A couple of years ago I lost my sense of taste and smell. My wife and I were in Paris celebrating our birthdays (my 40th), and I got sick near the end of our trip and I flew back pretty stuffed up with what I thought was a head cold. After that, I couldn’t smell or taste. I realized it about a month later when I was tending a bonfire at our campsite for fall break and couldn’t smell the smoke, and then I realized I wasn’t tasting our food. It seemed to hit suddenly and then it just never left. 

I started researching and trying everything holistically to heal myself from fasting for multiple days, various supplements, acupuncture, diet changes, essential oils, and finally on to the M.D. for antibiotics and tons of tests. The tests showed I had a severe infection deep in my Ethmoid sinus, and they wanted to do surgery. Well, that sounds easy enough so long as the Cherokee Nation health system would approve the request, but they wouldn’t. I was denied twice and then Covid hit and I fell out of ambition to make it happen. 

The emotional toll on me has been intense. I would say it’s a low-grade depression for the fact that I can’t experience food or drink or atmosphere changes, or toast burning while cooking. Cooking! What a nightmare now. It has been frustrating and heartbreaking. It has impacted my relationships! You don’t realize how much food and drink are the topic of conversation. Take a notice as you go through your day how often you ask someone if they can smell that or taste this. 

The theological toll has been rough. “Why, God?” “When, God?” “I’m believing every way that I know how, God!” “Please heal me, God!” The up and down of faith and hope, only to fall back to despair. The wild thing about it is, on Sunday mornings (before Covid) during church, I would suddenly be able to smell and taste for about 4 hours. And, shortly after church, it would leave again - and leave me hopeless. Was I supposed to preach 24/7 to heal myself? Was this a game? Was God playing with my sensibilities? Was I supposed to “follow my nose” and walk a divine tightrope of obedience in order to be healed? I was confused. Hopeless. Angry. 

I was in a cycle of anger at my body, hope in healing, disappointment when it would come and leave, fear, anxiety when it was back wondering when it would leave again, constant theological questioning, cynicism, and finally resignation. This is how it will be. Nothing works for me. I’m done trying. 

And then, something began to shift in my perspective. A trickle of compassion began to appear and I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow. 

Prayer: God, this sounds a lot like me. I have so many questions about the way things are. I know that you are with me in my questions and leading me to the still waters of trust. Help me yield more to your working in my life today and ease my pain. Amen.