Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ears to hear

A number of years back, I started to lose my hearing. 

I wasn't aware of it. It happened so gradually that I had no idea that my hearing was deteriorating. Unknown to me, my world was getting smaller and smaller. It wasn't until my left ear started hurting that I realized that there was something amiss. I thought I had an ear infection or something. 

I went to see a doctor. He took a conical instrument with a light at the tip, and looked through it into my ear canal. He pulled a bit on my earlobe as he did, and a sharp stab of pain struck me where his instrument was inserted. I winced.

Photo "Cupping Ears To Hear" courtesy of
David Castillo Dominici at
"Ah," he said. He took out the instrument. "You have a buildup of wax in your ear," he explained. "Normally I would flush the ear out, but it's been there for a while and has gotten very hard. So if I flushed it today, it would hurt a lot and could damage your ear canal." 

"So what do I do?"

He smiled to himself. "Olive oil," he stated, in a matter of fact tone.

Seeing my quizzical look, he said, "Get an eyedropper and a bottle of olive oil. Fill the eyedropper with the oil and lie down on your good ear. Squirt the olive oil into your bad ear, and let it sit and soak in for at least 20 minutes. Then you can get up, and the oil will drain out. Have a paper towel or something ready to catch the drips. Soak it like that three times a day for two weeks. It will soften the outside of that hard wax, over time. Then come and see me again, and I'll syringe out that ear." 

I did as he instructed. The olive oil went in and after the initial coolness, it got hot because the blood vessels were so close to the skin inside my ear. I couldn't hear a thing except that sound you get when you are underwater - that, and the sound of my heartbeat. 

I had to remain perfectly still when the oil was in there, or it would leak out. I used the opportunity to pray, to meditate, or to connect with my husband, depending on the time of day. After my 20 minutes, I'd stand up and let the oil drain out into a paper towel or a tissue. 

I knew that I was doing this to get rid of some obstructions I'd allowed to build up in my ear - and the spiritual application of my predicament (and of my healing process) didn't escape me. Much of my meditation time during those two weeks was spent pondering how the oil was a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and how soaking in His presence softened those hard things that got between me and my ability to hear His voice. And how that process took time - time that was no hardship for me to make because I wanted to spend time with Him. 

I thought about the water that would eventually flush out those obstructions - water being a symbol of the Word of God. I spent considerable time looking forward to my appointment with the doctor - and thanking God for the lessons He was teaching me about how the Spirit and the Word work together. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The two weeks passed, and I was once again in the doctor's office. I explained to the receptionist why I was there and waited for my name to be called.

When the doctor walked into the exam room, he tried to make conversation. "Got some wax in your ears do you?" 

"Whaaaat?" I asked.

He snickered. "Oh, I see. 'Get on with it,' right?"

I grinned. 

He told me how to hold my head, and then held a plastic container under my earlobe next to my neck. He had filled a large syringe with warm water and he started to squirt what felt like a great deal of water into my ear. I felt a lot of pressure, and then a shifting within as pieces of wax were forced out of my ear canal. It felt weird, but (thanks to the oil) there was absolutely no pain. He helped me drain the remaining water from my ear ... and as the last water bubble burst, a most peculiar thing happened.

I could hear, clear as a bell: in fact, better than I had in months

"How is it now?" the doctor asked. 

"Hey, don't shout," I quipped. He chuckled. 

After the appointment, my husband and I walked down the street, each lost in our own thoughts, enjoying the warm sun on our shoulders. It was summertime; the sun was out and the day was pleasant.

My pace slowed. And I stopped ... and lifted my head. Something was different. REALLY different.

I could hear birds.

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