Smith: Listening to figure out what to do

“I thought going deaf was simple,” I said to myself. “One day, everything just quits, all at once; complete silence, none, nada, nyet.”

But this has not been my experience. Some sounds go away, some sounds stay, some sounds lose their midrange frequencies — the way the sound hollows out when you turned down the middle sliders on a graphic equalizer. Some new sounds come along, like whining in your ears.

All these sounds compete for your attention, so that some days you can’t make sense of any of them. Voices in a crowded room become hard to separate out. Same thing on videos. Last Sunday morning our class viewed “Twisting the Truth” by Andy Stanley, but I could not make out the voices of actors who were trying to out-deceive one another, in an office intrigue. But when Stanley began to talk, in a close shot, I could understand him, because I could I read his lips.

Later that morning, I understood the minister well, for he was well-miked, and I could see his lips. But when a guest soloist sang, her voice sounded like she stood inside a barrel. And her really high notes hurt my ears.

My family doctor says I should see an eye, ear, nose, throat specialist, to find out what to do about my hearing loss. But I have resisted taking any action.

Is it vanity? Not entirely. I don’t think so. My problem is different. I have been talking with my heavenly Father for at least a year about my hearing deficiency, and have become convinced He will take care of me — but as far as I can tell, He has not done so yet. But one thing is certain; I do not want to hurt His feelings, or displease Him. I’m coming to believe I will have to have hearing aids, but I need to be sure they are in His plan. At the moment I have not heard an answer.

Then, a few days ago I read that Christians should begin to consider the Holy Spirit not only as a person, but as a good friend, one charged with revealing God’s will to us; that He is our contact person, representing the Father and Son who are in Heaven.

Although the argument is a radical one, I found its solidly based on the good book, so having no alternative, I decided to put this new procedure to use. This happened during my morning walk, as I came to a cross road, and turned onto a less walked road.

“Holy Spirit,” I said. “I understand that you are my friend. That you love me and want to help me.”

I paused.

“Well, I need help. My ears are worrying me to death. I need to do something about them, but God has told me he will make them well, so I can’t cut an end run around him. Will you find out from Him what he wants me to do…then let me know?”

I waited, but hearing only the whining in my ears, I continued trudging along the road. On my left I passed a right new house, with a “for sale” sign in the yard, and an unfinished eight-bay dog kennel down the road beside it, whose boarders used their deep voices to bark at me.

“I gotta’ have some help,” I cried out, as I stopped with the kennel behind me. “I just got to have some help.”

As I crested the hill, I heard a vehicle slowing down behind me, and looked to my right to see a white Chevy pickup coasting to a halt.

“He must want directions,” I said, “because he’s hauling a bed frame and a mattress.”

I walked until the truck stopped and the driver rolled his window down, then I crossed out into the middle of the country road to meet him.

A slim, long-haired man in his 30s reached out a tattooed arm. “My name’s Matt,” he said, as we shook hands.

“Mine’s Leon.”

“Have you changed your route?” he asked. “I’ve never seen you walking on this road.”

“I’ve just started walking down this way,” I answered, then paused. “Have I talked to you before?” I asked, “maybe about a lost dog?”

“No,” he answered. “I’ve seen you a lot, but we’ve never spoken until today.”

I moved up close to his truck to let a car pass, then walked after him as he pulled off the road.

“I train police dogs for a living,” he said. “That’s my kennel down the road there.” He paused. “Then I train law enforcement officers to use my dogs. We work a lot down there on Lawyers Road.

“A lot of police cars with you?” I asked.

He nodded.

“You stayed in that field a few days,” I said, “then left, and in few weeks came back again; then a few months later you did the same thing again.” I paused. “I thought you were looking for a buried body.”

“No,” he chuckled. “I was just training agents.”

“If you saw any rental cars,” he continued, “ they belonged to secret service agents.” He paused. “That was a good place to train,” he said. “But I’m getting ready to leave.”

“I saw the house had gone up for sale.”

He nodded. “I got a big contract with the Army at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.”

He paused, to change the subject. “You walk every day?”

I nodded. “I love to walk,” I said, “but I do it for my health too. “

“I love to walk, too,” he smiled. “But there was a time when I couldn’t walk at all.”

“Really?”

“I got my neck broke in Afghanistan.”

“Really?”

He nodded. “I was a green beret,” he said. “After that day I wasn’t, because my left arm would not work at all.”

He paused, then flexed his arm.

“It took lots of doctors and lots of therapy to get me able to do this again.”

“You must have someone looking out for you,” I said.

“I think so,” he smiled, then waved goodbye, and drove away.

“Well he didn’t need directions,” I thought. Then I began to cry, as suddenly I knew — for sure — that Matt had stopped to give directions to me. Realizing that the Holy Spirit had sent one of God’s tattooed children to speak with me not 30 seconds after I cried out for help, I looked into the sky and said with tears, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

“Matt had to go to doctors to fix his broken neck,” I said to myself, “and to help him get back the use of his left arm.” I paused. “Just as I am to go to a doctor to help me get back ears to hear.”

I was simply elated, and may have sung all the way to the end of my route, then all the way back home, for, certain of my Master’s will, I could now take action. As soon as I got home, I called the Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic and was given an appointment, less than 48 hours later. Not only that, when I kept my appointment with the doctor, the nurse said they had an opening for a hearing analysis right after we finished.

“Are you interested in that appointment?” she asked.

“It’s what I’ve been praying for,” I replied.

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Leon Smith is a contributing columnist to The Anson Record. Write to him P.O. Box 124, Marshville, NC 28103.

Leon Smith is a contributing columnist to The Anson Record. Write to him P.O. Box 124, Marshville, NC 28103.