In The Way

Having Ears to Hear

“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear!” – Jesus, Mark 4

I lost my hearing in my left ear on Tuesday night.

I have been trying to wake up with the sunrise, which is currently a difficult task since it has been mostly cold, snowy, and cloudy for the last few days. I was in bed at 10:09 pm, reading a book called The Longevity Projecta study looking at a group of Americans, their life longevity, and what traits resulted in a long life well lived. My roommate began listening to music, the band was Jesus Culture.

I can’t read or sleep with music on even if it is soft and in the distance. I put my earplugs on. The problem came when I removed the earplugs.

When I took my left earplug out, I could see in my left hand how I had removed the earplug, but to my ear’s senses, I still had the earplug in. I was unable to hear. It was in this fashion that I went about  a day and a half without hearing out of my left ear.

I was completely and functionally deaf in one ear.

What a perspective change! If you’ve ever worn an eyepatch, had temporary hearing loss, or had anesthesiology performed during dental work, you know how startling it can be to lose even one sense. In my case, it was only half of one sense. It still bothered me.

I had to ask people to speak up who were sitting next to me mumbling. I had to sit on my beautiful fiance’s left side when talking with her.  The loud music in Chapel physically hurt for the first time.

After a short amount of Googling I learned quite a bit. Google is quite useful in simple medical assessments. There were two possibilities.

Option 1: I had built up lots of earwax in my ear over time, and due to my occasional use of earplugs I had pushed the earwax in too far into my eartube, and it was blocking my ear from hearing.

Option 2: The intense suction, coupled with the waterpressure of swimming ten feet under earlier in the night, caused my eardrum to perforate, or, in bloggers terms, to tear.

Even though my ear didn’t hurt, it was certainly irksome. It changed how I viewed everything, and I found myself rubbing my left ear in search of the high pitched scratching sound I could hear from my right ear. My ear didn’t hurt, and I didn’t think I had been brutal enough to tear my eardrum. Google was right, and so was the nurse in the Holton Health Center at Spring Arbor University.

I had a large buildup of earwax removed through a process called “ear irrigation”. I prefer combining the two words to be “earrigation.”

I can hear again, and I feel like I’m using my ears to hear at the first time. Even the short time of less than 2 days gave me time to appreciate what I have now.

It is a wonder, this feeling. But it’s also a tragedy, knowing in a few weeks I will forget this feeling.

Why don’t we have this sense of wonder every day? What do we need to do to appreciate our very existence?

I don’t understand why we don’t have this, and I also don’t really understand Jesus’ parable of the sowers in Mark 4. What is that supposed to mean? I love growing my own food, but what did Jesus mean in this parable?

Perhaps I will come to understand these things one day. I would like to. I want to use my ears to hear, to use my eyes to perceive, to hear, and understand.

Thanks for reading.


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2 thoughts on “Having Ears to Hear

  1. Daniel Shinabarger on said:

    Had almost the exact same thing happen to me after wearing earplugs for a while after recording drums for the metal band I was in. Turns out I had an ear infection though, but the loss of hearing was pretty obnoxious. Mine was in the right ear though.

  2. Spencer Carlson on said:

    Good words. I’ve found that while it’s super easy to lose wonder, it’s also possible to find new sources of wonder. Often, I find myself “rediscovering” things, like wind, snow and the people around me when I stop and try to remember the wonder there. You’re right, it’s easy to forget, but it’s not impossible to rekindle the lost sense of appreciation.

    I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better now, too.

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