This post has been brewing inside of my soul for a few months. Even now, I'm not sure I'm "ready" to write about it, but I figure that it will probably continue to trickle out as the year continues on. Without being trite, I have to say that I really feel that God is making this my theme for 2010.
It all started Christmas Eve of last year. Adhering to our Christmas tradition, we were finishing the last-minute packing of our gifts and overnight items so that we could spend the night at my parent's house, along with my sister and her family. And, just as I was grabbing my purse to head out to the van, I heard the tell-tale whoosh and felt my right ear close up and pop. And, just like that, I turned right around and went and to the medicine cabinet to get my ear numbing drops. In that one minute, I saw what that Christmas Eve would hold for me -- pain, and lots of it.
For some reason, I started having problems with ear infections after the birth of my first child. I don't really remember having ear troubles as a child. But, that first one I had as an adult was a doozy that left me crying and awake all night long on the couch. I didn't know what to do other than bundle up my 2-year-old and drag my pregnant body into my family doctor's office at 8 a.m. and beg (literally crying) for her to see me. I simply couldn't bear to wait the additional two hours for Urgent Care to open down the hall.
Mercifully, my doctor saw me right away and I was able to get some prescription analegesic drops (aka numbing) and some antibiotics going. I ripped open that bottle in Target and after about 5 minutes, felt relief for the first time in about 15 hours. It was bad...that pain was second only to childbirth...I'm not kidding. The doctor also told me that I could buy drops over the counter should something like that happen again and hopefully would help me avoid the blubbering on the couch in the midnight hour scenario.
Ever since then, I've kept a bottle of that stuff on hand, and if I had medicated drops for infection, I kept those too. So, there I was -- grabbing my drops and heading out for what should be a joyous evening with family. And it was -- except for that persistent throbbing. I put in my drops, took ibuprofen for the swelling, had my father pray for me...and it all helped. But it still throbbed on. We put the kids to bed; we played games; and we put ourselves to bed. It all worked until about 1 a.m. when I sat upright in bed clutching my ear in agony.
I put in more drops.
I took more ibuprofen.
I couldn't sleep so I got dressed.
I went out to the van and defrosted the windshield.
I drove home in the high 30's to get my beloved heating pad.
As I drove home, the refrain of a song we sing at church (that's also a scripture verse from the Bible) called Your Love Never Fails began to play over and over in my head.
"There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning."
I found it on my iPod and turned the speakers up loud (you know...to compensate for my partial deafness) and started to sing in earnest. Returning to my parent's house, I plugged in my heating pad and prayed once more that God would give me relief so that I could enjoy what was now Christmas Day with my family. And, you know what? He did...and I did. I went right to sleep (like a baby) and slept until o'dark-thirty when the kids came to wake us up. Although my ear was completely deaf on one side, it didn't throb...and I was thrilled...ecstatic...and yes, joyous! It was Christmas! For our family, it's one of the most significant days of the entire year. Not only do we celebrate and cherish our family time, but we celebrate and cherish the birth of The One who has brought so much joy to the entire world! It was a true blessing to be able to sit back and enjoy everything pain-free.
It took almost an entire month for my hearing to come back fully in that ear, but after that night, I didn't have any pain. And actually, it became a nice way to get some extra sleep. Noisy out in the rest of the house? Simply turn over on my hearing ear and, voila! Natural earplugs!
Since then, there have been additional moments (which will warrant another post) when that verse has come back to me. In fact, it keeps popping up everywhere it seems. So, I started to pay attention and mull things over. We are definitely living in troubled and painful times. People have lost jobs, family members, retirement, security, health insurance. There seems to be a general sense of panic and bewilderment. And, it's certainly warranted to a degree.
Joy is coming!
And, it's coming soon...look, the sun is starting to peek it's head up from the horizon!
I don't know about you, but that thought just lifts my spirit! I know, I know, I know that there will be pain. There is pain! But, it only last for a "night." And that knowledge and anticipation means everything to me.
*For some tips and household rememdies for earaches/ear infections, check this out.