We’re constantly being told to listen or hear from every side; being asked, “Did you hear me?” Of course, we say yes whether we did or not. I don’t think the real question is “Did you hear me?” alone, but also “Did you see that?” We can hear multitudes of things, most with little or no effort on our part, unless we are hearing impaired. Some things we store in our brain’s filing system, others come in one ear and go right on out the other ear, like water off a duck’s back as the saying goes. Do we take the time to understand what we hear? Do we take hearing and understanding for granted?
My husband tells a true story that illustrates this point very well. He works for a blind friend of ours at a snack shop. This friend, because he is blind, uses talking cash registers. Any time you touch the keys of this register, it speaks to you. My husband Jerry and Paul (our blind friend) were discussing the hearing/listening process. As he was ringing out the next customer the register said, “Register off” plus on the screen it showed zero for the amount because it was off where you would normally see the cost of the sale if it had been on. After he had completed ringing the customer’s purchase, he noticed that the register said, “Register off” and had all zeroes instead of an amount of the sale. He had to enter the entire transaction again after he turned the register on. Therefore, he realized he was hearing but not listening and looking but not seeing.
How many times have we all done the same thing? Do we walk through our lives not 100% present?