Lis­ten­ing not speak­ing all the time..!

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION -

SOME time back I’d lost my voice. “Come back voice!” I shouted silently to my voice, but only a hoarse gut­tural sound came out of my tired throat. “Laryn­gi­tis,” said my doc­tor wife with pro­fes­sional tone. “What do I do?” I asked. “Noth­ing,” she said with glint in eye, “Just keep quiet!”

“Salt water gar­gle,” laughed my daugh­ter vin­dic­tively. I tried. Salt water trick­led down to stom­ach be­low and t’was the dread­ful sea sick­ness all of a sud­den, with tummy adding to my voice box woes. “Honey,” said a cho­ral singer. “Honey?” asked the wife. “Yeah,” I said slurp­ing the sticky stuff. “No honey,” said the wife, “Not good for you.” “Good for my throat,” I shrieked shrilly. “No honey!”

A friendly med­i­cal book gave me a week to re­cover. “A week!” I shrieked to hard­cover book and looked at di­a­gram of lar­ynx sketched so neatly in de­scrip­tive page. The vo­cal chords in book looked an­gry red, I won­dered whether mine were deep pur­ple. ‘ Ex­po­sure to cer­tain harsh chem­i­cals or tox­ins can cause vo­cal chords to swell,’ said the book. I grabbed news­pa­per. ‘ Gar­lic is a good rem­edy for tox­ins,’ it said. I rubbed gar­lic on throat, in­side mouth and nearly onto vo­cal chords.

“Strange smell,” said the wife that night. “Dead rat,” said the maid next day. “Gar­lic,” I mum­bled sheep­ishly. “Yuck,” said the wife. “Yuck!” said the maid. I looked up. “Give me back my voice,” I prayed. “Lis­ten,” said the Lord. “Yes I’m lis­ten­ing,” I said, “To what?” “Just lis­ten,” said the Lord. “Lis­ten. Lis­ten. Lis­ten!”

I did. “No voice,” I croaked as quiet neigh­bour got in step with me for my morn­ing walk. “No prob­lem,” said the neigh­bour. “My fa­ther passed away, last week and I can’t get over the grief.” I lis­tened. He poured his heart out to me.

“Thanks,” he said, “I feel bet­ter.” “But I didn’t say any­thing!” I thought. “You lis­tened!” said a quiet voice above. That evening at the lo­cal choir per­for­mance, I stood dumb. The man at my side, who I al­ways out­shouted with my loud voice could be heard to­day, be­cause mine was silent. I lis­tened, I heard him sing out. It sounded old, pa­pery thin. But some­where in the au­di­ence I saw a woman smile. She waved, she was his wife, she had heard her hus­band’s voice, at last, be­cause mine was silent! At my side I felt his smile. Now, he stood straight, his tired voice now sang out loud and firm.

I felt a God above smile. “Lis­ten,” said the Lord. “I am Lord,” I whis­pered, “I am!” That night as I knelt in prayer I heard His silent voice say­ing, “You know Bob, there’s so much I have to say to you each day.” “Why don’t you Lord?” I asked. “Be­cause there’s al­ways so much you have to say!” I was glad I had lost my voice, be­cause I lis­tened, speech­less..! — Email: bob­s­ban­ter@ gmail. com

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