I am amazed by the things I can hear and not hear. I can hear the difference between a Harley Davidson and Ducatti motorcycle and love their distinct sounds. My ears perk up at the sound of exotic luxury car exhaust sounds. I hear the sounds of helicopter blades and look up into the hills for smoke. There are certain musical sounds that fill my eyes with tears. And the sounds of my granddaughters laughing bring me deep, deep joy.
But then there are other sounds I don’t hear so well. When the clothes dryer beeps, it’s often Martha who is the first to respond. When some news celebrities launch vitriolic critiques of this thing or that, I stop listening. When I hear a succession of sporting scores, I routinely forget most of them. And, unless I concentrate, when I meet a new person and hear her name, I can often forget it to my embarrassment.
Why do we hear what we hear and not hear what we don’t hear? Sometimes it’s a physical condition in our ears. But other times it’s because we are too busy talking to do any listening. Other times we are so distracted we have a hard time paying attention. One web site I visited said there are three modes of listening:
1. Combative listening
2. Attentive listening
3. Reflective listening
As you prepare for worship this Sunday, take a personal listening audit. How well do you listen as you worship? What do you listen for or listen to? What do you avoid hearing?