Don’t ignore the popcorn kernel in your ear

The Standard May 19, 2022

Generally laid-back and not one to draw attention to himself, our younger son once had a strange encounter with a popcorn kernel. One Sunday during children’s church when he was of early elementary school age, they were celebrating with a little party. After worship, a nurse found me to inform me that Samuel somehow had ended up with a popcorn kernel in his ear, but that she had gotten it out. Upon talking to him, Samuel explained that a few of the boys were tossing popcorn kernels during the celebration and one accidentally landed right in his ear. Obviously, that sounded rather odd. We went home, not thinking again about the incident for maybe five to seven months.

Later, at his Farmville Pediatrics checkup, the doctor got to the part of the exam when she looked into Samuel’s ears. She commented that it seemed like there was something in his ear canal, and immediately my mind raced back to the improbability of what she might say. Yes, indeed. It turned out that after all those months, Samuel still had a popcorn kernel in his ear. Fortunately, the doctor was able to flush it out rather easily. At home, Samuel divulged that he was aware the whole time that the foreign object had been his companion. When his father asked if it had pained or bothered him, Samuel said it only felt strange when he was swimming underwater. His dad then tried to impress upon him the possible dangers of such a situation and how crucial it was to let us know about anything that could jeopardize his health. Dad explained that leaving the kernel in his ear canal any longer might have damaged his hearing permanently. Samuel replied, “Wouldn’t I still have been able to hear out of the other ear?”

As adults, most of us do all we can to safeguard the health of children. We do not fault them for being unaware of certain dangers and typically feel responsible to lead them in the direction of safety and best health practices. In general, we encourage kids to eat vegetables and fruit and to eat less junk food, candy and desserts. We prod them to go outside to get some exercise and we take them to medical checkups. How often do we grown-ups prioritize our physical and mental health, not allowing work or responsibilities to crowd out wellness practices? Do we ignore signs of potential health problems? To be our best as Christ’s ambassadors, focused and effective servants, we must take care of the physical bodies we each inhabit.

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (3 John 1:2)

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