Draw your ear near...

I know it will sound like I’ve had my big “duh” moment when I ask, “Has anyone noticed that people don’t listen anymore?”  But I want to take it a step further. After decades of societal breakdown in the communication of listening I’m frightfully aware that people don’t talk anymore.

I don’t mean that we walk into a family restaurant to the sounds of human silence (or blaring TVs). I see something far stranger. I am noticing that people have not stopped talking, they’ve merely stopped speaking in a fashion as to be heard and understood. Service people, phone operators, even the police have given up on being heard so much that they spit out whatever they have to say in any random direction and volume.

I cringe when I mention to someone that they are mumbling and they say, “I get that a lot.” Don’t you want to be heard? I certainly do. I remember my junior high drama teacher yelling at me from the back of an auditorium, “Project, dammit!!! If you don’t care about what you are saying enough to be heard, why should we be bothered to listen?”

I guess it’s safe to say that I project now.

But I find it exhausting to spend my days saying, “What?” over and over again. And yeah, I have a bum ear (which people love to blame) but that seems to have little to do with this phenomenon.  I walked into a college enrollment facility today and the first girl that greeted me whispered. I said, “Are we in a library?” “No.” “Then why are you whispering?” She said, “That’s just how I talk.” I asked if it was a medical thing to which she said no. Then I asked for someone else to assist me. “Can I have a yeller please?”

And I love it when idiots respond to this concern with, “Well, I hear myself just fine.”

Listen, if you think your communication style is a personal choice, beware.  Ever notice when God speaks in a voice thundering from the heaven?  I know, there’s also that still small voice thing. Well, that voice is so still and small it can be heard over, under and around the madness of the human condition. So don’t tell me that’s it’s wispy and weak!

Ephesians 2:2 refers to Satan as the prince of the power of the air. This has nothing to do with bad weather or pollution. It’s warning us that Satan attacks us in our communication to confuse, usurp and ultimately destroy our relationships and all God intends to do through them.

Once upon a time we stopped listening. Then we gave up on being heard and threw away our strong voices and traded them in for bottomless reservoirs of “whatever” speak.  I sometimes care what others have to say. I always care about what I have to say and want to be heard. I want to hear God, my one true love and drown out the voice of Satan, my enemy.

It’s funny how the Bible warns us against murmuring. Yet that is the perfect definition of how we’ve grown to communicate. We officially believe there is no audience for our feelings, ideas, observations and dreams.

And we officially don’t care.