What Do You Hear?

This writing compilation in many ways builds off of the previous conversations pieced together in the questions— 

What do you see? 

What does the world need more?

What does the world need less of? 

And, just like the last two compilations, the conversations created are something special. There is always something powerful about reading other people’s words. Especially when different voices are lifted and we are reading to really listen to whoever’s voice it is that is speaking. 

So, as you read the words and writing pieces centered around hearing, I encourage you to hear as you read. Our stories and our thoughts connect us and also remind us of how we are each so intricately unique. 

Enjoy reading my friends! And know that is is never too late to write yourself. 

One must have cotton balls stuffed deep in their ears to not hear the moaning and groaning of the world. I admit that there are days I walk to the store and buy a bag myself, to silence it all. It’s never enough, only muffles the sound of suffering. It also mutes the songs of praise and the melodies of victory. I am torn. I pull them out and listen. There are birds, and children, and sirens, and screams. There is laughter and there is crying. There is a great hello and a desperate goodbye. There is the voice of my best friend beside me and the echo of my Grandfather’s stories long gone. For every sharp cry of pain, there is the rejoicing in healing. For every whisper in the dark, there is a triumphant shout in the light of day.


I hear a thousand different notes, blending and clashing. I hear the rhythm of life. It is a great song.

Becky Matthews

I would explain the craft of my life as the evasion of nothing

Striving to fill those silent spaces with colors and shouts

People always say-

“oh that’s music to my ears”

but truly truly any something at all is music to my ears.

The sound of a door opening- someone is home

The screams from the living room

The laughter



blaring music

car engine


even if they’re just my own.

Going next door or to the next next.

Anything is better than the suffocating nothing.

“hailey you should learn to like being alone. I think you’d like your own company.”

But how can I do that when I’m so addicted to the company of everything and anyone else?

How ironic is it then that this skill of filling the quiet is

in itself

physically deafening me?

So I guess then, I’ll learn to just be with the nothing

One way or the other.   


Hailey Lombardi 

What do you hear:
1.  the speeds of speaking truth
I hear people’s voices as they talk
speak about Life at different speeds
they slow down
rapid breaking
when it starts to be real
I can feel their brain choosing
words so carefully
then shifting gears, asking the heart
“does this feel true?”
and speaking slower
as vulnerability lurks around the corner
then, there it comes
speed picks up again
almost like a car crashing
in a read-end collision,
the surface level carries
the conversation forward
fast at first
but it always slows down
once again, at a stop,
you have to face the real, true words
spoken by accident
2. safety
“Really, is that place safe?”
I don’t know, I think so,
I remember today I saw a young girl
hug her father tight around his belly
as best her tiny arms could reach
and his smile of pride puckered
and gently, so gently kissed
the top of her black-haired head.
“Will you be safe over there?”
I hope so, all I really know is
a story I once heard
of an old lady inviting
a bunch of raspy, rugged travelers
for cups of tea, and then more tea.
she respected in return,
“I’m nervous for you going there… will you be okay?”
I guess so.
I saw a grandma in the airport
sitting, legs tired and heavy
as her grandkids
giggly and energy-filled played tag
with her, (somehow she never once
Left her chair, but they all
couldn’t keep from laughing!)
“Katie, I’m nervous for you. Will you be safe there?”
there was this woman, Aysa
Who taught me how to say “coffee” and “tea”
she smiled so big and laughed easily
at my attempts to say “hello” and “thank you”
she encouraged me, saying how deeply
I’d enjoy my visit here.
she sneaked me extra cups of coffee
and extra smiles.
her spirit was warm
And I was welcomed, and safe.
so, yes
Yes, I know I’ll be safe here.
Katie Lynch 

Who are the ones we don’t hear?
As we drive along with the windows down, passing people.
People on the streets, on the red road.
Who are the ones we don’t hear?
So nestled in the village
Away from publicity, they go unvisited.
No reach for fame or acknowledgment
No attempt to be a world changer, rather a neighbor, a mother, a brother.
Contentment surrounds them.
They live in exchange for the day.  
Satisfied with the simple and the true. 
The simple breath. The simple home. 
Are they less? 
Less of a dreamer, less of difference maker? 
Are they less?
Their life is undocumented. It does not reach the masses. But oh how it reaches the master. 

Who are they?

The ones I’ll never know because I don’t reach that far and neither do they.


I heard her knees drop

But she didn’t make a sound
I heard the force, the heavy crash of going low
I saw the bruises on her knees
But she didn’t make a sound
I saw the contorting of her face – the mark
of pain, of ache
She tried to hide it
So they wouldn’t make a sound


Rachel Deese

As I considered this question, I wanted to answer poetically… but my head kept going back to a week from last summer at Frontier Ranch when a group of non-hearing high school kids came to camp.

I got to witness first hand this deaf group get off the bus to experience an adventure the Lord had for them for a week in rockies. Though their ears could not hear, by the end of the week they would taste and see and smell and touch the good news of the gospel, and that would be enough.
The week caused me to consider hearing a lot. To pay attention to the details of all that I hear on a daily basis. Music, birds, laughter, crying, screams, my own footsteps, cars, doors opening and closing, the voices of the people around, the list goes on and on and on. I can hear everything. But these kids.. they could hear nothing? So I thought.
Many of these kids came into camp depressed, carrying a burden of feeling left out from the way of life other high school kids experienced. I watched them come to life and they got to simultaneously blend into the crowd for a week and not be “the deaf kid” but just a kid, while at the same time see that Jesus knew their name and their story and cared more deeply for them than they could ever imagine someone could. Life would never be the same!
So what do I hear? I hear the footsteps of those kids making their way up a 13,000ft mountain to stand on the top and know their worth it. I hear the cheers from heaven and every person who was at Frontier Ranch shout for joy as their deaf friends said YES to Jesus and His love. I hear the glad weeping of their leaders who had signed every minute of camp so that those kids could experience the gospel.
And what did they hear that week? The world would say “nothing”, those who were there would say “everything”.
Gracyn Lastinger

i don’t know how to hear
and remain here
all these voices in my head
reroute me to where
i should be &
where i’ve been.
i think my ears need to go on a diet
cause everything i’ve been hearing lately
has been weighing me down
my mother said it’s gone to my face
my cheekbones drag me into a furrowed brow

it comes in waves
the push and pull of fad diets and
the conductor that causes me to moon about
drifting back and forth with the sound of the music and the
voices that clap when i dance
this way or that

the tide jumps forward just to
kiss my feet
it’s so enchanting
i follow the attention
closer to sea
to hear
the voices crashing over me

i start to sink
they don’t want to carry me
they want to clean me of
these wounds i’ve been harboring

but it stings.
the waves wash away my
tears as i weep for the beautiful parts of me
that are now lost at sea

i shouldn’t have let the voices
tell me who to be
my brokenness is a part of me
healing may sound like a hit but
i’ll stick with indie
i dont want to be a polished version of
who I’m expected to be

i know I’m repeating
i’ve got this stuck in my head
the sound of my own voice finally

a new song

a coming of age melody but
it’s really just old school cause
i should of learned this a long time ago.
i just always heard
that one day, i’d make it.
i’d be rewarded.

i’d figure all out after i
graduated from reciting everything i was supposed to and
crammed in all of the ideas people had about me, who i should be

i passed but
where was victory with a bouquet at my doorstep
telling me that i was everything

anyways i
deleted false hope and feel good songs
off my playlist
i don’t listen to that !!! anymore

i don’t sing to be sung anymore i just
and that’s enough for now

i listen to my voice and it honestly sucks lol
but maybe if i keep laughing
then i’ll actually be happy with it one day
when i say it all out loud i know i sound crazy
so maybe i’ll think it instead
just so i can hear
like an inside joke

you wouldn’t get it.

Leita Williams 

Part 1:

“If only they were normal.”

They are normal. They are their normal.


“But wait, then what is normal?”

If you think about it, we all are and we all aren’t.


“Why can’t they show respect?”

What is your definition of respect?

What is theirs? Have you asked? Or given them your version of respect?

When we give vs. demand to be given to, often times we will find the intersection between the different definitions. 


“Why do they do that?”

“Why do the act that way?”

‘Why do they believe that?”

Ask them.

But, first, know your intentions in asking.

Are you asking to hear with selective hearing? Or are you asking, opening yourself up, to simply listening to learn to see the other vantage points? 


Hear the story not from your own, but from their own.


But wait, there is still the question of—

what even is normal?

And who is they?


They is any and all.

Those misunderstood.

We all can be they and those. 

We all can be normal or not normal at all.


Part 2:


I hear misunderstandings.

Where one is seen, yet unseen.

Where one is heard, yet not in the ways they deeply desire for someone to hear them.

Where one is seemingly known without someone actually seeking to know them.


The loud and outgoing can, indeed, withhold a quiet and gentle beauty.

The quiet and the meek can, indeed, withhold great energy, silly screams, and a loud presence.  

The strong and the brave can, indeed, withhold a tender weakness that needs to be seen and tended to.

The fragile and afraid can, indeed, withhold a mighty courage in their authentic vulnerability.

The list of it all goes on.


When we share ourselves, there is always risk.

A risk in sharing our words, our thoughts, our beliefs, our presence.  

A risk in how someone may miss it.

Miss the intentions

The meaning of the words.

The stories behind the words.

The reasons behind the beliefs.  

Or, someone may just overall miss seeing who is speaking. 

Miss you.

The you that you know.

The you that you long for others to see— in all your depth

and wholeness

and beauty.


Take the risk my darling.

We need the you that you know.

We need the words that only you can speak.

We need the stories that only you have lived.

We need you. You give meaning to this “being human” thing we are all trying to navigate. 

Bailey Frederking

I’m listening.

What do I hear?

Silence. A friend I used to know..

She’s whispering quietly to me

But I pretend like I don’t notice that she’s there

She speaks

But it’s too quiet for me to really understand

I’m listening.

What do I hear?

Stillness. A friend I am hesitant to spend much time with

Often she speaks

And often I drown out what she has to say

Stillness, I can see your lips moving

But I can’t hear the words coming from your mouth.

I’m listening.

What do I hear?


Not you again, old friend

One who calls me deeper and deeper still –

And yet, I still don’t quite understand

Her words send shutters down my spine

So when she calls, I decline

And so I run.

And so they go.

I’m listening.

What do I hear?


One who comforts me when I least need it

And always knows just what to say to make me “feel” okay

She is loud

She scares me

Yet, I always find my way back to her

I’m listening.

What do I hear?


One who is confusing

Her voice drowns out any other voice

And her words are intoxicating

I can’t escape her grip

I’m listening.

What do I hear?

Nothing. I hear nothing.

Frantically I search.

Nothing. I hear nothing.

Silence? Where is your whisper?

Stillness? Where are your words?

Solitude? Where is your call?

I look around and I am surrounded

But all I hear are foreign voices. Loud voices.

Motion’s friendship is fleeting

And Chaos entangles me with her words of uncertainty

Silence has disappeared.

Stillness has disappeared.

Solitude, she too has disappeared.

This isn’t what I wanted.

I thought it was.

Chaos and Motion had fooled me into believing

That they would comfort me when I needed it most

I am alone.

And suddenly, that’s when I hear it

The beautiful song of silence that rings through the air

The resounding sound of freedom that echoes from the lips of Stillness

The comforting embrace of Solitude’s voice

They had been waiting for me

Despite the fact I had been running from them

They had been waiting for me to be alone

To stop running

To start listening. Really listening.

It wasn’t until I found myself alone that I heard them clearly

And their voices are beautiful

More beautiful than they seem in the chaos of things




Thank you for welcoming me with open arms

Now I see

How much your friendship means to me.

Hailey Hawkins

Thank you for reading. If someone’s words hit home to you, tell them. It is a vulnerable thing to share your words and it means so much when you know someone hears them. 

Leave a Reply