What a Pair of Rain Boots Taught Me

I sorted clothing in piles.  Towels, swimsuits, T-shirts, shorts, a pair of jeans all sat on the floor.  He read the list back to me and we double-checked it.  Check, check and double-check!  Everything accounted for but the boots.  I washed the mud off them and wiped them dry and set them in the sun.

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Packing for camp calls for organization!  My oldest child was headed off to overnight camp for the first time ever and I wanted to make sure that he had all the essentials.  However my tendency to under-pack hit high gear as the piles grew on our floor.  Uneasiness gripped me.  I hate overpacking. Boots?  Really?  The likelihood of him actually putting them on was nil unless he was forced.  It’s been as dry as a bone outside too.

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What to do, what to do?  Adding extra weight to the bag exasperated me.  He didn’t need the rain boots.  I asked my son.  He didn’t want the boots.  I stated my argument to my husband.  He showed me where the boots could fit quite nicely in the bag.  It was under-packer vs. over-packer (Mark).  I made some arguments in favour of leaving the boots.  My husband relented.  “Don’t send the boots then.”  Agreement!  The boots stayed home.

As we walked the grounds after arriving at camp, I noticed mud.  The fields were a bit spongy.  It dawned on me that boots would have been a good idea.  I apologized to my son.  He was okay with it.  He’d rather get muddy and wear crocs.  I cringed inwardly.  My son was a mud magnet.  Water too.  He was a real life version of the book, Mud Puddle by Robert Munsch.  It seemed to jump on him.  His brother would be clean but my oldest would be sopping and filthy.  I told myself as long as it didn’t rain it might be okay.

I’ve been glued to the forecast this week. They didn’t get the rain we did on Tuesday but it rained.  I worried about him having wet feet.  What if he got trench foot?  Okay way over the top.  I beat myself up over and over.  Why didn’t I just send the boots?  I wished I could relive that moment of packing over.  I’d do it differently.  I pointed my accusing finger at my husband.  “Why didn’t you make me send the boots if you thought he should take them?”

“I did tell you to send the boots, over and over again.”  I looked at him.  I didn’t remember him saying to send the boots.  Only that he showed me where they fit in the duffle bag and then him telling me to keep them behind because I’d gone on about it repeatedly.  I stopped.  My brain had no recollection of Mark telling me to send the boots.  I’d only heard what I’d wanted to hear.  Don’t send them.

How selective is our hearing?  Do we make decisions and then tune everything and everyone else out?  We hear the words we want to hear.  That support our arguments and agendas.  Do I hear selectively with God as well?  Am I missing huge parts of our conversation because I’ve tuned Him out?  I’ve heard what I want to hear, justified my reasoning?  What adventures, journeys are we missing out on due to our selective hearing?  I wasn’t even aware of my hearing problem.  Let me rephrase that.  I am aware I can be bullheaded but it shocked me how bad it really is.  How I totally missed a whole part of a conversation!  How one-sided it was!

Does God get tired of being told to shut up (in a nice way)?  Does His silence sometimes come as a result because we aren’t listening to begin with? We’ve tuned Him out?  Do we make poor choices as a result?

I need to go back and examine how I communicate with God.  And people.  This is going to take some work.  I need an hearing aid.

A consequence of my selective hearing was I made a poor choice and my son is the one who is most affected.  He’ll be the one with wet and muddy feet.  Our hearing problems don’t just affect us but often those we love as well.  I don’t think I’ll look at those boots the same ever again.

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