Conflict… I experienced that yesterday. I suppose you’d define conflict for my purposes as a clash between two things. I was at odds within a situation our family has experienced. I’m at odds no longer.
There’s no secret that my son, Hollis, doesn’t hear well. He’s fought hearing problems since the day we brought him home for adoption. Continual ear infections coupled with his lack of desire to eat had him in a really lousy spiral until he was 6 months old. This isn’t really a chicken or egg thing. We knew all along that he wouldn’t suck on a bottle because his ears hurt. His ears hurt because they were infected and impacted. Because he wouldn’t eat, he wasn’t healthy and was underweight. Because he wasn’t healthy and was so little the surgeons wouldn’t put tubes in his ears. Without tubes his ears wouldn’t drain and he was continually hurting and wouldn’t eat. See the circle? Circle or not, the issues were because his ears were a problem.
Hollis failed hearing tests. He was scheduled to be tested often, but when you show up with an ear infection or an ear that isn’t draining, you aren’t going to test well to begin with. So… We knew he didn’t hear well, but we didn’t know to what level. Like any guy, I figured if I rubbed some dirt on him he’d be fine. That hasn’t turned out to be the case.
Yesterday Hollis underwent a “BAER” style test (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response). Essentially, he was sedated while an extensive hearing test was administered. He was hooked up to various probes and monitors and the Docs were able to note how his brain reacted to the audible stimulus. It’s a thorough and conclusive test. We found out his right ear has a slight hearing loss. His left ear is worse however. We were informed that in cases of mild hearing loss in a single ear the body does well in most cases and tends to compensate somewhat. When both ears are degraded, the compensation is absent. The recommendation, which Jenny and I accepted, was to leave his right ear as is, and fit him for a hearing aid in the left ear. Apparently, there is a gap of sound he simply doesn’t hear in his left ear. Hollis was fitted while under sedation, so we’ll follow up at the doc to learn more about the care and use of hearing aids in little boys.
I’ll admit I was placed well outside my comfort zone when I learned what the test revealed. In fact, I was pretty sad for a bit. Jenny was well prepared because she believed all along he had some hearing loss that could be considered significant. But… Like I said, I’m a guy, so we assume we can ignore the obvious, push through, and no consequences will attach. Not so.
Where does the conflict come you ask? Well, it’s pretty simple. I was put off knowing my boy needs a hearing aid before he’s 4 years old. I was sad and I was also mad. Then I pulled my head out of my ass. I realized that there are people, friends and family both, with ailments they battle far worse than mild hearing loss in one ear. We all have someone we care about that is no longer among the living, that we’d gladly accept back with a hearing loss ding on their physical resume. If I think about it in positive terms, I’m guilty not only of a conflict that shouldn’t have been, but I also managed to skip the part where technology is going to allow my son to hear birds chirping now, Motorcycles rev’n, and maybe even my calls to have him take his head out of the dog’s mouth… 😉
So here is my prayer today:
Thank you Lord for my son. Thank you for equipping me to handle this little hiccup. I’m grateful for advancements in technology that will allow my son to hear the things we all tend to take for granted. Thank you, God, for reminding me of humility and providing pathways so I can make better choices when conflict arises. I’ll be salt and seek light. I’ll influence my children well in your Word. In Jesus’ name, I pray these things. Amen.
Mark 10:13-16 – And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” 16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.