Hearing the Unheard


“Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter” –John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”

(Jesus testifies about John) John 11:14-15: “If you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come. If you have ears to hear, then hear what I am saying.”

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard anything that you didn’t hear. In you think that’s confusing you’re not alone. I wrote it and I didn’t know what it means. It sounds like a Yogism, you know, an often self-contradictory statement that Yogi Berra, the Hall of Fame Catcher, might have said. He himself remarked, “I really didn’t say everything I said.” Huh? Exactly.

I was thinking about hearing the unheard one day this past week as I was listening to one of my Pandora music stations. If you haven’t heard of Pandora, it’s a “music service” in which listeners put in the names of singers or types of music and the service creates a playlist of that singer and others like him or her or one of, say, bluegrass or gospel. The user can give a song a thumbs up or thumbs down, which keeps me from having to listen to heavy duty rap in my case. This “voting” procedure also builds a station with songs the user likes. I have 71 stations, ranging from Mozart to the Bare Naked Ladies to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Coldplay is also on my list although I don’t know who they are or what they sound like or how they got there. I certainly don’t want to listen to them in any case. Adventurous I ain’t.

Anyhow, my stations are heavily loaded with far out music from the ‘60’s, when I was a lad in college whose biggest worry was whether I’d finish a five-page paper at 3 AM for a class at 8. I don’t know why I ever scheduled a class so early. My natural wakeup time then was somewhere south of noon.

So, I was listening to my Groovy Folk Hits of the Sixties Pandora Station, and John Denver came on singing “Calypso.” It’s one of my favorite Denver songs, and I don’t know whether my computer has better speakers than its predecessors or Pandora played a live version of the song or if the planets were aligned correctly, but I heard three guitars adding all kinds of riffs I’d never heard before. Maybe this version was the one I had listened to for decades, and for some reason I never heard these instrumental bits. They had been there all along, but they were non-existent as far as I was concerned.

The spiritual part of this is, I think, that God is always there, speaking to us, guiding us and leading us. We can’t hear this a great deal of the time, but if we are quiet we can hear that still small voice. It’s there all the time. All we have to do is listen to it. Then we can hear what has been unheard.


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