This experiment has produced something none of the others have......envy. More than once has a mother in the midst of her rambunctious children said, "I need a pair of those." There is a girl at church I have inspired to make her first winchester gun muff purchase (my brand of noise canceling earphones)......but not for firearms class. Instead its to read in the car when her father is playing the radio or her family is arguing....err...talking. lol. Is someone yelling to get my attention that I am not anxious to talk to?.....Easy....just pretend I don't hear them. Its quite the useful little tool, which of course is not my purpose in this enterprise. It is amazing how nice true silence is.....very comforting and relaxing. This may be the cause of my deep sleeps lately.
Preaching today I found myself acutely aware of people's facial reactions. I usually try to get a chuckle here or there, but since I can't hear them.....I try to gauge by the breadth of their smile and if it looks as if they are laughing, giggling, or otherwise guffawing uncontrollably.
I had a very surreal experience today. I retold the parable of the Good Samaritan. Tried to put it in modern terms. As I was thinking it over on the way in to the building I passed right by this lady holding up a "will work for food sign". When I looked over at the vegetables in my passenger seat and realized the irony of my topic I turned the car around to go talk to her. Besides, I can't really do a good job making all our members feel guilty about not picking up hitchhikers if I don't even stop for a "will work for food sign". When I got to the lady I realized her very unique impairment. She was deaf. Yes, and I have my goofy headphones on. I gave her some vegetables and told her I would be on the lookout for some jobs. Of course I wanted to give her my number but .....talking on the phone? She was quite nifty reading lips though. In hindsight I should have gotten her address but I'm sure I will see her again. Maybe next time I will be better prepared.
It got me thinking about the oft quoted passage in Isaiah, "Seeing but never perceiving, hearing but never understanding." If I were to start learning to read lips today......I would initially be engaged in a lot of seeing but never perceiving. The point wasn't the people couldn't see or hear but they wouldn't. I can't read lips. Why? Because I won't learn. Could I? Yes. What would it take to motivate me to learn? Probably a loss.....specifically of the hearing variety. If we truly desire to hear and perceive the truths of God I think intrinsically we must do without. In the abstract this is easy. But practically.........we like our buffet bars and useless gadgets don't we? I'm just saying the heart of Jesus' message involves sacrifice, not indulgence. I know we are living in a material world and I am a material girl but come on people, doesn't our immersion in affluence almost demand a little mortification of the flesh? There's got to be SOME value in disciplining our desires. And lets not kid ourselves about how hard times are. I don't know a person around....from the trailer to the penthouse that doesn't have a WII or smartphone. I know there are truly poor among us but there are also many living on subsidized housing getting food stamps with 60" plasma TVs. I've seen em. Compared to the third world, most of the poorest of this world have it pretty posh. Flashback....to the 1992 presidential campaign, Ross Perot holds up some chart showing how our poverty rate is the same as Uganda or some such country....laughable.
Some of you probably saw this picture of Michelle Obama getting her picture taken at the soup kitchen.
But I digress......suffice is to say......sometimes less is more. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his................sufferings. Yes believe it or not guys, we can't have a desire to "know" Christ in some sort of vacuum independent from suffering. Maybe you can be the next Jabez......but consider this......He prayed that prayer what 3,000 years ago? And as far as I know that's the last time God answered it affirmatively.....just kidding.
Its a blessing to willingly be without because we learn to appreciate. After all 2 is twice as much as 1. But 1 is infinitely more than 0 (Math people don't have a cow.) You guys take it easy. Love what you've been given and thank God for it everyday. :)