Take a metal can.
Fill it half full with gravel.
Put a lid on it.
Bring it up to your ear.
Shake, vigorously.

The noise will be incredible.
The noise will be all-consuming.
The noise will be a whole-body experience.
You will feel it from the top of your head to the soles of your feet.
You will hear it with your entire self,
and you will hear nothing else.

If you put the can down,
your ears will ring.
Your limbs will feel jangly.
Your insides will feel vibratey.
Though the experience of having a can of gravel
shaken vigorously next to your ear was absolutely unpleasant,
when it stops,
it will take a second for you to decide if you like the new normal.
It will feel like something is missing,
and you won’t feel right,
and you might actually look at the can again,
considering whether, since you had at least gotten used to it,
it might not be best just to carry on that way.
At least you knew what was what.
You couldn’t hear anything,
couldn’t contribute anything,
but of course you couldn’t –
there was a can of gravel being shaken in your ear.
Of course your abilities were hampered.
No one could possibly blame you.
Maybe it’s best to just continue on like that.

A thin wail comes from a baby living in a place not meant for humans.
A woman cries at a grave for a life lost to injustice.
All creation groans in one great act of giving birth,
and the footprints of God are everywhere . . .

but hey, your can of gravel is dinging.
Better pick it up.
It wants shaking.

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