I noticed her right away as she entered my booth at our community garage sale. Looking back, I am not sure what about her caught my attention. It may have been her face that seemed to reflect a lifetime of living. Some would call them wrinkles. In her case, however, it seemed more a testimony, a road map of sorts, of a full life. It may have been her smiling eyes. Then too, there was a tentativeness in her interactions that had me intrigued. For whatever reason, I payed attention.
Her friend happened to be walking by and saw her. She came near, put her arm around her and they began talking. I was intrigued by the mannerisms of this kind, old woman. As they exchanged greetings and got caught up, I heard the woman say that she had a cochlear implant. She motioned to her ear and then I saw it. A device that looked similar to a hearing aid in her ear with a corresponding piece on her head, not far above her ear. That explained the tentative nature of her communication. She was used to (and still somewhat needed to) look at someone to read their lips.
I was not prepared for what she said next.
“I heard a bird sing! I had never heard a bird sing!”
The delight on her face was undeniable. The moment itself was remarkable. Tears bypassed my mind and flooded straight from my heart to my eyes. They were there before I knew it and I hardly knew what to do with them.
I thought about how I have been complaining. Not outloud, just inside (as if that were any better!). Aspects of my life are just not as my heart or mind had planned. Yet hearing this one declaration, I was sure that I had not given thanks lately for my hearing or my eyesight, or a multitude of other not-so-small miracles that I take for granted daily.
I may never see this woman again, but if I do, I will thank her. I will thank her for demonstrating such heartfelt gratitude, for maintaining such a sweet spirit and for opening my eyes and ears. For now, I must just say, Lord, thank you so much for the gift of sight and hearing, smell and taste and touch. Thank you for bringing this woman into my booth; for the privilege of allowing her path to cross mine and for teaching me through her.
I awoke early this morning, fixed a cup of coffee and sat down in my favorite living room chair to read. And then it happened…
I heard a bird sing!
Never before had it sounded so beautiful!
Paying More Attention With You,