A Smile in the Midst

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday Morning friends. Thanks for stopping by. I’ve had a busy couple of weeks after taking a mini-vacation. We visited Indianapolis. It’s a beautiful city with lots to see and do.

 

Indy is a great place to hang out for a long weekend. You can walk everywhere, and we had so many choices of restaurants, it was hard to decide. Our favorite thing was walking along the canal, and dining at Harry and Izzie’s.

I’m finding lots of reasons to smile lately. This comes after a long season of worry and fear. A time when I was trying really hard to keep my natural optimistic tendencies at the top, instead of buried beneath a load of anxiety. No, I’m not talking about the big “C”.

I was battling a giant of a different sort. Mental clarity. I was having difficulty understanding and that was frightening, to say the least. I began to withdraw from circumstances that required me to be responsive. Even going out to lunch with friends became difficult. I couldn’t understand half of what they were saying. I tried to laugh when they laughed, and make appropriate responses, but I’m not sure it worked.

The noise in my head was overwhelming me. My brain felt sluggish and my ears felt stuffy all the time. I leaned heavily on texting and social media, rather than making phone calls. If I had an important call to make or receive, I put on earphones. I seldom went to movies, since I couldn’t understand what they were saying, and even had difficulty in church.

I managed to stay beneath the radar for a while, but my heart was telling me something was wrong, and I feared the worst. Would I lose my memory? I didn’t think so. My writing was going well, and I’d been able to keep up with my part-time bookkeeping job.

During a routine visit to my primary physician, she sensed I was having trouble and suggested I see an ENT. My last hearing test was several years ago, and she felt I needed an update. I spent nearly an hour in a soundproof booth, wearing noise-blocking earphones. I suspected the woman administering the test was playing video games or reading a good book, because I’d go for long periods without hearing anything.

I wasn’t hearing the sounds. Then she read words and had me repeat them. Okay, I’ve always believed that being in a noisy room with people talking all around me was the problem. But in that quiet little booth, I still couldn’t understand all her words. I flunked the test. My score was pretty devastating.

Many people suffer from diminished hearing as they age. In my case, you can add genetics into the mix. My mother struggles to hear, even with a hearing aid. Her dad was nearly deaf when he died at 76. All three of his brothers struggled with hearing issues. I loved those Christy’s, but some legacies you don’t really want.

The ENT summed it up, saying I was basically hearing disabled, and needed two hearing aids in order to “shore up” the situation. Most likely, if I live long enough, I’ll lose my hearing completely.

Not good news. Not the worst news either. I knew I could deal with it, somehow.

For a few days, I was a little weepy. But then I got busy and began to research hearing loss. All those scary symptoms I’d been experiencing were related. I’m not loosing my mind, I just can’t understand and process everything I’m hearing. I miss birdsong. Music doesn’t sound the same. Everybody mumbles. They sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve paid attention to people when they speak. I watch them and work harder to understand. I try to speak with more clarity. I let those around me know I have difficulty hearing. Most people are kind and cooperative. My grandsons get a little exasperated with me, especially after the third or fourth repetition.

Humor has been my friend. I told one of my granddaughters she could tell me her secrets. I don’t hear whispers at all. So, secrets are safe with me.

I’m smiling more these days, because I know the cause of my distress, and it’s not what I feared. This I can work with. My brain’s in good shape, so I can learn to deal with hearing aids, or reading lips, or even learning sign language if it comes to that. I don’t think it will, but have you seen the price of hearing aids? It’s like buying a small car, only they don’t last as long.

The sun is shining this morning, and I can see birds in the trees. I know they’re singing and one day, I’ll hear them again.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14 NIV.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

CLICK TO TWEET: Many people suffer from diminished hearing as they age. #hearingloss #aging #health

Strong and Courageous

I am honored to have a guest post on the Fear Warrior blog this week. Here’s the link if you’d like to check it out: Jerusha Agen’s Fear Warrior Blog. I’m giving away a book over there, too.

Writing that post made me think about some of the things that are most important in this world. There are so many voices out there right now, ready to rip each other apart in order to make room for themselves.

Fear runs rampant.

Sometimes fear is a bully. It tells you when you can sleep, when you can eat or not eat.

Fear paralyzes. Stops you in your tracks. Binds you with chains. It can make you sick, and it can kill you if you don’t find a way to overcome it. I found release in my Faith. I read and study the Word of God. It helps me overcome some of the depths fear dragged me into.

As I mentioned in the article above, one of my go-to scriptures is Joshua 1:9 — “Be strong and courageous…” Here’s the full context of that verse–

sword-790815_1280 “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:6-9 NLT

This passage holds plenty of instruction and promise. It’s kind of like a prescription. If you don’t follow all the instructions, you may not reap all the benefits. This prescription comes complete with the “do’s & don’ts”. Do follow, do study, do meditate. Don’t deviate. You’ll follow your doctor’s prescription to the utmost, but not this simple instruction? Sure, it was written for Joshua and the people who followed him, but like many of the teachings, parables, and stories in the Bible, it’s still relevant today.

cat-393294_1280I’ve had a lot of dealings with old man fear this year. I overcame a lot of my anxiety when I made the trip to Ecuador. I learned to trust, step out and do it. And throughout my husband’s health crisis, I was taunted by fear. It tried to get it’s claws in, catch me, hold me, and not let go. But I refused. Again, I learned to trust. And I didn’t have to go it alone. God sent a lot of people alongside us to pray, encourage, visit, and show His love.

Sometimes, there are  no easy answers. But in the volume of the book, let it be written of me…I tried. I stepped out there. I made the effort. I did my best.

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