come from miscommunication can even be funny. I guess fifty percent ignored or misunderstood is better that a hundred percent, but somehow I still feel discounted.

The God Who Hears
However, I hear there is One who really knows me. I want Him to hear me and I long for Him to respond to me in a way I know I am heard.

Do you remember when God answered Hannah’s fervent prayers for a child? There was no doubt in her that God had clearly heard her pleas.

Do you remember when Abraham heard God say to sacrifice his son, Isaac? How did Abraham know it was God who spoke to him? The request was not something God would normally demand or even approve of, so how did Abraham know he had not heard a devil posing as God?

The key to these questions has to be tied to the truth expressed by Jesus in what I will call the “Good Shepherd Speech” recorded in John 10. The most applicable part of the speech is: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me… (John 10:27)

I believe this. It is profound. So, why isn’t it enough for me to know that I am known and to know that he hears me and answers to me? The truth is, in hearing His voice I have received appropriate response to all my inquiries and complaints. Why do I long for more?

I would like to further address what it means to be seen and heard in next month’s column, Touch Me.

©2010 Marianne Miles. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

*Copyrighted back columns are available for reading in archives of Comfort Cafe. Contact Marianne for reprint availability.

Marianne Miles is a free lance writer intent on bringing comfort to mom’s of special needs kids. As she and her husband raised their children, including a son with special needs, Marianne developed a passion to support hurting mothers. Her message revolves around the love and provision of God, even in times of trial. Marianne has worked as a volunteer in the public schools, home school mom, and a teacher in a private school. She writes on the subjects of family and education in the form of devotionals, magazine articles, and poetry. Marianne welcomes reader’s comments and publisher’s questions at Marianne_Miles@yahoo.com.