Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keep in Touch newsletter 29 November 2020

Back from post-op sign-off by my ENT surgeon. Everything is fine, the wound has healed, stitches are self-dissolving, inside the ear canal is clear. Switch-on and activation of the external sound processor is tomorrow, Friday. Then my brain will receive sound from the left side for the first time for more than 25 years. It just has to learn how to understand it. That’s a 6 to 12 month job. But the best news from Dr Anderson was nothing directly to do with audiology, it was that I can wash my hair in the shower! I’ve been plugging the implanted ear with a wax plug and sporting a shower cap. 2½ weeks of unwashed hair. Eew.
Meanwhile, my hearing-aid-assisted ear has been clogged up with wax. It’s a problem for hearing aid wearers, many of you will know. Although wax is a nuisance, it’s produced for all the right reasons, to protect the ear from a foreign intruder, in this case, the in-ear bit of the hearing aid. So I’ve been squirting anti-wax stuff into my ear for the past week, to loosen the wax. It’s predominantly olive oil, dressed up in a fancy bottle with a pharmaceutical-sounding name to justify the price.
Anyway, greasy hair and oily anti-wax turned my rambling thoughts to Psalm 23, “You anoint my head with oil”. In the Old Testament, in fact throughout scripture, anointing the head with oil is associated with signifying a special blessing, often of a king or a priest or prophet. And in the New Testament it accompanies prayer for healing. For a long time, it was this former sense, of blessing, which I thought was indicated in the psalm. But it’s a shepherd psalm. Nowadays we drench sheep (there are several on our property at Cedar Creek) with chemicals to prevent fly-strike on their tails and nostrils and eyes. In the psalmist’s day, shepherds would pour oil – “anoint”, if you like – all over their sheeps’ heads as a prophylactic against this very fly-strike which is as potentially disastrous now as it was then. There were still flies, just as in the Valley there was the Shadow of Death, and even at a Prepared Table there was the Presence of Enemies. But the Good Shepherd was with his sheep, guarding them, anointing them, preparing His house for them so that they would dwell there forever.

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