God gave you some pretty wonderful senses. With them you can smell your pizza, watch the snow fall, listen to music, and taste hot chocolate. Your senses really help you enjoy life!
But they also help protect you. Because of your senses you feel a pin pricking you, hear a siren, and see a curb. You can walk without falling—and it’s all because of something in your ears! Does that surprise you? You’re not alone. Most of us don’t give a second thought to how our senses protect us.
Think about your senses in a new way for a few minutes. Read about some built-in protections and try the experiments. Imagine life without your senses. Then thank God for them!
The Nose Knows
Quick—name two things that smell really bad. Would you eat either of those things? They’re probably bad for you, aren’t they?
Think about that: most things that smell bad to you are bad for you. That’s hard to explain; it’s just the way God made you.
Thankfully your sense of smell isn’t super terrific. How would you like to smell all the rotten garbage within a mile of you? You only need to smell rotten stuff close to your mouth so you won’t eat it. Trust your nose, it knows.
Your nose knows a bit more. At least one “long-distance” odor always catches your attention: smoke from a fire. Your Creator knows exactly what you need.
Chew on This
Scientists say that you need saliva (spit) to taste food. Want to test that statement? Dry your tongue with a paper towel. Then taste a cracker. Let your saliva flow to wet your tongue, then taste another cracker. Can you tell the difference? Aren’t you glad you’ve got a little spit in your mouth?
Your spit also helps you chew and swallow. Imagine eating pizza completely dry. You’d have all those toppings rolling around separately in your mouth. Without saliva, you might choke on it.
Yet there’s more. Special chemicals in your saliva start to digest your food as you chew. Other chemicals kill some bacteria, fighting off infections in your mouth. And still others help clean your teeth as saliva rinses your mouth. Honest!
What’s the Point?
Try this: Bend a paper clip into a U-shape. Keep the two points about an inch (2.5 cm) apart. With your eyes closed, have someone touch your back with the points. Do you feel one or two points? Now touch your upper arm. Don’t look. One or two points? Now touch your fingers. Aha, two!
Here’s the point: Your fingers can feel what’s poking you better than most other places on your body. That’s because you have more “touch” nerves there. You also have more in your feet and near your mouth.
Why? Think about it. What parts of your body reach into the world first? Your hands and feet. If you’re going to bump into something, your hands or feet will tell you. And think how much stuff you put into your body through your mouth. What would happen if your mouth were numb every day like you had just been to the dentist? Get the point? Your touch nerves are in all the right places!
Rocks in Your Head
You have rocks in your head. That’s true! They‘re called “calcium carbonate otoliths”—that means “limestone ear rocks.” They’re as tiny as grains of sand, so they‘re really “limestone ear grains.”
They’re tucked into your inner ears with your hearing equipment. But they don’t help you hear. They help you tell up from down.
These rocks are sealed into tiny sacs that are full of nerves. When you move, the rocks tumble over the nerves. The nerves send messages to the brain. These messages tell you which direction is up.
Nearby are tiny tubes, looped and filled with fluid instead of rocks. They work the same way to keep you balanced, so you don’t fall over.
You can mix up this equipment. First, find a safe place to fall. Spin around quickly about 10 times, then try to walk a straight line. You’ll find out why you should thank God for the rocks in your head!
Imagine that you’re about to cross a busy street. Out of the corner of your eye you see a bright red van speeding toward you. What’s the most important thing to know about that van? That it’s bright red?
When you see something from the corner of your eye, it’s hard for you to tell color and shape. But it’s easy to see movement.
That’s exactly what you need. The color and the type of van are not important. The fact that it’s moving toward you is VERY important. You’d better stay out of the way! Thank God that you see movement before you see color and shape.
You can test this. Take different colored pieces of paper. Cut them into different shapes. Have a friend move each paper at eye level from behind you, around the side of your face toward the front. Look straight ahead. Don’t look sideways. Notice when you see its movement, its color, and its shape.
About the Author
Joanne De Jonge is a freelance writer and a former U.S. National Park Ranger. She attends West Valley Christian Fellowship in Phoenix, Ariz.