On January 1st, I stayed up past midnight to ring in the New Year. And I’ve been ringing in the New Year non-stop ever since. Matter of fact, I was ringing in the five weeks leading up to 2015 as well.
Beginning in late November my ears starting ringing. And they haven’t stopped for a break since. Doctors call it tinnitus, which I suspect is a fancy Latin word for “incessant, high-pitched tone.” Apparently, about 10% of Americans have it in some form. Although, as my ear, nose, throat doctor pointed out, “At 44, you’re pretty young to be dealing with it in this way.”
I like to think of myself as an over achiever, I told him.
I honestly don’t know how it happened. There was no single moment of ear trauma. Like many of us, I’ve been to my share of loud concerts. And like many dads, I’ve had plenty of ear-splitting car battles to referee between children. But, however it began, it hasn’t stopped. It may be my new normal.
While I can do a few things to minimize it like playing music while I’m in a quiet room … use white noise when I go to bed … and just train myself not to pay attention to it, like a nagging pain, a couple hours doesn’t go by without a little reminder “ringing in” that announces: still here!
I do believe God has a purpose in allowing suffering in our lives. The apostle Paul had an unspecified “thorn” in his life that he begged the Lord to take away. Instead, he says that God’s power was made perfect in his weakness. In 2 Corinthians 12:10, he adds that he “delights in weaknesses, in hardships … for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I once read about someone who’d been dealing with chronic pain. He was aware of it daily. Hourly. He made a conscious commitment to use that pain as a reminder that he’s weak, vulnerable, and in need of a Savior. When he was conscious of the pain, he’d turn those thoughts into a reminder that he needed Jesus daily, and he’d thank God for sending His Son as atonement for his sin and weakness.
I’ve decided to make this non-stop ear ringing a similar prompt. When I’m conscious of my ear ringing, I try to use it as a reminder that says, “You need Christ. Don’t try to do life without Him.” And by sharing this with you here, I’m holding myself accountable to keep it up.
So, if you’re dealing with a nagging injury that’s delivering pain regularly … or you have an illness you can’t shake … or you’re like me and the other 35 million in the U.S. whose ears are ringing off the hook … give it a try.
My doctor didn’t recommend it. But I have to say, of all my coping strategies, it’s the one that’s bringing the most peace of all.