The list was short…
The parking lot was full…
I kept reminding myself, “The list was short.”
The “superuberboxstore” was crowded with holiday shoppers.
I parked in the second to last spot available.
I walked with purpose in my step and in my gait.
The fluorescent glow of the storefront illuminated the mist coming down from the rain threatening sky.
I made a decision that I had never made before…
It was a difficult decision.
I am a purist when it comes to listening and hearing.
I want to capture every sound, every nuance of every word spoken.
Every inflection of every dialect ever spoken carries with it a thousand different meanings in front of a thousand different emotions which lie just underneath the surface.
I want to hear and interpret each and every one of them.
Such is the joy of engaging the world around me.
Not tonight though…
That’s why it was a difficult decision.
This would be a debut decision…a first timer.
The decision was strikingly deliberate and decisive.
I reached into my pocket, pulled out the convoluted, tangled wires.
Plugged them into my iPhone
Placed the earbuds in my ears
Held the iPhone in my right hand.
Swiped with my left.
Poked with my index finger the Music icon.
Bog Seger crooned that wonderful raspy voice into my brain, mind and heart.
“We’ve Got Tonight” was the melody and my thought was, “Yes we do!”
And with that fateful decision, I walked into the Super Walmart
In my pocket? – iPhone
In my hand? – Short list
In my ears? – Earbuds!
I approached the front “automatic doors” with the yellow “Caution” stickers stuck right in the middle of them. From the opposite angle a young African-American woman with her fuchsia scrubs and beautifully braided hair that bounced ever so softly on the small of her back approached the front doors simultaneously to my arrival. I caught her eye, she smiled, I offered, “Please…after you.”
That’s what I said…
That’s what she heard…
She nodded and went first…
And then this amazing reality hit me…
I didn’t hear a thing, except for Bob Seger singing…
I didn’t even hear my own voice say, “Please…. after you.”
She nodded, she smiled, her lips moved…I didn’t hear a thing.
Right then and there, I knew I had entered an unfamiliar and yet quite exhilarating zone!
I was not going to hear anything anyone said in Walmart!!
My pulse quickened…
My adrenaline kicked in…
With big metal four wheeled cage of a shopping cart in hand, I was off and running!
My cart ran into someone else’s cart. I looked straight into the person’s eyes and uttered, “Oops…Sorry…Excuse me…” (I couldn’t even hear my own words). The person on the receiving end smiled and her lips moved…quite a bit. I smiled in return and guess what?
I didn’t hear a word she said!!!
I smiled and moved on!!
And so the evening went!!
I saw animated conversation between a husband and wife…didn’t hear a thing!
I saw a Walmart employee on the hand held microphone making a request…didn’t hear a thing!
I saw kids pleading for some toys…didn’t hear a thing!
I didn’t even hear an announcement from overhead about “Prices falling!”
It was awesome!!
I was in my own world…
Enjoying my music…
Not hearing a word…
With cart full and paid for, I headed for the exit doors…
And wouldn’t you know it…
Guess who was approaching the exit doors at the exact same time I was?
The African-American nurse in the fuchsia colored scrubs.
Our eyes caught…
I removed the earbuds…I had to say something…I had to hear something…
I said, “We came in together and now we are leaving together.”
She nodded and smiled…
She went first.
As we exited she veered to the right
I veered to the left…
I offered with a big smile on my face, “Merry Christmas!”
She stopped every so briefly, turned, flashed a brilliant smile and said in the most exquisite African accent, “Merry Christmas!”
And guess what?
I heard every word, every nuance and every inflection and it made my heart smile and my face chuckled in the misty air. I wished I had heard it on my way in to the store and not just on my way out.
Here’s my word for the day…
Praise be to God that Jesus didn’t put the earbuds in his ears.
He left His own world to be in our world.
How easy it would have been to stay in the heavens.
How convenient it would have been to stay away from the noise and the hassle.
Jesus made a very deliberate decision.
He entered our world and heard and listened to:
Every silent vocal chord
We have a Messiah who moved into the neighborhood with eyes and ears, especially the ears wide open with no earbuds…
May we remove the earbuds from our ears of life and listen and experience the joy of hearing the sounds around us this Christmas season!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1. 1-5, 14 ESV)
Laugh often and Fear not!