To Hear

Moving from blindness to sight or deafness to hearing (or even poverty to wealth) is one of the great human stories.  That’s why John Newton’s simple lyric, “Twas blind, but now I see,” has been so everlastingly evocative to so many, and in so many times and places. Six one-syllable words describe life change. You live in one dimension and then you crash through a barrier into a brand-new one.  Your former self vanishes. A new life emerges. It’s probably somewhat like being killed in a car wreck and then your spirit — the real you — rises from the wreckage to continue living in the boundless expanse of immortality.

This 1:30 minute YouTube video of a young woman hearing for the first time certainly tells its own story. In that sense, it is dramatic and irresistible.  But it is also a very moving metaphor of total life change.

Few things are as spirit-dulling as politics and religion. That’s probably because they are two sides of the same coin. They both represent the best human ideas on how to create and control a safe place in the cosmos. Both are antithetical to trust. Both are located somewhere along a sliding scale — from mild to severe — of doubt.

I personally believe that no points, no elevations on the political spectrum or the religious one represent “high ground.” Every inch of the sliding scale falls on the same horizontal plane. Nothing on that plane will ever become airborne.

I’ve seen what happens when people (even religious ones) finally “hear” for the first time. They throw off the shroud of death, scream, laugh, dance, hug everyone within a 3-mile radius, and/or collapse in sobs of gratitude for something they never heard before. What they hear subverts every human idea, order, and structure.

Everything changes.


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