A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Porch

I was visiting at my parents' house in Missouri. It was a lovely summer evening. The doors were open, the screens closed, and the a/c off. A few moths had snuck into the dining room, where my dad and I were working on a decal. I batted some away, focusing on the work. After awhile, we pronounced ourselves done and decided to go out back and join Mom on the back porch. 

I had just set my hand to the screen door when the little invader rushed at me. At first, I could scarcely believe what had happened: a moth had flown into my ear canal. I shook my head, much like a dog would. But the buzz continued. If felt as if I had water in my ear, except that the water was alive and bouncing around, trying to get out--or further in. I shouted in alarm and asked Dad to see if he could find the interloper. He said he couldn't see anything. Perhaps I am being overly sensitive, but he may have also implied that I was imagining things.  The ear-squirming continued, so I stumbled outside to beg the font of medical wisdom for help. Her first suggestion was brilliant, but it didn't work: she held my head under an outdoor lamp in the hopes that the moth would simply fly out to the light, as moths do. No luck. The moth either did not see the beckoning light, or it had decided that it rather liked its new home.

Her second suggestion was to pour hydrogen pyroxide in my ear to drown the moth, at which point it would float up with the bubbles. I was ready to try anything, so back we went to the master bathroom, where I trustingly laid my head down on the counter. I was accustomed to the hydrogen pyroxide experience: a torrent of cold, deafening liquid into the ear canal, followed by a rush of bubbles, makes everything cleaner. I was expecting the torrent when I heard the rumble of a small motor and got a brief glimpse of plastic tube: the dust buster. Before I could object or applaud, the buster had been applied, and the moth sucked into its new life as a dust bunny.

 What is the lesson here? Resourcefulness? Yes. An insistence that something is wrong when others may not believe you? Yes. The multi-purpose nature of a small household appliance? Yes. But Mom and Dad came up with the best moral: you never know what tools God is going to use to get the moths out. He could use a difficult job situation, a tough teacher, or a hard word from a friend. Or he could literally use a dust buster. You just never know.

Reprinted from June 3, 2014