Heard Immunity

No typo. Yes, a bit playful. Everyone has a need to be heard. Nobody wants to be herded. I’ll admit, part of the reason I write is to be heard. Our voices are a gift to others while our ability to hear is the mechanism to receive such gifts. Ever wonder why God gave us one mouth and two ears, I mean besides the scientific anatomical ones? I figure it might be so we listen twice as much as we talk.

The immunity part comes in when talk becomes cheap. It’s simple supply and demand. Ever been around someone whose mouth prattles on and on? They supply too much. They tome on and on and you tune out. Blinking becomes a conscious choice so your eyes don’t succumb to glazing over. You throw a penny of thought into the conversation and coins gush out like a slot machine on steroids.

That’s when heard immunity kicks in. It’s not that they don’t have anything to say. On the contrary, mixed into the white noise of their run on sentences are clues. Their mouths aren’t open and shut cases of our prosecution. A word, a phrase, and tone of voice start rolling over like a rock tumbler. If we can hang in there, we might stop looking at their mouth and make more eye-contact. If I can cup my ears for a little longer, maybe, just maybe, I can interpret their words in the context of their whole. Did you know that body language accounts for the majority of communication?

Listen. Listening can be hard work sometimes. It’s a skill in need of constant development. Make no mistake, listening is not the same as hearing. Just ask my kids. When they call me ‘Jerry’ I know it’s after multiple attempts at ‘Dad’. My wife knows I can’t do two things at once. To tell her I’m listening while checking my phone? Fail.

In all this distancing, sheltering, and personal protecting, there are spaces created to listen. I can’t say I’ve taken every opportunity to really listen. I’d kick myself if my leg reached that far. Instead I’m pounding these keys as a note-to-self.

Two ears plus one mouth equals communion. Community. Communication.

Two eyes plus two ears plus one mouth equals better reception.

Heard immunity is something I want to avoid.

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