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Hearing Paired


In recent years it became fashionable to wear mismatched socks. They are even marketed and sold that way. But we’ve likely experienced that discomfort of discovering that we dashed out the door in the morning sporting one black and one brown shoe. Not intentionally. Not fashionably. An accident. An oversight. A lack of sight through eyes still heavy with the night. And it’s embarrassing to us because we have it that each pair of shoes is comprised of matched mates.

Like we have it (or used to) that white wine is to be served with fish and chicken while red is reserved for beef and lamb. Wine producers and sellers still promote wine and food pairings even though we’ve become a society that simply wants to please itself so much of the insistence on properly matched culinary mates has gone by the wayside. Are the pairings really that important?

And then there’s our hearing. We might opt for aids to hear more or plugs to hear less. But there’s also the matter of how we receive what we hear. For instance, the words “I’m pregnant” could give rise to great rejoicing for a family of comfortable means but cause great panic for someone living under constant financial stress. Hearing paired with hopefulness is likely to result in happiness but if met with dread might bring despair. How do we receive the news of world events, of the stock market, of our family’s welfare, of a loved one’s health? With what is our hearing paired?

What is it like for us to be told that we are loved? Many of us hear this tender expression with great regularity; others seldom receive such affirmation. Perhaps hearing a particular someone say “I love you” stirs butterflies in our stomachs; perhaps we question whether the person saying so is sincere. When hearing is paired with self-loathing, positive comments will likely be deflected or rejected. But, oh, when hearing is paired with trust… loving words become a healing balm for a beleaguered soul! Perhaps the nature of our relating shapes our hearing.

The creative force behind Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred Rogers is quoted as having said, “I believe appreciation is a holy thing – that when we look for what’s best in a person we happen to be with at the moment, we’re doing what God does all the time. So in loving and appreciating our neighbor, we’re participating in something sacred.” The next time we receive or offer a word of appreciation or kindness or love, may the transmission be conducted with trust!

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