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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hear (07/08/10)

TITLE: What Do You Hear?
By Michael Joshua


My grandson told me that the other boys in his kindergarten class make fun of him because he likes the color pink.

“What do they say?” I asked.

“They call me girl-y,” he replied.

“How does that make you feel?”

“It feels like a piece of my heart is broken off.”

How profound, from a six year old.

How often are the words we say heard in a different way than we intend?


I said, “I love you.”

I meant, “I love you.”

You heard, “I want something.”


I said, “In my heart, I believe that you think you are better than I am because you are college-educated and have been successful.”

I meant, “You make me feel less worthy than you because you have experienced advantages that I have not.”

You heard, “I’m jealous of what you have.”


You said, “I am very protective of her.”

You meant, “I am only trying to keep her from being hurt.”

I heard, “You are a taker and a user.”


I said, “I am not intending to hurt your feelings, but can you see this from my perspective?”

I meant, “Sometimes there is another point of view that is valid, even if we disagree.”

You heard, “I’m not listening to you, tell me again, louder, because I don’t understand what you mean.”


I said, “My relationship with God is solid.”

I meant, “By God’s grace I am saved.”

You heard, “I don’t need your prayers or advice.”


I said, “Money is tight this month, we’re really struggling, pray for my situation.”

I meant, “Please pray with me that God will show me how to count my blessings and rely upon him.”

You heard, “I don’t need your prayers, I need your money.”


You said, “You are a good cook and would do well working for a service organization.”

You meant, “You are a good cook, you could use that talent outside of home.”

I heard, “I don’t know why you sit around all day instead of get a job.”


He said, “I am who I am because I am wonderfully made.”

He meant, “I am the person God intends me to be. I long for unconditional acceptance just like you do.”

You heard, “Deal with it, like it or not.”


He said, “It was a funny story, not to hurt your feelings.”

He meant, “I’m just trying to win the competition.”

She heard, “I enjoy making you look bad.”


She said, “I’ve never asked for anything.”

She meant, “I am blessed by God and have made good choices.”

He heard, “Look at me! Look at me! Follow my example.”


She said, “I have no need to apologize. It was not my fault.”

She meant, “I don’t want to apologize, but I know I was wrong.”

He heard, “It’s more important that you believe I was right than to think I stumbled.”


We each bring baggage into our relationships. We color what we hear by what we see, or by what we have seen in the past. Whatever you are saying to me now is complicated by what you said last week, last month or even five years ago.

We are all different, we each have weaknesses and strengths; we talk too much but say too little. We listen but do not hear. I need to practice hearing more and saying less.


Our recent separation has taken with it a piece of my heart.

I may never get it back.

I say, “This makes me very sad.”

I mean, “This makes me very sad.”

What do you hear?

I hear the sound of several hearts breaking.

What do you hear?

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This article has been read 373 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lollie Hofer07/15/10
Whoa! I love the uniqueness of this piece. You have written a powerful truth here. One that needs to be heeded. Just this week I was offended by some words I heard. What the person said and what they meant were two completely different things and we were able to sort it all out. Thanks for sharing.
Carol Penhorwood 07/15/10
Very creatively written. We do bring a lot of baggage into our relationships that have some unintended effects.
Rebecca O'Connor07/15/10
I said, "Wow is this creatively written!"
I meant, "Gee, I wish I had thought of this first."
You heard, "Bravo", I hope.

Good job!
Sarah Heywood07/16/10
This made me think - which is a mark of good writing. Thank you for this!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/18/10
This makes me very sad. Wow this is a strong piece that I'm sure everyone can relate to one way or another. My husband and I have very similar exchanges. Thankfully we are slowly learning to ask , 'What did you say?" if we didn't quite get it or it didn't feel right.