Sounds I will never forget


The human hearing process is quite interesting. Hearing occurs as sound enters the outer ear canal and causes vibrations of the tympanic membrane. It requires the synchronized functions of the outer, middle and inner ear. I am not an Otolaryngologist nor do I play one on television so in no way is this blog a scientific or medical treatise on the anatomy and physiology of the human ear. Quite to the contrary it is an emotional and social response to a perfunctory process that occurs so many times in a day none of us can count it.

One of the things I love about being a preacher is the sound of the response to preaching. I love hearing the myriad of responses that inevitably echo through the room “Preach Pastor”, “I know that’s right”, “You’re preaching well, Sir”, “Go ahead, G”.  Those are sounds I will never forget.

Then there are times when conviction, introspection and self-evaluation produce no sound. Those moments when fear, doubt, confusion and shock grip us like a choke hold around the neck. I know this sound well it is called, silence. That is a sound I will never forget.

Then there is the sound of infectious, contagious laughter where the stomach begins to ache and the eyes begin to water. That sound when all the problems of this world are momentarily and certainly temporarily muted from our minds. The sound of joy, happiness, laughter. That’s a sound I will never forget.

“I love you.” That sound originating from the mouth of those we most care for, need and desire to share our lives. When life begins to smack us and circumstances refuse to release us this sound convinces us that we can bear it, believe for the best while going through it, and certainly endure it. That’s a sound I will never forget.

This past week I heard two more sounds that I will never forget. As I sat in my church office I heard the sound of multiple gunshots ringing out so close it was as if it were directly over my head. This was not a single shot of an innocent person protecting their home and their rights. Nor was this the shot from a police officer Glock or 9mm as they carried out their pivotal function in our society. This was the sound of hatred; the sound of criminality; the sound of disrespect for life; the sound of poor public policy; the sound of poverty; the sound of the power of wealthy lobbying; the sound of neglect; the sound of ignorance; the sound of miseducation; the sound of personal agenda; the sound of exploitation; the sound of materialism, the sound of violence; the sound of idolatry. Pop, pop pop, pop pop pop, pop. Just as I assumed the sound had ended, there was another. That’s a sound I will never forget.

Bullets don’t have names inscribed on them and although I never heard the sound of the bullet whistling through the air it would eventually have its trajectory slowed and its path altered as it found a detour in the bone, flesh and cranial matter of a 12 year old boy. This is a sound I will never forget. The sound of innocence meeting violence; the sound of exercise engaging evil; the sound of grace languishing to disgrace; the sound of the self fulfillment of rap music lyrics, “I came, I saw, I conquered, I shot you down. Your brain have no conscious, what you do now?” the sound of childhood colliding with corruption; the sound of forgetting how to talk; the sound of gasping for a breath; the sound of clinging to life; the sound of desperation; the sound of helplessness; the sound of confusion; the sound of chaos. These are sounds I will never forget.

What sound do you really hear when you hear gunshots? A new sound is needed. A sound that is greater; a sound that is longer lasting; a sound more prominent; a sound louder than the loudest and softer than the softest. The time has come for us to release a new sound in our communities. A sound that will ring glorious in the ears of our God and is proven to be for the common good. A sound of prayer, unity, forgiveness, justice and cooperation.

May we be reminded today that the sounds of our lives differ from moment to moment. May we be mindful of the sounds we can control – those we speak and those we chose to hear because some sounds will be those you never forget.

What sounds currently occupy and saturate your life and what sound are you forcing other people to live with? I welcome your feedback and responses.

8 thoughts on “Sounds I will never forget”

  1. Pastor Gailliard this is powerful. It brings so many thoughts to mind.I am reminded of the many lectures I give everyday in my class to kids about confidence, life, a future, ambition. The sound of silence gives me hope that someone is listening..someone is being reached. But I am also reminded of the sounds of will barrels while I’m in people work their way through poverty..collected what we would label as trash and garbage. The sound of young boys kicking soccer balls..though they may not have food, but the sound of hope through the game of soccer. Thanks for reminding me of the sounds, even the silent ones in my life that define and shape my relationship with self and with Christ. God Bless You!

  2. Pastor G.. As always you are very deep! Your choice of words always make a person feel and.see a visual to that which you speak from your heart.. May God continue to bless you!

  3. It is a humbling experience when a child trusts you to hear the sounds of their pain. These are sounds that I will never forget. As a school counselor, many children have shared their hurt, frustrations, and tears. To give a child, boys in particular, the opportunity to express feelings or to cry may mean a little less violence and more understanding. One of my favorite quotes from William Pollack author of the book “Real Boys”, says “If we don’t let our boys cry tears, they’ll cry bullets”. Pastor G, our babies are crying bullets. I pray that we, as a collective community, become more sensitive to the sound of our children’s pain. My heart and prayers go out to all who experienced the senseless tragedy on Monday evening.

  4. Wonderful blog! We spend so much time listening to sounds that at times we ignore them. Often parents don’t even recognize when their child has stopped talking. They miss when there has been a subtle change in their behavior. Sometimes our children are crying and we don’t hear anything. There’s a deafening silence. That silence is powerful and one that we have to hear. Listen, our children are counting on us!

  5. Beautifully said Pastor. As a parent myself, I have witnessed some of my friends and associates let so many other sounds cloud them that they no longer are in tuned to the sounds of their own child(ren). They don’t even realize when they have become disconnected from them and no longer can reach them. They don’t realize that children require and need someone to hear their fears and speak to it; someone to hear their pain and speak to it; someone to hear their cries and speak to it; someone to hear their desires and speak to them; someone to hear their need for structure and speak to it; someone to hear their accomplishments and speak praise to it. I pray that parents in this region will realize the importance of MAKING the time to listen to what is going on in and around our children so that we can be more sensitive to their needs in order to guide them to more positive actions.

  6. Pastor, how your Sheppard’s heart must ache for this child and the many that are like him. Young people full of life and potential, going nowhere. Your life will almost certainly never be the same after witnessing first hand this senseless violence, forever etched in your heart and mind. Truly we do need to hear a new sound, the “sound of prayer, unity, forgiveness, justice and cooperation” that will bring about the blessings of God upon our communities! I will stand in agreement with you on this issue.

  7. These are the sounds of inspiring words timely and well spoken my brother. My prayer is that they not fall on deaf ears and not provoke us to righteousness for Christ sake. Now is not the time that we only hear the sounds of the second coming of the Lord but we not return back to the bed of complacency. May the sound of hope resonating from God’s word cause us to become the force that challenge the world in which we live in order that others may be saved. Keep the light on.

  8. I don’t have any wise sayings or words of wisdom. But I can attest to the sound of gunshots ringing in my hood. One night as I sat in my living room watching TV, I heard shots ring out so close that I rolled over onto floor, heart beating fast, afraid, my mind racing. I heard something hit the side of my house. I lay on the floor scared to breathe. It took a few minutes for me get myself together to get the phone and dial 911. The next morning, when I went outside to look around my house there was the imprint of a bullet in the window sill outside the room where I sat. Had it been three to four inches higher it would have come inside my house. Whenever I hear shots fired, my mind goes back to that moment. I’m scared. What do we do? Where do we start?

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