I thought laryngitis (the loss of one’s voice) was an illness, turns out it is a teacher too. Laryngitis teaches one, indeed requires one to listen. Listening is an acquired skill, learned only through actually practicing said discipline. Laryngitis is a tough taskmaster, but then listening is a tough lesson to learn. Laryngitis succeeds by forcing her students (the ones who suffers from said ailment) to get plenty of practice at listening. In fact, laryngitis provides a 24/7 training experience until such time as the student is released from her class. This occurs when the student no longer suffers from the illness that is laryngitis.
In the meantime, it is surprising the things that one can learn by listening. Laryngitis takes away my voice and in so doing gives voice to others. Laryngitis makes it possible for me to hear so much more clearly the voices of others around me. This is an unexpected bonus of having laryngitis as are things like getting out of any scheduled presentations or other public speaking engagements one might have and getting to play the fun game of charades at work or wherever you might be, until your voice returns. (some have enjoyed playing charades so much that they have been known to fake the continuation of their laryngitis indefinitely)
Now I said laryngitis teaches one to listen by forcing them to do so. The thing is, laryngitis provides the opportunity, the opportunity for me to listen. Laryngitis requires me to listen but can she teach me to listen well? There is a difference. And this difference makes all the difference in our relationships. People need to know that they have been heard, they need to know that they have been understood. Laryngitis can’t teach me to listen with my heart as well as my ears. I need to learn to listen to what is behind the words that others speak, to listen to what their words cannot express, to listen to what their hearts are saying.
I am growing weary of playing charades every day, all day. But laryngitis is still giving me opportunities to learn the lessons of listening, the lessons of listening well. The secret lesson that laryngitis won’t tell you, I will, dear readers. Laryngitis makes me listen with my ears, but love beseeches me to listen with my heart. They say that “practice makes perfect”, so perhaps that’s why laryngitis is taking her time with me. She is perfecting my listening skills by giving me lots and lots of practice! Thank you Lord for the blessing of the lessons I’m learning while laryngitis is living with me.
” . . . Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (James 1:19-20)
“Come to Me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake. I am ready to make an everlasting covenant with you, to give you all the unfailing mercies and love that I had for King David.” (Isaiah 55:3)
“Incline your ear and listen to the words of the wise; apply your mind to know them; For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you; if all of them are ready upon your lips.” (Proverbs 22:17-18)
sincerely, Grace Day