On a Thursday morning, I trudged downstairs to brew a pot of awareness-giving elixir when I heard the smoke detector give its “Feed me” chirp. Low batteries. Not a biggie. Thanks to BJs, we have a thousand AA batteries. But which detector was hungry?

The main detectors are wired into the house and give off a buzz, so it couldn’t be them. Had to be the carbon monoxide detector. I stood under it. *beep* No, not there.

I went upstairs and waited. *beep.* No, not either of the ones in the upstairs hall. Hmm.

Back downstairs. Silence for now. I brewed coffee. I toasted a bagel. *beep* In the office? *beep* No, sounds like the kitchen.

Standing in the kitchen: *beep* Maybe the living room.

I’ll cut to the chase: half an hour later, with the beep coming at uneven intervals, we had ruled out every room in the house, including the basement (where it didn’t sound at all.)

I searched out the cell phone, wondering if it was beeping. I plugged it in to charge; the beep sounded behind me. I located my iPod in case it was beeping. Nope. I charged it anyhow. I went to work tracking down the broken iPod the children play with and which sometimes makes noises. And nothing. Nothing, except that sometimes it beeped, and sometimes not.

Kiddo#2 and I went in different rooms and faced each other, waiting. She heard it behind her. I heard it behind me.

“It’s moving,” I said to my Patient Husband over the phone.

He said, “Is it a bird chirping?”

Kiddo#2 said, “Maybe it’s a squirrel in the walls.”

We ran errands for the day. When we returned, no more beep.

The next day, it beeped a cheerful, hungry “Good morning!” to me as I groped my way to the coffee maker. We searched all over. Again, the sound came from nowhere and everywhere. “It’s inside something,” I told my Patient Husband.

This happens to all of us, spiritually speaking. There’s something hidden, something damaged and something that needs to be fed. It starts crying out, but we’re not sure where it’s coming from, and invariably we look in all the wrong places. But it needs to be brought into the light, made whole. And often, it’s not the thing we think at first it is. It’s something we forgot about, something we thought settled. Except that it’s not, and it keeps calling.

Saturday. My Patient Husband and I divided the house into quadrants, trying to track down the sound, which seemed to echo from everywhere. “Do you think the previous owners walled up a smoke detector?” I said.

I stood with my head in the pantry. *beep.* Then I opened the broom closet and sat inside, waiting.


I got a chair, and there, on a high shelf, way in the back, were two smoke detectors we’d never installed. Waiting. Hungry. Doing their job until the batteries ran out; doing their jobs even though we’d never done ours.


  1. Scott

    Great story…Thanks. I can totally relate. It’s amazing how our ears plays tricks on us.

  2. Ana


  3. lbdiamond

    AHHHHHH!!!! *flails* LOL!