“Shhh…. The walls have ears, you know…” And turning he walked away, leaving Maria standing there with a puzzled expression on her face. “The walls have ears?” She was confused. She couldn’t see any ears on the wall behind her. These Americans and their crazy language! What did he mean?
She walked down the street, idly kicking a small stone in front of her as she went, lost in thought. As she wandered along, she became more and more frustrated. With a sudden swift kick, the stone went careening into a small brick wall nearby. “Oh, no! If walls have ears, can they feel, too,” she wondered? As she neared the wall, she noticed a small trickle of moisture running down the side of the wall. The wall was crying! (Or so it appeared to her five year old eyes. Unbeknownst to her, a sprinkler system had just turned on and water was trickling through a small crack in the wall.)
In a fit of remorse and sudden sympathy, she sat down beside the wall and began to talk to it, trying to console it so that its tears would stop. She told the wall about how hard it was for her to move to this new place called America, and how the people talked funny, how she didn’t have any new friends, and how lonely she was. On and on she talked, until she looked over and noticed that the wall wasn’t crying anymore.
Feeling better, she stood up and patted the wall. “I’m going home now, but I’ll come and talk to you again tomorrow.” And she skipped back the way she had come, pleased to know that she had comforted the wall and that it had listened to her every word.
Years passed, and one day a friend happened to stop by, interrupting a conversation Maria appeared to be having with her living room wall as she sat folding the laundry. Giving her an odd look, she asked Maria who she had been talking to. “Walls have ears, you know…” Maria replied with an amused smile, and then told her the story of the first time she’d heard the phrase. As she finished her story she shrugged, laughed, and said simply, “It became a habit that I couldn’t stop.” She paused, chuckled and continued, “Seriously, there are times when I talk to the walls just so I won’t have to be accused of talking to myself, but in most cases when it looks like I’m talking to the walls, I’m really talking to the One who hears all and understands all. I’m glad he listens and cares, aren’t you?”