To really be heard doesn't depend on your own volume.
Words can fall on deaf ears and never really be heard. Sometimes those deaf ears hear more than the ones that have the physical ability to hear.
Our souls long to be heard. We are creatures that need to connect, to be heard and mirrored back the very things we express. But the physical act of hearing has nothing to do with if those expressions are really heard.
I have a new friend named Jeannie. I work in a quilt shop and she shops there. My new friend is deaf. She wears a hearing aid, but I do not know how much she can really hear. She says that she reads lips and has taught me to speak normally to her and not try to enunciate my words. We have had delightful, supportive, caring conversations over the cutting counter. She has shared her life with me and I with her. She is special to me because she listens. Her responses are helpful because she hears with the invisible ear of empathy.
This year has been a painful one for me. I have a kiddo that has endured a lot of physical pain that I have barely been able to help relieve. When you are a mother, your child's pain becomes yours but is carried differently than their physical pain. A mother's pain is deep in the heart. Jeannie listened with the ear of empathy and it was a soothing balm to the ouch deep within. Her empathy came alongside me and invisibly held my hand and walked a few steps with me. This act of empathy made me feel less alone.
Right before Christmas, she shared her own pain of not wanting to go to a Christmas party at the retirement apartments she lives at. This was the first Christmas since her husband's passing and she wasn't up for it. She was happier being in the quilt shop. I was happy that she shared with me. It was good to be able to return the gift of empathy her way. Good friendships go both ways and are a dance of give and take.
You do not need to hear to listen. Reading a letter or email has no sound and no need of the ears, but it is a way that you can listen to a friend. Looking at the countenance on a friend's face can speak out loud what is on the inside. The length of an embrace can shout a need for love and support.
We are told from the Word of God to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.
Quick to listen. Every one of us needs to be heard, really heard. I encourage you to give others the precious gift of listening with the intent of caring for them right where they are at. That my friend is the invisible ear of empathy.