The other night I heard Ed saying something from the other room, but couldn't tell what it was. I asked for probably the thousandth time over the past few weeks, "What did you say?"
He said, "I coughed."
I answered, "What are you scoffing about?"
He replied in a louder voice, "I just coughed!"
That is the way communication has been around here for the past three weeks. It has been, well, let's just say interesting. We have decided to keep laughing.
I haven't been able to hear out of my left ear since I had an infection at Easter. Even after antibiotics, my sense of hearing didn't come back. It has made me aware of my senses and loss of sight in a way that I usually don't think about too much. Being blind has become normal for me, and I just go about my life doing everything, just perhaps in a little different way, but very reliant on my hearing.
I finally made an appointment with the ear, nose, and throat specialist who put a tube in my ear a couple of years ago. The tube had fallen out, which sometimes happens, but the ear blocked again, and I had to have another tube placed. A hearing test showed that there has been more hearing loss since my last test, in both ears. The doctor explained that even though I have had a successful pancreas transplant, the years of brittle diabetes caused nerve damage in my ears, just as it did in my eyes and kidneys.
That was disturbing news, particularly since my hearing is so connected to my "seeing" and how I perceive the world around me. I have learned to "see" through my sense of touch, taste, and smell, but primarily through my ability to hear. To be honest, this news from the doctor was difficult; I will have to use hearing aids one day, but that is a bridge to cross later. For now, I am just thankful for what I have, and I am thinking of this news as a refresher course in not taking anything for granted. I am now even more aware of the sweet voices of my little granddaughters.
This experience has brought into focus how much we let the noise of life distract us from really "seeing" and "hearing" what is important. Even in prayer, I realized that just being totally quiet with the Lord for even a few minutes—to let Him speak to me interiorly (instead of me doing most of the talking)—is how I am present with Him. If I listen, He can show me what He wants to tell me.
Last Sunday at Mass, we sang one of my favorite hymns, "Open My Eyes Lord." I heard the words in a new way:
Open my eyes, Lord. Help me to see your face.
Open my eyes, Lord. Help me to see.
Open my ears, Lord. Help me to hear your voice. Open my ears, Lord. Help me to hear.
Open my heart, Lord. Help me to love like you. Open my heart, Lord. Help me to love.
And the first shall be last, and our eyes are opened, and we'll hear like never before.
And we'll speak in new ways, and we'll see God's face in places we've never known.
I live within you. Deep in your heart, O Love. I live within you. Rest now in me.