devozine

Spiritual Practice

Can You Hear It?

Vicki Fourie

Imagine living in a bubble for more than twenty years. Imagine being completely isolated, hearing only a few sounds, actually shattered fragments of sound that you are left to make sense of. Such was my life.

vicki fourie cat2 28429When I was a baby, I had a fever that resulted in a complete hearing loss. At the age of two, I started wearing hearing aids, which allowed me to hear a little. I learned how to speak and to lip read.

Even though I couldn’t completely make out the voices of other people in my life, I learned to hear God’s voice. God was a constant presence during these years of isolation.

Recently, I underwent surgery to place a cochlear implant in my right ear. Suddenly, the bubble burst. Sounds and vibrations engulfed my brain. I was no longer limited. Corners of my life that had been shut off were now wide open. Sound was beckoning to me, “Come! Experience life to the fullest!”

Initially, my implant was set at a low level. The doctors didn’t want me to get the shock of my life. As the weeks went by, they gradually turned it up louder and louder. (As I write, it’s at eighty percent.) Some sounds were irritating at first: crickets chirping, Mom and Dad chewing their food, the clock’s constant ticking. Yet, being able to hear practically everything—the birds’ singing, the wind’s blowing, my cat’s meowing—has made me realize how amazing sound is. Sound travels. It reaches me and enriches my life. It colors in life’s pictures so that they are no longer simply black and white.

vicki fourie2 28129I have begun to notice how involved God is in the sounds of life, especially in music of every kind. Music soars and lifts us up. I was never able to understand opera, but hearing a recent performance moved me beyond words. Even opera is a miracle.

Now, I have the same challenge as most other people. I have to choose which voices and sounds to listen to, because not every sound in the world is beneficial. Still, God’s voice remains the most important sound I can hear.

The wonders of God’s creation are all around us. Do you hear them? feel them? The rhythm of God’s presence flows through everything. Do you notice it? I do, and it’s beautiful.

 

DIG DEEPER

Do you want to hear the best vice better?

vicki fourie hay bale 8229

  • Sit alone in a garden, your room—any quiet place. Be still.
  • What sounds do you notice? Do you hear the hum of the refrigerator? the rustle of leaves?
  • What do the sounds you hear tell you about God? about your life? Thank God for the gift of hearing.
  • How you would describe the sounds to someone who has never heard before?
  • Do you feel as if you’re in a bubble, all alone, with no sounds coming in or going out? What does God say to you?
  • Do you struggle with silence? Is the radio always on? Are earbuds always in your ears? Are you always surrounded by friends? How does too much sound making hearing God’s voice difficult?
Vicki Fourie , former Miss Deaf South Africa, is a motivational speaker and actress in Worcester, South Africa.

—from devozine (November/December 2014). Copyright © 2014 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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