When my son was three he lost his hearing, when he was four he received a cochlear implant. The implant is truly remarkable technology. With artificial processing in one ear, I do wonder how much he misses out on, then I think don’t we all?
Too often I realise I listen with my perception and can mis-read intent. Another person’s behaviour and how they speak is a reflection of them. I see this particularly in my son who often misinterprets comments to be negative then will proceed to become exceedingly upset. It’s interesting how big the story is that we can create about an event or an individual because we listen with all we are.
If I read a story or listen to it told, I can apply it to myself and more broadly. If you tell me an anecdote about another person, I will not apply it to myself. I am not a subtle person. I do not practise paranoia. If I am told an anecdote I will listen to it that way, an anecdote about another person. People who attempt to send me messages this way are doomed to failure. If I am listening to you, I am listening to you. I consciously practise being present in my listening.
Every conversation we have, triggers thoughts, memories and responses. When we talk we can be reminded of other events. Our internal censors keep us on track. Quite often the thread of the story can be lost when the passing thought, triggered by the conversation, is more interesting. Those ‘senior moments’ are a sign of a life lived to the full with hundreds of memories and thoughts triggered by every conversation. it’s amazing we can conduct any conversations to conclusions.
We all know people who indulge in stream of consciousness talking. That is not conversation. I have a friend who is extra-ordinary. Mid flow a memory will be triggered and she will de-tour through that tale, returning to the original story at exactly the point she left it. She has a truly marvelous brain.
Brains, listening, perceptions, seeing, believing. It’s time for another Jumbly tale.
Let me tell you a story
Once upon a time, a long long time ago, there lived a boy in a village with his mother. He was a lovely boy. He was happy in himself and concerned for others. He was happy to go to the market for his mum and pick up extras for Mrs. Lillapine, the Jumbly Man’s friend. Most of all, he was best friends with the Jumbly Man.
The boy’s dad had left long ago and his mum just got on with whatever needed getting on with. With a whole village to pitch in and Elders to watch over them, the boy never felt the loss of a father.
He and the Jumbly Man, since he was a tiny boy, would bumble off whenever Jumbly arrived at his house, fishing rod in hand. His mother would smile and greet Jumbly, hand over the picnic basket and off they would go. Fishing was what they did. As a little boy, he had talked and talked and laughed with the Jumbly Man, never questioning how he knew what he was asked or what was replied.
The boy got older and began to look about him. The village was still the same and this was reassuring. He was curious though. Curious about many things. Curious about Jumbly things. One cold Saturday afternoon, after a successful morning’s fishing, and the boy and his mother were cosily ensconced in the warm kitchen, he thought to ask.
“Mum, how old is the Jumbly Man?” he asked. Mum stopped moving and looked up surprised, “Well, not old, he went to school with me.” Surprised in turn, the boy’s mouth fell open. His mother interpreted correctly and smiling scolded,” Now, now, I’m nowhere near old enough to be an Elder!” The boy grinned at her. That was what he had been thinking. Still, that made him think of another question.
“Mum, when the Jumbly Man was a boy, could you understand him?” His Mum stopped again and turned to look at her son. “Well, yes, he talked just like the rest of us.”
The boy was astonished. He always knew what the Jumbly Man wanted or it became clear by his actions. Everyone in the village was the same. It was just that it had only just occurred to him that the Jumbly Man could not have always been this age but he was very surprised to think of him as a boy. A boy who did not have his words back to front or his sentences inside out.
“Mum? Did something happen to the Jumbly Man, Mum? Did something happen to make his words all jumbly?”
“Well, yes Son, but it isn’t my story to tell. You will have to ask the Jumbly Man.”
The boy was stunned by this suggestion and for the first time wondered how he could understand the Jumbly Man and how he could get his story. It seemed very important. He got off his chair and turned to go when another question presented itself.
“Mum, did the Jumbly Man have another name when he was a boy?”
“No darling, his family were the Jumbles, tinkers in times passed. His name is Adam Jumbles, Jumbly for short. It is you children who call him the Jumbly Man.” Mum smiled at him and bent to the oven.
Well! Never had there been so many astonishing revelations in one afternoon. It wasn’t how he thought the Jumbly Man was at all. The boy looked outside and stood watching the clouds blow passed his bedroom window as he pondered. He stood there for a long time, thinking. He had imagined that he could teach the Jumbly Man to speak. Now he wanted to know his story and was willing to listen to however it came out.
Just then a ray of sun cut through the scattering clouds as the Jumbly Man himself emerged proud in bright red gumboots. He saw the boy through the window and waved then da dah-ed his new red boots. The boy laughed and understood the invitation, ran for his jacket and his own boots.
and that is the end of the story.
(C) CL H Harper 23rd August 2013