I have just recently married the man of my dreams, except I never could have imagined the gift that he is. The truth is, my husband is nothing like the person I had envisioned for me, during my 16 years of being single again after losing my first husband to a car accident at 29 years old. Sixteen years is a long time to envision the man of your dreams, but I am so very thankful for the words God gives us in Ephesians 3:20-21, that He gives us more than we can imagine... or dream.
My husband is deaf. I say that matter of fact, because that is his realty. I on the other hand I have spent 46 yrs of life believing that I hear just fine. The truth is, it has taken a deaf man to teach me how to hear, and more importantly the value of listening. My husband Stephen, studies a conversation. He watches every nuance of a speaker’s mannerisms, because he needs to. He needs every clue possible to simultaneously culminate in his mind in hopes of “hearing” as much of the conversation as possible.
Imagine for a moment what it is like to sit with even just two people conversing with you, and having to study and strain to take it all in, so that you can actively participate. In those moments his focus must be them. I have learned that often when I listen, my focus is not completely, and sometimes even minimally on the speaker. I grab context and immediately begin the formulation of my response.
The truth of it is, most of us patiently wait for someone to finish so we can share our own thoughts, and our opinions. I admit that I most times don’t even patiently wait. I interrupt and talk over people. Not because I am arrogant but rather because my mind is filling up quickly with my response, and more often than not my mind spills those quickly forming thoughts out of my mouth without even hearing everything said.
My husband, when he is listening, is forced to give preference to my words. He studies them, he studies my body language and expression. His hearing is intentional. He tends to be slow to speak and quick to listen. And isn’t that what God tells us we should do.
The most amazing thing is, I needed his physical disability to teach me the extent of my spiritual and obviously the greater disability. I am convinced that we must all take a greater, and closer look at the disability community, not for what it is that we can teach them, but the greater lesson of what they will teach us.
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