I love my husband dearly. But if you’re like me there are just some times when you enjoy the peace and quiet of being solitary. Like, when it’s still dark outside in the early morning and I can sit wrapped up in a blanket on the couch in the quiet house with a fresh cup of coffee. Or if I am concentrating on a certain television show, he better not start any big discussions with me. Stuff like that. Times when I just don’t want to have to listen.
This past weekend I had a project I was trying to get to. Just as I was getting organized, Ted decided he was interested in my project as well and started helping. Started taking over. Yeah – it became OUR project. About an hour into our little project with heads bent together over the computer, he was chewing some gum rather aggressively. When Ted chews enthusiastically on something, his jaw cracks. Now I will admit I was actually glad that he helped me with this project. His contribution was helping a lot and getting it done. But, that chewing! And that cracking sound! Crack! Crack! Crack! Crack! It was like Chinese water torture. But I held my tongue because it was my fault he was chewing gum since I had suggested a little earlier that his breath needed a little freshening. How could I now ask him to STOP chewing that minty freshness?
A little further on in our project, he finally trashed the gum. Amen! Oh dear. Now what was that sound? He had taken a piece of hard candy from the bowl – butterscotch – and was crunching it. I’m sorry folks, but that was annoying too! Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.
I think my lack of patience with all the ‘noise’ came from the fact that I did not sleep well the night before. Can you guess why? Because Ted was SNORING and I ended up on the couch!!
I finally stopped what I was doing and yelled at Ted, “Why must you do everything so LOUDLY?” He looked at me quizzically. I went on to explain that he couldn’t do anything quietly. He couldn’t sleep quietly – he had to snore. He couldn’t chew gum quietly – his jaw had to crack. And he couldn’t even suck on a hard candy quietly – he had to crunch the darn thing!!!
Ted yelled back, “Well I guess some people want to live large – I want to live loud!”
We both laughed. And then he added, “Well I have to do things loudly, especially around your parents, because neither of them can hear.”
(More laughter – yes they both need hearing aids!)
We completed our project. And we really weren’t yelling in anger at each other – it was playful volleying of sarcastic remarks. And I really do love my loud husband. He just needs reminders to be quiet sometimes. Because he is often in a noisy steel mill or driving in his car with his job, he is in the habit of talking on the phone to his boss very loudly. He has to – to be heard. He will do that at home on the phone or even at me. I get close to his face and softly remind him, “I am right here so you don’t have to talk so loud.”
What about you? Do you find that you have to be loud to be heard? Or will people listen when you speak softly? Of course, whispers always get heard because they are usually conveying some secret information. How about your listening skills? Are you the first to listen to that gossipy whisper, or can you only listen when it is loud enough to distract you from the other things you are busy with?
God is the best listener. He hears us when we cry out, when we pray softly, and even when we have no words.
A dear family, whom Ted and I have been friends with for probably twenty years or more, lost the male head of the house this past year. Chris Barnard. Leaving a wife and three sons behind, it has been a painful time of healing for them. The youngest son, Denny, recently made the following video that I just viewed today. I had to share it with you. This young man cried out to God in a loud voice. Then he was wise enough to listen when God spoke back. Now in this video, Denny doesn’t even speak but shares a heartfelt testimony.
To the Barnard family: I love you guys. What a wonderful spiritual leader Chris must have been for his son to proclaim such a message. Blessings to you all.
Psalm 4:3b the Lord hears when I call to Him.