Permanent nerve damage in my left ear. That was the diagnosis, but there were no words of hope or promise, in fact, the doctor cancelled my next visit telling me there was nothing else he could do.
The constant loud ringing? Nothing we can do. The pain and headaches? Again, nothing. The hearing loss and sensitivity to sound? Nothing? I knew I should be grateful; I have two ears and I haven’t lost all my hearing. It wasn’t an acoustic neuroma (a non-malignant brain tumor) which is what the doctor had suspected. I didn’t feel lucky, I felt desperate.
How could I live with this noise? The problem was most evident to me as I tried to pour out my fears to the Lord in Adoration. After a few moments, the ringing in my ear (in the quiet of the church) became unbearable! Quiet had become my enemy in my favorite place in the world. I couldn’t contain my sadness.
As a total type A personality, I did what I do. I began problem-solving and found information and ideas to combat the disturbance. I loaded my phone with music I like and ordered a one-ear headphone bud so that I could drown out some of the ringing (with noise that I preferred). I prayed for healing and began to reach out for support, sharing my struggle first with my children, family and finally, my friends. I am blessed that my priest is deaf and can identify with my struggles. My mother has lost her hearing significantly and my boss has hearing loss in one ear. Even in this, the Lord provided others around to hold me up.
This situation has given me new insight into the struggles of others. I used to be impatient when my mom asked me to repeat myself for the fourth time, now I find increased patience with her requests. One man shared that hearing loss is one of the few disabilities that others blame on the one who has it. People react as if you could hear better if you just tried harder to listen. If someone loses an arm, others don’t respond by saying, “Good thing you have another one, you can still pick up things.”
Understanding this first hand is helping me to look beyond the disabilities of other people. God is good. He is using this disability to teach me to be more loving, patient and tolerant of others. I can offer up the pain and ringing for the salvation of souls and speak up for those who suffer in any way with a disability. Indeed, he is teaching me and he is good, all the time.
Copyright 2017 Mary Lou Rosien