The heart of it all

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February is upon us in our cozy little community. I love Coeur d’ Alene for many reasons, but at the top is its village-like feel.

On any given day, one is bound to run into someone they know; at the grocery store, post office, a local restaurant or favorite store. Even if we are not familiar with each other, we will often greet one another with a friendly smile or hello. We are a small town, it’s what we do. “Coeur” actually means “heart,” and our people live from that place for the most part.

This is a month that is typically symbolic of love. Valentine’s Day falls in the middle of it like a big, fat reminder of what’s most important. I think we’ve all experienced the power of love, of giving and receiving. The Bible describes it as the “greatest” of the virtues we can possess.

We’ve probably each felt the wince of the pain love can bring as well. As in all things good, it is a double-edged sword. Perhaps some of you who are reading this are nodding your heads in a knowing way, or might even still be experiencing the after-effects of the underside of love. If that is you, I believe better days are ahead for you, truly.

I recently discovered the connection that our heartache/break has with our physical well-being/health. I developed a pressure in my head this summer that persisted for months. I first dismissed it as the effects from a 14-hour plane trip from Dubai in June, and then allergies, and then the smoke from the fires, until there was nothing left to blame it on.

That’s when the ringing in my ears started. The pressure I could handle, the ringing I could not. I visited a primary physician who said it was due to inflammation and put me on three different types of allergy medicine. No change. Antibiotics came next, nothing.

By this time, it was near the end of the year, I’d let it go far too long and I was desperate for it to stop. Attempting to get in with a specialist at the end of the year is almost laughable, Ear Nose and Throat Specialists from Post Falls to Spokane were booked through January.

I visited a naturopath for the first time. I tried acupuncture, took herbal teas and supplements. The ringing persisted. A friend of mine made a phone call to see if she could get a cancellation for me at an ENT office. At this point, I was on the verge of tears when I talked about it. I was overwhelmed by my friend’s compassion to help me, she indeed did find me a cancellation for that week. I was beyond grateful, still am (thank you Melissa Bunch).

My hearing was tested first, checked out good. The physician checked my ears, my nose, my throat… no sign of trouble. He sat down in a chair across from me and said, “Tell me your story. What’s been going on in your life the last few months?”

As soon as I opened my mouth I burst into tears and recounted how I’d lost my good friend to cancer in August and had another very stressful relationship conflict over the last few months. He began to share with me about grief and suffering, and the profound effect it has on our physical bodies. He smiled gently and comforted me with these words: “You’re going to get better; I will pray for you.”

I don’t really remember getting from his office to my car, but I do remember this: As soon as I stepped out of the building into the parking lot, the ringing in my ears stopped. I think I said, “no way” out loud. No way could that have happened. Except it did. It absolutely did, and my ears haven’t rang since. The pressure is gone too. What in the world happened?

I believe the physician’s faith, and kind and comforting words healed me. I had just read about it in 2 Corinthians 1:4:

“God, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

Love is important. Yes, let us love one another. But, if you have the chance to comfort someone, as you yourself have been comforted, do it. You have no idea the powerful, healing effect it can have on someone’s life. If you yourself need healing comfort right now, I pray you are met with kindness and compassion from each person you encounter.

Blessings, comfort & love to you,


Dedicated to Dr. Thomas deTar at St. Joseph’s Ear Nose and Throat Clinic.

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