Can You Hear Me Now?


hearing“Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?”

Verizon Wireless brilliantly captured millions by saying what no one was openly saying at the time: cell phone reception isn’t always great. The message of how frustrating it is to not be heard struck a chord with multitudes who switched to Verizon hoping they would be heard clearly more often.

Deeper still is the longing to be heard that rises from every human heart. Truly heard. Understood. Often and clearly.

In my counseling practice, it is important that I understand my clients.  I often pray that God will allow me to draw from the deep waters of a client’s heart (Proverbs 20:5). When that happens, that tangible gift of understanding, I know it. I feel it. God is with us in the moment and He invites us into the deep waters. Understanding comes. Healing comes.

More challenging can be trying to understand my husband or a friend or my mother. When I have a history with another person, that history is intertwined with emotions, whether hurt, worry, guilt, frustration, or a myriad of other emotional responses. Sometimes we call these emotional responses “land mines” or “triggers” or “hot spots”. Hearing becomes more difficult because the entirety of two life stories is there present in the moment.

I am reminded of the humorous saying, “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

My husband and I are committed to communicating well with each other. As we’ve learned more about each other’s hearts, the deep waters, we’ve come to better understand how to navigate those waters without crashing into the rocks that are underneath the surface of those waters.

The rewards of deeply knowing another’s heart are great. The obstacles are also great.

I recently got a pedicure from a beautiful Vietnamese lady. We talked during our time together. Sort of. Well, we tried. I really wanted to understand her. She really wanted to communicate with me, too, but there were obvious obstacles to our conversation. She spoke limited English, and I spoke no Vietnamese.

We smiled at each other, used our hands to try to add visual cues, and repeated ourselves a lot. Yet, all in all, it was a limited experience. We did not find any deep waters together.

We needed an interpreter.

And some thoughts crossed my mind…

Do I try this diligently to help those I love understand me?

Am I willing to repeat myself, using different terminology, adding illustrations, cues, and facial expressions to give meaning?

Or am I satisfied to live in shallow waters?

As you think about your relationships, how deep is the water you live in? Do you need to find someone who can help interpret you to someone else (a counselor, a pastor, a friend) or even to yourself?

How “heard” do you feel?


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Categories : communication

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