"Psychologically, "sheep" also refers to a primitive aspect of one's own personality, the instinctual ability to try to discern and recognize the "true voice" and distinguish it from false ones. (John Petty, in Progressive Involvement, May 9, 2011).
I remember years ago sitting in McDonalds while my youngest climbed around in those bacteria infested tubes. I know that his now fine health was partially developed then and there. The exercise his immune system received has served him well. I'd let him crawl, jump, slide and make instant friends. Occasionally he'd run over to get a drink, or to snag some fries. Usually the burger or nuggets were eaten before he could play. Need to eat the nutritious stuff first, right?
I would let him crawl around with all the other hooting and hollering kids. Screaming and crying. Laughing. Shrieking. I would read, write sermons, check the news. The blanket of kiddie sounds was great for my concentration. I could think, reflect, and even pray. Some profound people listen to birds singing, waves crashing, or the sounds of rippling brooks. Some desperate folks (I been one of them from time to time) use a white noise app. I simply found the cacophony of wild children good as the wild sounds of nature.
Without fail however, when he found some innovation that made him a star among four year olds, he call, "daaaad!" I think I almost always heard it the first time. Though I was concentrating on work, I'd look up from time to time to make sure he was safe and following the rules. I wasn't totally absent.
But he'd call, 'Daaad" and I'd look up, see him jump, and slide and crawl and smile.
He was always a tall kid. I remember the day he could no longer enter Play Land. The height chart on the side that indicated how tall a kids could be to enter. While he was only about seven or eight, he passed the height requirement and those days were over.
But what amazed me at the time about those small adventures is that I was able to hear his voice. It wasn't that he was louder. He was just my kid. I knew his voice. When his voice called through the din, I heard it.
I heard him.
I knew his voice and the sound, the tone, the pitch, the cadence of his speech - I knew it all I needed to know, instantly.
There are days when God's voice breaks through. My own broken body and dreams get so loud as I try to solve the puzzle of my life. My concentration forms around the urgency of my daily moments. I grow deaf. Then I hear something. A turning leaf, the wind in my face, a memory, a smell. Then I can hear the Good Shepherd above the noise.
I heard him. I knew his voice and the sound, the tone, the pitch, the cadence of his speech - I knew it all I needed to know, instantly.