So, how good is your hearing?  My family and I have just returned from North Carolina where we witnessed the beautiful providence of God displayed at the wedding of a young man that was like a second son to us.  They’ll be more to that story but for now I wanted to share with you an encounter we had of another kind along the way.  Upon arriving at our hotel in this rural town we noted an abundance of people gathered in the lobby yet there was a noticeable absence of sound.  The voices were silent as there was a seemingly audible hush to the room.   Being one to lean into the “what’s going on” of life I had to know from whence this silence came.  As it turns out the hotel was populated with people that were in town for a “signing” conference being held especially for the hearing impaired.  Young and old people alike from varying ethnicities were there.  For the next couple of mornings as everyone gathered for breakfast in the lobby sitting area I was able to observe the beautiful interplay of conversation being eloquently displayed in what appeared to be seamlessly choreographed hand motions.  The sheer artistry of this alone was enough to leave one in awe.  But there was something more that left me even more captivated.  It was the beauty of the silence reflected in the joy seen in the countenance of the faces of the people.  Reflecting back on this has caused me to wonder if there is a correlation to our inability to drown out the noise of life to our lack of joy and the respective weariness revealed on our faces to the watching world.  It has also caused me to wonder if those whose physical hearing is impaired may have a more attuned and attentive hearing of another kind…the ability to hear the still, small voice within. Could it be in the taking away of those things we tend to presume upon or treasure the most when we are more likely to become better listeners?  What are the signs of your life telling you?  Perhaps we would all be well served to “listen up” with the wonderful senses we’ve been given such that we would reflect an abiding joy that the world longs to hear.  Peace.