You might never know it if I didn’t tell you, but I’ve lost some of my hearing.
I’m not going deaf; more accurately, I have some variety of tinnitus that’s stuck around since January, when I caught a horrific cold that I couldn’t afford to get treated. Tinnitus, if you don’t know, is noise or ringing in the ears. For me, the noise is something like what you hear when you hold a big conch shell up to your ear, but it pulses in time with my heartbeat. I can hear my heart pushing blood through my veins, and it is loud.
I can still hear a great deal over the racket. In fact, most people have no idea that I don’t always catch every word they say. It is definitely a struggle, however, especially in a quiet room where the roaring in my ear easily overwhelms inside voices.
Lately, I feel like my tinnitus is just as spiritual as it is physical. Since the year started, I’ve taken on a full-time job at one university and a part-time job at another, and I’ve said goodbye to too many loved ones. I am perpetually grieving the family and friends I’ve lost in recent months, and, at the same time, I am reveling in the excitement of a new job I genuinely enjoy. I’ve also been traveling for a handful of joyous occasions, like my best friend’s graduation from law school and my great aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary.
Suffice to say, there’s a lot going on, and, in the midst of it all, I’ve neglected my relationship with God. I miss him. Last fall, I was feeling really close to him, so close that, at the Christmount College Retreat, for the first time in my life, I heard God. I couldn’t tell you how I know, or why I believe it, but I do, and I returned home to Florida feeling renewed in a way I’d never known before.
Then 2015 started, and the funerals began, and I was hurting and heartsick and angry. I didn’t feel like talking to anybody, much less God. Months went by — I kept myself as busy as possible to avoid dealing with all of the grief — and here I am, a little less hurt and a lot further from God than when the year started.
So I’m going to Christmount. I don’t know what it is about that place, but I feel closer to God there than almost anywhere else. All I have to do is set foot back onto the grounds, and I feel lighter, calmer, more whole. I can’t wait.
– Amanda Billy