Most mornings are heralded by the thump of our bedroom door being zestfully flung open by Jacob. Sometimes, if I’m already awake, I hear and feel the running drum of his little feet first.
As I lay in bed I am soothed by the clunking of the pipes from the kitchen; the dishwasher is running. Or the steady roar that comes from the starting of a bath. The old heater has a particularly wonderful deep, thunder-like rumble just before I feel the gentle warm air that grazes across my face.
I read the house by its music.
As I shift under the covers, the bedclothes are silent. I often forget that this is noisy, this soft sandpaper movement of cotton fibers against each other. For me it is pleasantly muted.
There are lots of little things like this that I forget. I adore a long delicious soak in the tub, but always in my quiet state, as the noise of water splashing is startingly harsh; sharp but I forget. I often joke that God specifically designed me for my husband because he snores like a bear and only a severely hard of hearing wife would put up with the din. As it is, the rumble still wakes me up from time to time. And with someone with an over active imagination, (I still occasionally leap into bed to avoid ghostly grips on my ankles) I have many times ushered silent prayers of gratitude for my quiet nights.
I get up, slip on my old fuzzy pink robe that waits for me like a hug from an old friend.
Bracing myself, I slip my “ears” on. The trilling sharp chime needlessly announces the devices intent to turn on. Yes, yes I hear you. It always irritates me, this rude transition from my quiet cocoon of Sleep back to this noisy land of Awake.
I immediately turn the volume down low. My gears, like many people, start grinding slowly in the morning so I choose to start my days muted. Literally. Full volume (especially with toddlers) requires a cup of strong coffee, and that is still brewing.
Sitting on the couch I watch the swirly patterns in the steam of my brew and sip the piping hot beverage. Thump, thump, thump, thump.Jacob is running through the kitchen now.
Brian gets up and goes to the back room; I realize the baby has been fussing but I don’t hear it. Her cries from the back room are sometimes just high enough in tone that they don’t register. Time to start plugging into reality. I crank the volume up a few notches.
“Mommy! I want my toast now!”
Too quick. I kick the volume down a notch. Better.
In the shower I relish a few more minutes of quiet and I thank God for creating me this way. Some might view it as a mistake. A flaw in the design. Fatal error perhaps. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Sure, there are disadvantages. Namely having to wear an electric stethoscope that makes me look like I should be directing flights. And I can’t say it was too fun in Junior High. But we all have our moments.
And with it, this incognito blessing, I’ve also been given great superpowers. So much of my days are palpable because while I may lack in hearing, my body has kindly magnified everything else to make up for it.
While I listen to the glorious rasping of breath of my patients, I feel the breath. I’ve become sensitive to the vibration of rales and ronchi on my fingertips. My palms know the thrum of a stenotic aorta as well as my ears do. Better, perhaps.
When Brian or the kids are sick I smell it first. The metallic smell of illness is sharp and bitter. Never before have I lamented the loss of a smell as much as when my littles lost their newborn smell. I could have breathed in that heady scent for years.
In conversations, especially in group settings, it’s easy for the spoken word to become elusive to me. So I’m grateful that so much of what we say is actually silent. The tensing of a body in pain or emotional hurt. The rash, pallor of the skin, the endearing allergic nose crease. Or the nodding of heads, the wild gestures, the trembling lips or averted eyes. It all speaks volumes. That’s what people really want anyway right? To be heard. So I hear them. I listen harder, in a way, for fear of what I might miss.
All these things make my life vivid and intensely blessed. So I don’t try to change it. I don’t think too far into the future, or delve too far in the past. I just try and embrace the rumbles and the clinks that make up our crazy, noisy, beautiful life.