24.  Hear
The house has been very quiet since I returned from the weekend in Atlanta.  All the clamor and excitement and applause needed to be followed by a little quiet.

There are still noises, though --- don't get me wrong.  There are clawed paws on the hard floors, and the snurfle of Rupert as he sniffs for just the right napping spot.  There are cars going by outside, and the wall clock is ticking, but it's about as quiet as it ever gets around here.

I don't know when the difference between "listening" and "hearing" became clear to me.  They are so vastly, deeply different to be used so interchangeably.  One of my mother's favorite taglines was, "Do you hear me?"  Of course, I did, but I now know she wanted me to listen to her.

One of my great, stomach-churning fears when I was little was loud noises.  Air raid drills were still being run when I was in elementary school, and that day used to fill me with such dread, I would beg not to have to go to school.  The siren went off at noon on the first Wednesday of each month, and I watched that clock with horror when that day came.  Once, I worked myself into such a state that I was sent to the nurse's office.  My teacher called my mother, who told her that it was my fear of the siren.  My teacher could not have been sweeter or more understanding or more comforting.  But I was so embarrassed, I can still feel the pain today.

Sometimes, all you do is hear, and it can send you in all sorts of directions that you may not even need to travel.  Listening, though, will almost always give you clear maps and better understanding.


  1. What a thoughtful post. Im sorry you had such anxiety in school. How terrifying!! I was terrified of stuff too as a child. I think I was born anxious....


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