Beware, free and random thought ahead:

In both my office at work and at home, I have a clock, the “old -timey” clock you have to wind up with a key every several days in order to keep it running.  Both are a bit noisy, and the audible results of the pendulum’s travels can be heard anywhere in the room – if I am listening.  I add the “if I am listening” part because more often than not, though the pendulums are swinging (and in their noise-making mode) I don’t hear them.  They have become “white noise” to me.  Yet, when others walk into my office I often see them respond to the “tick-tick-tick” with a glance around the room in an effort to see where the noise is coming from – the noise I don’t hear.

All of that in reaction to the reading in my Advent meditation book today:

“He who has ears, let him hear.”  Matthew 11:15

The noise from the clocks, and my ability to tune them out, reminds me how easily I can be tune out that which is occurring around me.  I have the ability to shut out all “noise,” and do at times, but perhaps more often I engage in selective hearing.  As Simon & Garfunkel sing in the The Boxer “a man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest.”

That (of course, as my mind works) points me to another song by Steve Goodman – My Old Man.  In that homage to his father, Goodman writes:

“And oh, the fights that we had, when my brother and I got him mad.  He’d get all boiled up, and start to shout, and I knew what was comin’ so I tuned him out.  But now the old man’s gone, and I’d give all I own, to hear what he said when I wasn’t listening, to my old man.”

All that to say that while selective hearing has its benefits, it causes me to lose a lot.  Let’s just say that my selection process as to what to tune in and out is imperfect.  While I may miss the sound of my clocks, I might also miss that “still small voice” pointing me this way or that.  Which is perhaps where Jesus was going with — “He who has ears, let him hear.”

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