Once upon a time there was a man who was alive.

Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States
St. Cuthbert and Disciples in a Boat


I had a most excruciating experience yesterday (and in the wee morning hours of today...). I drove down to the thriving metropolis of Estabuchie (which consists of a post office, gas station, and bridge on the lovely Leaf River) to listen to our church band. They had been invited to play in one of those inumerable genericish Baptist churches that dot the South, and being a devoted groupie, I made the long haul over the flat floodplains to the church. A handful of other members of our church showed up, and we sat about for some hours, while various "activities" of the sort that so plague evangelical churches were enacted. At nine the band fired up- but I had to leave not long afterwards. My right ear was pounding with pain and pressure (alliterative medical description!). It had been bothering me all day, but I had foolishly ignored it.

So I arrived home in awful pain and stumbled up to bed after taking some pain-killing medicine, which did absolutely nothing. Before long the left ear was throbbing, and I had the lovely feeling of two knives plunged into my ears. Worst pain I've ever felt. I prayed quite fervishly- as one does in such situations- and God gave granted me a respite at about one in the morning. It seems my eardrum burst, which, while sounding horrible, was actually quite a relief, as the pain soon subsided. Around three in the morning, my left eardrum apparently burst, but with a slight and messy complication: blood was spewing out of it. I was lying downstairs on the couch, and happened to glance at my pillow. It was covered in large dark stains- how odd I thought... Eventually the bleeding slacked up, though it's still seeping a bit this morning. At anyrate, when I woke this morning, there was no pain in either ear- praise God!- but my hearing was muffled. Which isn't all that bad. The doctor told me that my hearing should return to normal in two months or so, but I should avoid swimming in deep water for about a year. I suppose that means no thrusting the side of my head under a waterfall...

So I'm much better this afternoon, though I look awful- blood pooled in one ear, pale from blood loss, blood-shot eyes, and drugged-looking- because I am drugged up {a hundred bucks worth of drugs at that!}. And my hearing is blurry- there's a sort of dull echo inside my head. Otherwise, I'm fine. God has granted me endurance and contentment I did not have a year ago, and He has truly absolved my worries and anxieties. Such trials as this are, I suppose, just that: trials. It is easy enough to talk of remaining joyful and thankful in suffering, but to practise it is another thing. I am convinced that only by God's grace is one capable of holding up under true suffering. I can't say that I have ever experienced true suffering. But I hope that if I should, I will reman strong in Christ and not despair- for my God is a stronghold in all sufferings.


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