My apologies, I didn’t hear you.
What was so funny? What did I miss?
I’m sorry. I can’t hear you.
No, I’m not kidding. I really cannot hear you.
Perhaps it’s more accurate if I say I cannot hear you if you are standing on my left side. Stand on my right side, or in front of me so I can see your lips move, and I can hear you (most of the time). At 47 I realized that I wasn’t just missing some parts of conversations, I was missing whole conversations, multiple important statements in meetings, and, most heartbreaking of all, conversations with my sons.
I’m quite certain I drive people crazy. There are times when I drive ME crazy. I see people around me talking quietly, sharing their lives, their stories, their jokes and it makes me insanely jealous. I just want to be “normal”, to hear what is being said. Doesn’t seem like too much to ask. I mean really…in the grand scheme of life, I just want to hear “normally”.
Then, I remember something I’ve always believed.
I would rather see than hear.
Those six words have become a mantra of sorts.
When I become sad that I can’t hear people I stop and remember that I can see them. I see how amazing people are in their likenesses and in their differences. I see how, when I become agitated in a crowd because I cannot pick out a single conversation, someone steps up to talk to me, just me. I see how some people roll their eyes when I have to ask them to repeat themselves. I see how people accommodate each others needs, whatever they may be. I see, and that’s enough for me.
I watched in awe as my youngest son ran in the state cross country meet. I didn’t have to hear – I saw what I needed to see. The fire, the passion, the joy, the sense of accomplishment as he PR’d. I saw the parents, family, friends – all congratulating and consoling runners from all over the State of Illinois. I saw my son’s face as he saw his family, his father, brother and myself, proudly waiting for him. I saw it all…I didn’t need to hear anything.
I sat quietly, with tears silently rolling down my face, watching as my oldest son graduated from Great Lakes Naval Station. I saw the new sailors march in; I saw the pride on their faces as well as the pride on the faces of those around me. I saw my son achieve yet another dream in his life. I saw him as a man, not a little boy, a man who made a decision and followed through to the end. I didn’t have to hear a thing…I saw it all.
So as I continue my journey in life, not hearing just exactly what I should, I find that I see far more than most people. That is enough for me.
I see what you’re saying…and what you’re not saying.