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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Deafness and Quiet

Last week, I had an unsettling conversation at The Gamers Guild; one of the players asked me to stay and listen while he talked.  He had some problems he wanted advice on.  It was tough to hear some of the broken family relationships, and it was actually hard to follow some of the family tree due to the complexities of how many times it had been broken and re-made, but I followed most of it and was able to let him vent, which was the most of what he needed (though he had said he wanted advice--he really just needed someone to listen to him).  It was a little unsettling seeing the reverse side of the coin of the adoption process--this individual's kids had been seized and others had adopted them; I actually knew one of the missionary couples who has one of his biological kids.  I usually know the coin from that side--the people who have adopted a kid out of a rough home; as such, I tend to understand how they don't want the biological parents to have too much to do with the kid to prevent confusion and continued negative influences.  It was strange instead to hear the anguish it called a biological father to not be able to refer to himself as a child's father if/when he ran into them, and of kids who didn't yet know they had ever even been adopted or that someone else might be their parent.

What was really unsettling, though, was how unable this individual was to listen.  Though they said they wanted advice and really needed some advice, even the simplest advice couldn't be heard.  They physically heard it, but it didn't process with them or sink in.  They were too drowned in their own perceptions of the problems and their own internal drama to even be able to consider any other advice, worldview, or perspective.  It was somewhat dumbfounding.  Though I said several simple things that should have been very logical and greatly solved 95% of some of the problems, they wouldn't sink in--couldn't sink in.  He was completely unable to hear.  After awhile, I realized that no matter what I said or how firmly, clearly, bluntly or obviously, nothing was going to get through and be heard in any way that would likely make positive life change.  This individual was actually too self-absorbed to hear it, understand it, or really to even care what I was saying because he'd already figured out that his problems were insurmountable--except maybe by extreme efforts that he'd already considered.  He wanted to see himself as the victim and as the hero, beating his insurmountable challenges...  and that's what he was going to do.  Whatever I said was just some quiet outside whisper unrelated to what he was suffering.

It was really fascinating--and disheartening.  I hope that this individual did hear some of what I said, and that he may even be able to one day hear God Himself on bigger/better levels than he currently does, but I could feel in the conversation that he won't likely be able to hear Him or listen unless God does a great miracle or continues to work on him for decades.  Maybe, just maybe, way later in life he'll finally be in a position to hear something from somebody--and hopefully from God.  This gave me great comfort in God's patient, enduring love (I'm confident that God will continue to slowly work on Him).  It also made me wonder how deaf I often am to God and how much I still clearly don't hear.  Thankfully, God is patient and loving and will continue to help me in my deafness.  I know that I hear more than I once did--but who knows how much like this young man I may still be if one takes a bigger, more Godly perspective on it.  In sincere, honest reflection of my own sinful nature and of the Holy Spirit as He refines me, I can see that I am still often deaf--that, though saved and though I possess better knowledge--that I still frequently screw up and am, in effect, partially 'deaf' to hearing God's voice or shutting out my sinful nature.  It may be that I am more like this young man than I know, though at least God continues to show me how much more I need to hear and how very much I daily need to walk with Him to be able to live for The Kingdom and true life.

Hopefully this will help me walk more humbly with God--Lord knows I need to be reminded how truly humble I should be due to all He's done and still does.  I guess, though unsettling, that the conversation ultimately left me ending with the sensation of a still small voice, loving, and working, and eroding at deafness in this young man, me, and all of us.  It also left me with a more obvious sense of the very powerful, and often quiet way that God loves.

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