So, are you hard of listening?  Well, this may not be the typical question we’ve come to expect but I’ve often wondered if it’s not the better question to be asking ourselves and others from time to time.  I’m sure over the course of time we’ve all been through the battery of tests to determine the accuracy of our hearing but my guess is few of us have ever had our “listening” tested.  As I’m writing this however I’m remembering some of those group dynamic exercises where a statement would be passed from person to person to demonstrate just how difficult it is to listen with any real sense of accuracy.  Typically the beginning statement morphs into something quite unlike its original form as it gets to the end of the line.  Though this exercise also pointed to other difficulties of communication it always amazed me just how quickly our listening skills could fail us. 

As I’ve thought about this a bit in my own life I’ve realized that part of the answer might just be making a simple shift from having a “listening” ear to having an acutely “attentive” ear.  On the surface It sure seems like these ought to be one in the same but that hasn’t been the case for me.  In fact, I’ve even found myself at times “listening” right past someone as they’ve spoken to me.  This is anything but being “attentive.”  Perhaps we would do well to consider some of the descriptors embedded in the word “attentive” itself. Hear these words…devoted, thoughtful, offering, comfort, affectionate, close.  Each of these certainly suggests something much more than a casual interplay of conversation.  Come to think of it these words seem to define the characteristics of the divine presence known as the “still small voice.”  One thing is for sure.  When we listen to this voice with an acutely attentive ear we will hear the very things we need to live a life of unbridled joy and freedom.  So, attune your ears…do you hear Him? Peace.