The Ant, the Ear, and Life

ImageNineteen and-a-half years ago, when I was pregnant with our second child, I awoke abruptly to the sound of a blood-curdling scream.

It was deep in my ear.

I’d never heard anything like it

except maybe in horror movies.

I knew I wasn’t dreaming.

This was real.

Very real.

It had to be something tiny.  Very tiny.

And it had to be stuck to my ear drum.



Totally gross!

I know ! ! !

What else could it be?

So what was I to do?

Remove it, of course.

So off I went to the hallway closet to get a cotton-tipped swab.

I put it in my ear as far as I thought was safe.


The screaming continued.

So . . . I woke my husband

and asked him to use the tweezers to remove it.

Bleary-eyed, and not happy that I woke him up

he looked in my ear,

saw nothing,

handed the tweezers back to me,

and told me to go back to sleep . . .

that I was just dreaming.

No way.

This thing was real..


A-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-h ! ! !

A-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-h ! ! !

A-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-h ! ! !” until it needed to take a breath,

then there’d be an audible silence,

and it’d start all over again.

A-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-h ! ! !

A-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-h ! ! !

A-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-h ! ! !

So what’s a woman to do?


Sure, jumping probably wasn’t a good thing to do when one’s six months pregnant,

but what other recourse did I have?

The hospital?

In the middle of the night?

No way.

So . . . I jumped!

And when I say “I jumped,” I mean I really jumped.

I carefully leaned my head over the side of the bed where I’d been laying

and jumped

Up and down . . . shake my head . . .

Up and down . . . shake my head . . .

Up and down . . . shake my head . . .


Up and down . . . more head shaking . . .

Up and down . . . even more head shaking . . .

On this went for what seemed an eternity.

Then . . . there was no yelling as a teeny, weeny, itsy, bitsy little black ant dropped right onto the bedsheet, below where I’d been tipping my head.

I couldn’t believe it.

All that blood-curdling yelling and screaming . . .

. . . from that eensy weency teeny weeny little creature?

My husband couldn’t believe it either.

In fact, he gasped, “Kill it!”

At which point I responded, “Are you kidding me?  This little guy’s been screaming for his life for a long time.  No way.”

So I carefully scooped him up, brought him to our sliding glass door, and let him walk off my hand onto our deck.

Till that moment, I never thought twice about . . .

. . . killing an ant that may have found his way onto my kitchen counter

. . . or putting out the ant baits so that they wouldn’t invade our home.

I never realized . . .

. . . ants can be afraid.

. . . ants can call for help.

If an ant can be afraid,

and has the wherewithal to call for help

maybe the world needs to leave them be

and walk around them if they’re not a nuisance.

After all, it is a life.

If we were them, what would we want the humans to do?


About Gelbart-Jaffe Coaching

Hospice Chaplain and Life Coach Associate Clinical Chaplaincy Certification February 2015. Proficient Life Coach Certification December 2010.
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