Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Gift of Hearing

I watch in fascination as our Lebanese staff worker moves around the building. She is like a wet tornado because she is throwing water everywhere. As she is hearing impaired, she is unaware of how loud she is. I met her husband yesterday and he also has a speech impediment. Together, they are the loveliest, more adorable couple who live in a world of simplicity. Their good-heartedness is worn on their sleeve and their love for Jesus is so simply real.

She recently received hearing aids and it is opening up a new world for her. She is delighting in new sounds in her environment and she is like a little kid. She can now hear her son and she loves his voice. Her hearing aids are basic and they allow in every sound at the same level so sometimes this becomes bothersome noise to her, but when she enjoys the sounds, it is wonderful to see. She also noticed that she is the source of much noise and it embarrasses her, but we just laugh with her because we don't mind. It does make me wonder about the sense of hearing that we take for granted. For her, it is a world-opening gift. For us, it is part of daily life.

The universe becomes open for us when we allow ourselves to hear. Many people that I meet in Amman talk a lot and don't listen well or often. I think of the conversations I had in recent days. I asked, "Would you like two free tickets to 'Project Christmas?'" The answers ranged from, "I plan to get my haircut then," to "No. I don't know what it is about," to "I can't afford that much money," to "I did not put it into my program (like they have one)," to "I don't go to plays." All frustrating answers.

I would then ask, "Would your parents (or community members) like to go?" and they would reply "no." I would ask, "Wouldn't it be fair to even ask them?" "No, I speak for them. I know what they want." I would ask, "Do you know what a musical is" and they would reply, "No. I just know they would not like it."

It is quite amazing the enclosed world in which people choose to live. They recognize their lives are hard and I think routine makes up for their hardship. I am so heartened to hear the good comments about people who are in the play. The world is opening up for them as they recognize they want moments of happiness in an otherwise brutal world. Their escape for 2 hours will make them happy as they cherish memories of a musical that is given as a gift for them.

The audiences recognize they need culture and arts to lift them, if momentarily, out of misery so their soul can be tickled and renewed. I'm thrilled at the gift we are giving Jordan. I just wish more people would accept the gift because it can transform their Christmas season.

When I was in Portland, Maine I saw the same thing each performance. People were filled with good cheer and they would gather for a nice festive meal with family and friends and would then come to a great concert. It was a time when eight year olds were introduced to live music for the first time and their eyes bugged open with wonder. It was also a time when an eight-four year old recognized that this would be her last Christmas. Both the 8 and 84 year olds needed their moment of joy to spark their soul and help them appreciate the love around them.

Peace, joy, wonder, and hope are needed in the Middle East. I hope many people are inspired to come to Project Christmas to experience the spark that kindles other flames. Let the joy of music enter into your world so it can be healed.

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