I Went to the Danger Zone

Father’s Day weekend I did something that I haven’t done since I was in college. My youngest treated me to Top Gun Maverick when I mentioned that I really wanted to see it. I had heard good things about it and it didn’t disappoint. It’s hard to believe it’s been 35 years since I watched Goose, Maverick, and Iceman on the edge of my seat. Lots has changed since that time. I believe Tom has aged a little better than me but I try to tell myself that he has all those make-up artist to make him still look good. To be honest with myself, he started out quite a bit better than me. The cost of a ticket was also about 1/4 less than present day, even with attending a matinee and my senior discount. I will have to admit that the experience at the theater is probably more enjoyable now. I wouldn’t mind having one of those theater reclining chairs at home. I’m sure my lovely wife wouldn’t mind a matching chair because although she denied it, I’m pretty sure I heard some rather deep breathing coming from her direction. In regards to the movie itself, as I mentioned earlier it had a lot to live up to and I think it accomplished what it was attempting to do. So many sequels are vastly disappointing but I’m not to sure that I didn’t like it a little better than the first. The flight scenes are incredible and I could have caught many flies as often as my mouth was open in awe. This is my first somewhat movie review I’ve ever posted but it is definitely an enjoyable couple of hours so thanks to my sweet youngest daughter.

Now as to the thing I haven’t done since college, my daughter and I watched a second movie. With the cost of going to the movie theater, we tend to be selective and only visit the theater infrequently and only for special movies. That Saturday was the exception. My wife and daughter had two free passes that they had received either during COVID or because my daughter got sick after purchasing tickets to another movie. The passes were about to expire and could only be used in person at the theater. The other movie that I was at least partially interested in seeing was Jurassic World Dominion. My wife wanted no part of watching dinosaurs try to snack on Chris Pratt or Jeff Goldblum so my daughter used the passes for the showing after Top Gun was over. My wife was worried how she was going to occupy her time waiting for us. The movie was OK but I definitely preferred Top Gun. My almost 64 year old bladder was about to explode by the time we left the theater almost 6 hours after entering. We probably resembled mole people exiting into the bright sun having spent so long in the dark theater. Oh by the way, my wife still wasn’t quite finished with her errands and we had to wait on her a little bit to pick us up. She said it took her pretty long trying to pick out something at Loft so she was in the dressing room for a long time. If I had been forced to wait for her outside the waiting room, Tom would not have been the only one in the danger zone.

Although I would not want to make a habit of it, I really enjoyed spending the extra time with my adult daughter.

Proverbs 23:24

24 The father of a righteous child has great joy;
    a man who fathers a wise son (or daughter)rejoices in him. (or her)

Caught in My Unawares

I have worked in a hospital for a long time and I am always surprised when someone attempts to get “special” treatment because of who they are or who they know. I genuinely try to provide the best, most compassionate care to all my patients but there are some who feel entitled to something more. I have lost count of the times that I have heard someone say, “You need to be aware that I am very close friends with/related to a doctor/big wig/celebrity” hoping to level up to a higher level of care. I have been known to be a little sarcastic so I in my mind I’m thinking well excuse me your highness but I grit my teeth, smile in my most professional manner, and say something like “That’s nice.” Don’t get me wrong I honestly try to treat them the same as everyone else despite their superior attitude.

One particular encounter sticks out in my mind. I went out to the waiting room to get my next patient with the appropriate paperwork. The room was empty except for one lady. I approached her and quietly called out her name. Her eyes sent daggers through me as she rose and cautioned me not to be so loud because everyone would notice her. I wasn’t exactly sure to who she was referring but apologized anyway. She made sure to make me aware of who her husband was but to be completely honest, I was caught in my Unawares with no idea exactly who he was. I later discovered he was a country music star who had a hit several years before. My patient began immediately complaining that we should have a “special private” waiting room for people like her. She took every opportunity through the appointment to make me aware that she was “somebody” who was entitled to red carpet treatment. After the study was completed, she wanted to be escorted to the private exit so she could leave without being mobbed. I apologized again explaining that this was the only way to leave without exiting through the back loading dock but was quite pleased that she was able to make it to her car unaccosted.

The facility where I work is located close to Nashville so I somewhat frequently see people who are well known in the sports, music, political, and even the movie world. Many times I am aware that these folks are well known and recognize them immediately but I often find that, for the most part, they are kind, considerate, and do not expect any special privileges because of their notoriety.

The Pharisees were often guilty of considering themselves above it all. They constantly making everyone, including Jesus, aware that they were special and deserved privileges. They couldn’t understand why Jesus would hang out with a bunch of sinners instead of listening to everything they believed.

Luke 14:7-11

 He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noticed how they would choose the best places for themselves: “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, don’t recline at the best place, because a more distinguished person than you may have been invited by your host.[a] The one who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in humiliation, you will proceed to take the lowest place.

10 “But when you are invited, go and recline in the lowest place, so that when the one who invited you comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ You will then be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

I usually post earlier but our hospital was inspected by Joint Commission this week so it has been crazy busy. The prompt word for FiveMinuteFriday.com challenge this week was aware.

You’re Killing Me, Smalls

For the poor uninitiated souls who have no idea the origin of the title of today’s post, it is from the quintessential baseball, coming of age movie, The Sandlot. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say that it is a cinema graphic masterpiece or has some deeply moving, world changing message but it is a movie I can watch time and time again with a smile on my face.

The roofers finished installing our new roof on Friday so I was able to finally cut the grass after work. Once that was completed, I decided to pressure wash the back patio since everything had been cleared off it. I had no more than put the pressure washer back into the garage when the love of my life wondered sweetly about the condition of the front porch. I “gladly” retrieved the pressure washer without complaint, at least none she could hear, and cleaned the front porch and sidewalk. I list my accomplishments not to boast but to indicate that I was pretty beat by the time I took my shower. I plopped down in my recliner with body declaring it wasn’t moving for a while. As I searched for something to occupy my time while my body recouporated, I noticed that The Sandlot was on Netflix so I was set. My wife had a tough day also so she joined me in my nostalgic moment. This may have been the first time she stayed awake for the entire movie so it was somewhat of a landmark. This was the initial thing that got me into this line of thinking for today’s post.

Another event that brought about this bit of reverie was a text from my older brother while he was taking his grandson on a trip to Virginia. He sent pictures of the house we lived in in Richmond. As I watched the movie, I couldn’t help but draw the parallels to our lives in that house. Our backyard was the equivalent of the sandlot. Not too many days passed during the summer that a ballgame did not take place in our little ball park. Dad started keeping a spare storm window around to replace all the ones that were broken. The worn base paths were a testament to our play schedule but Dad just smiled about the lack of grass. He wasn’t the originator but was definitely a proponent of the idea that he was more concerned with raising boys than grass. We even had our own version of the Beast on the other side of the chain link fence. It wasn’t a junk yard and the dog wasn’t a mastiff but we had our share of lost balls in the neighbor’s yard. It was an older couple that lived there and they were not necessarily baseball fans. It was an automatic out if a ball was hit over the fence but it still happened too often. I remember once a ball travelled over the fence and hit what must have been the lady’s grandchild. The woman grabbed that ball and it is still probably buried somewhere deep in the bowels of that basement. Their “Beast” was a tiny little dog that lived to take a chunk out of the back any kid’s leg that dared to venture into it’s yard. On the occasion someone committed the cardinal sin of getting all of a ball taking it over the fence, not only were they out, it was their responsibility to retrieve the wayward ball. We didn’t lace up our PF Flyers like Benny the Jet but someone would go to the opposite side of the fence to distract the miniture Cugo while the offender jumped the fence, raced to the ball, and attempted to vault the fence before the little Beast ate them up.

Noting that summer begins this week was the culmination of what inspired my writing today. In “You’ve Got Mail”, Tom Hank’s character states that the answer to everything can be found in “The Godfather”. As much as I enjoy “The Sandlot”, I don’t believe it relays all of life’s answers but that may not be true of everyone. Several years before I hung up my softball cleats, I was catching in a church league softball game. The position of catcher in slow pitch softball usually provides lots of opportunities for wide ranging conversations with the umpire and that was the case in that particular game. I don’t remember how this topic came about, but apparently drawing from knowledge he had gleaned from “The Sandlot”, the umpire made a statement about July 4th being the longest day of the year. It’s entirely possible that I may have been struck in the head by a pitch as I looked back at him incredulously. I put on my Professor Wizard hat to explain that the summer solstice occured on June 21 which was the actual longest day of the year. You would have thought I had made some slur on his momma due to his reaction for doubting his firmly established belief about July 4. I honestly don’t think another call went our way the rest of the game. If the rest of my team had realized that I had caused that umpire’s bias against us, I’m pretty sure they would have called out in unison, “You’re killing me, Smalls.”

It is entirely possible that might also be your response to me for going on so much about an almost 30 year old movie but I had lots of time to think about it before I was able to move out of my recliner.

Sorry for the rambling but I thought this verse appropriate since I spent so much time wandering down memory lane.

Deuteronomy 32:7

Remember the days of old;
consider the years long past.
Ask your father, and he will tell you,
your elders, and they will teach you.

Guess Who

When our kids were little, we played lots of games, particularly our youngest. One of her favorite board games was Guess Who. If you are unfamiliar with this game, each player is given a card with one of the characters on it and also a flip board with every character in the game. The object of the game is to identify the opposing player’s character card. This is done by asking yes or no questions such as is your person a man? If the answer is no, all the male characters can be eliminated and flipped down. This continues with the players taking turns asking other questions based on the physical characteristics of the playing cards trying to be the first to identify their opponent’s person. Because we played it often, my youngest, a gamer if there ever was one, became quite good at asking questions that eliminated the most people very quickly. She would flip those characters down with a “It’s not you, you, and you” and a sly smile.

As fun as it was playing that game with my kids, the sad truth is too often we play that game in real life discounting people for their physical characteristics or even how they talk. I must admit that I’ve been guilty of that myself at times and it has ended up biting me in the backside almost every time. I can recall a couple of specific times that I was eliminated at first glance.

The first was as a freshman at college. My school at the time didn’t have much of a student center but it did have a snack bar containing a pool table. I was watching some guys shoot pool. They were honestly not very good when one of them had to leave for a class. The other three wondered how they could continue so I offered to play. They literally argued over who was going to be stuck with me. The loser was not too pleased with the outcome until I broke and proceeded to run the table. I hung the cue stick in the rack with a wicked smile and offhandedly mentioned that we had a pool table at home as I was growing up. The other mike drop occasion was after we had closed out on selling a home. We would not be able to close on the new home we were purchasing for about a week so I had a rather large check in my pocket as we walked down the main street of our town on the way to our car. My wife and I were pushing our child in an umbrella stroller and we’re both in nice shorts. We decided to check out furniture in one of the stores. It was considered an “exclusive” furniture store and we just wanted to check for anything we would need in our new home. Apparently the snooty saleswoman believed we were less than her idea of clientele because she approached us saying, “I don’t think we will have anything in your price range.”. I would probably just let it go now that I’ve mellowed but I did not at the time. I pulled the sizable check out of my pocket so she could see the amount saying “We were looking to buy some furniture today but I guess it won’t be here” and promptly left the store which gave me my “Pretty Woman” moment.

The Bible is full of people that the world would never guess who God would use. When Samuel went to anoint a new king, he was sure that the older boys would be selected because they looked the part. David was the last of Jesse’s sons that anyone would pick. Goliath laughed at who was sent out to fight him. Well, David probably turned out to be Israel’s greatest king and Goliath was ready to put another victory notch in his belt right up to the time that rock hit him in the head. Even Jesus, the very Son of God, was completely disregarded by almost everyone because He did not fit the profile of what they were looking for in a Messiah.

1 Samuel 16:7

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees,[a] for man sees what is visible,[b] but the Lord sees the heart.”

Isaiah 53:3

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of suffering who knew what sickness was.
He was like someone people turned away from;[a]
He was despised, and we didn’t value Him.

Each Friday I participate in the FiveMinuteFriday.com challenge to write for 5 minutes on a prompt word. Today’s word is guess. I know I went in a peculiar direction but with Father’s Day approaching I couldn’t help but remember all those games of Guess Who and the little lesson from it.

A Side of Green Beans

With Father’s Day coming up Sunday, I want to take a moment just to thank God for having such a godly man for a dad. He wasn’t perfect but he wasn’t supposed to be. He loved Mom and taught us how to love our wives. He was tremendously proud of us and always was willing to spend time displaying his famous hook shot or just play a little catch. He refused to stop and ask for directions before gps was ever a thing. Dad was a big believer in the idea that I may be lost but I’m making good time. He was not demanding but one time he told Mom that he worked hard and expected some kind of meat on the table. As I said earlier, he loved Mom passionately and completely and was never quite the same after she passed. After Dad made his feelings known about meatless meals, I can’t remember too many dinners that didn’t meet his criteria. There was one item that Mom often included on her menus. Dad’s mother was not what most people would consider a good cook. I guess having 10 kids it was a chore just putting food on the table and if one didn’t eat it, there were plenty more behind that would finish it off. One thing she did cook well was green beans and potatoes. This is probably where Mom got the idea that Dad loved green beans. I must confess that green beans are one of my favorites perhaps because we were served them often. It wasn’t until after Mom was gone that we discovered that we didn’t know Dad as well as we had thought. We were sitting around the table for a Sunday lunch and my sister-in-law apologized for not having any green beans. To the surprise of all of us Dad replied, “To be honest, I’ve never really been that fond of green beans.” He kept his displeasure silent for almost 55 years of marriage to Mom. We laughed about his revelation for quite a while after that and green beans became less of a staple after that.

So thank you once again,Dad for being such a great example what a godly man, a loving husband, and a caring father even if you were not keen on green beans.

Proverbs 22:6

Teach a youth about the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Psalm 34:8

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!

I’m not too sure Dad would have listed green beans as one of the things that would be good.

Stir the Pot?

About 12 years ago, we had moved Mom from a rehab facility to in house hospice care. It was a hard time for our family knowing she wouldn’t be with us much longer. If she had been aware of where she was, she would have hated it but she was pretty much out of it. The cancer must have spread because she appeared to be in quite a bit of pain. The hospice folks were great and did their best to alleviate her discomfort. Mom would groan constantly after any movement until the pain medication kicked in. Although she didn’t really respond to our talking, singing to her seemed to soothe her. Mom always loved hymns and southern gospel music so any of us that could carry a tune and some that couldn’t would sing and hum to her to comfort her. As good as the care was at hospice, there was a problem. The first two or three days, someone would periodically come and turn her to prevent bed sores. After they would stir her up, it always took quite a while to comfort her. Their intentions were good but realistically Mom really only had days remaining so bed sores were not our main concern. I requested several times to stop this practice because it was agitating Mom. Finally one of the nurse aides brought a supervisor into the room so she could document our wishes. Without those interruptions, Mom rested as peacefully as possible listening to her beloved songs until she passed several days later.

When is it appropriate to stir the pot? There are definitely times that needs to be done. Food often sticks if you don’t mix things up a bit. Sometimes I get too comfortable in my relationship with God and He needs to stir the pot for my own good. Sometimes, however, stirring the pot is not the right thing to do just like Mom needed to be left alone. Unfortunately some people love to stir the pot just to agitate the situation to cause agitation. We live in a world that loves to be busy for busy’s sake.

I can’t say for sure but I feel in my heart that even though Mom didn’t respond verbally to us, she was being still and worshipping God through our singing.

Psalm 46:10

10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

Each Friday I participate in the FiveMinuteFriday.com challenge to write for five minutes on a prompt word. Today’s word is stir.

One of Mom’s favorite songs was Beulah Land. I know she would have preferred a gospel quartet version but this Casting Crowns version is pretty good.

A Tale of Two Weekends

This past weekend can best be described as diverse. Saturday was a great day because we got to see our granddaughter. We took a playhouse that my wife and daughter had purchased at a yard sale to my daughter and son-in-law’s home so of course any day is a good day when I get to see our little pumpkin. Our sweet granddaughter is crawling everywhere now so much so that her dad had to install a gate on the stairs to keep her corralled. After her nap, my heart leapt for joy because I thought she was going to crawl all the way across the living room to get to me. Pride goes before the fall for sure. When I thought I would have bragging rights to how much she loves her Grandpa, she heard her Mom’s voice and remembered where lunch was to be served so Grandpa was out of luck no matter how much I cheered and encouraged. We got to see her enjoy some watermelon that would have delighted my Mom. Finally I was able to complete my only successful construction activity by reassembling the playhouse that at least bolstered my masculinity somewhat.

Then there was the opposite end of the spectrum on Sunday. The day started off well at church but that only resulted in having further to fall when I hit rock bottom. I was hoping to be able to finish the bathroom job that seems will never end on Sunday afternoon. Memorial Day weekend, we installed vinyl shiplap on the ceiling to eliminate or at least abate the unevenness of said ceiling. All that was left was what I have come to view as a curse word, crown molding. Because my wife and her Mom had installed crown molding in the bathroom years ago, my beautiful bride assured me it would be a breeze. Unfortunately the breeze turned into Hurricane Lavatory. I’m sure my Mother-in-law was laughing hysterically in heaven at my attempt to install the cursed crown molding. Even Jesus with his carpentry experience was likely smiling and shaking His head at my ineptitude. I will admit that I was less than confident because my brother, who is a capable builder, avoids crown molding installation like the plague. We had borrowed that brother’s miter saw which was supposed to make it easier. Yeah right. To say our walls are uneven would be the equivalent of saying the Grand Canyon is a hole in the ground so we are starting off at marked disadvantage. According to the numerous YouTube videos we binged on, crown molding must be cut upside down and backwards. For some reason, my brain was incapable of translating those orientations to my hands. No matter how many times I cut it, the pieces continued to be short. I lost track of how many times I thought I had cut a right hand return for the end of a run only to discover that it was in actuallity a left hand return. I finally accomplished a right hand return that Bob Villa would have envied only to have the tip break off. By the end of the day, I think I was completely upside down and backwards from dealing with the right and left hand and inside and outside corners. Before it was over I had no idea which hand was which. As the mistakes kept repeating and mounting along with the sufficient supply of material dwindling,. I thought it best to call it a day before I lost a necessary appendage not to mention losing what small bit of sanity and manhood I still had remaining. Maybe I should look on the bright side by heeding a bit of wisdom from Thomas Edison. I didn’t fail. I merely discovered 1000 ways how not to install crown molding

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven:
a time to give birth and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to uproot;[a]
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to tear down and a time to build;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;
a time to search and a time to count as lost;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to be silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.

Yesterday was definitely not a time to install crown molding.

Get a Clue, Will Robinson

I realize I’m showing my age when I make a reference to the original Lost in Space television series(Not the Netflix reboot). The same thing happened in almost every single episode. Young Will Robinson would be doing something he probably shouldn’t have been doing and robot would start swinging his vacuum hose looking arms shouting the warning “Danger, Will Robinson, danger!”. Rewatching an episode now and even the newer version, I can’t help but wonder if the robot ever got tired of warning Will about the eminant danger. You’d think after a while it would be like “Get a clue you big dummy” but it never did.

I must admit that even as an adult who should’ve known better, I have had my own get a Clue, Will Robinson moments. One occurred several years ago when I led a group of highschool students from our church to help rebuild one of the churches that was destroyed in the Gatlinburg fires. I drove our church’s 15 passenger bus on the trip. It wasn’t allowing the student to install insulation high in the rafters of the auditorium that was so dangerous because I made sure everyone wore safety harnesses. No it was the decision I made to go for a hike during our off time. The students wanted to hike to a water falls that was located on top of one of the mountains. I drove the bus to the start of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. I saw the sign that prohibited RVs and buses but thought that it didn’t apply to our short bus. The hike and the falls were beautiful but the robot would have definitely been screaming in my ear the entire trip. Danger! It was a harrowing drive up and down a narrow winding one lane road. Several times I had one of the students get out of the bus to check and make sure the bus’s tires would fit on some of the narrow bridges and the top would clear rock outcroppings. On several of the switchbacks I believe I saw the rear of the bus beside me. Not to mention what was not one of my prouder moments, leaving my wife at the falls restroom area and driving a couple of 100 yards down the hill before realizing it. We definitely could have had several altar calls before reaching safety down the mountain. All because I didn’t heed the warning of danger.

The Bible is full of people who were warned of danger but thought they knew better and then got themselves in trouble. It started with Adam and Eve in the garden. The nation of Israel, God’s chosen, constantly ignored God’s warnings and then wondered where God was. Jesus warned Peter that he would mess up but Peter thought he knew better right up to the point of his denials.

Just like the signs that told me not to travel down that road and the wooden guard rails that prevented us from plunging to our deaths, God wasn’t trying to keep all those people He warned from enjoying a good thing. He wanted what was best for them while keeping them away from danger. Today He doesn’t send a robot to tell me “Danger, Will Robinson, danger” but He does give me warnings in other ways if I will only listen and heed them.

Genesis 2

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, 17 but you must not eat[a] from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”

Each Friday I participate in the FiveMinuteFriday.com challenge to write for 5 minutes on a prompt word. Today’s word is danger.

A Fish Out of Water

It’s Memorial Day, a time where we stop to honor those who have given their lives in the service of our country. I do want to thank and honor all those who have made this ultimate sacrifice. This includes those like Dad who gave their time and served our country honorably in any of the armed forces.

Having worked pretty much all weekend installing a ceiling in our downstairs bath in an attempt to level it out so we will be able to install crown molding, I decided to take the day off from doing chores giving my back some rest. I want to thank my older brother for coming to my rescue and framing out the unlevel ceiling so that we could install shiplap planks to comprise our new ceiling.

As I took the opportunity to rest my weary body, I pondered on something for today’s post. Also this weekend, our relatively new neighbors hosted a cul-de-sac party where we shared stories about the history of our little street, many of which revolved around our dog, Gertie.

Please don’t think that I am attempting in any way to trivialize the sacrifice of any of those brave men and women that we honor today but this is one of the stories that was told at the party that involved sacrifice of another kind. In order to properly set the stage for this story, I need to provide some background regarding Gertie for any those unfamiliar with our own version of the Tasmanian Devil. Gertie is on an invisible fence collar so she has the full run of the yard. When we still subscribed to the newspaper, it was a challenge to race Gertie to the delivery before she scooped it up and turned it into as many pieces of indistinguishable origami as possible. This game extended to any packages that were and still are delivered to our front door. Gertie’s trophies include a college textbook, a pair of pants my wife had painstakingly waited to go on sale, and any number of other packages that were deposited into her domain. In order to win the package delivery game, I constructed a box on the front porch for deliveries. We are able to win the game as long as delivery people abide by our rules for a successful delivery. We also have a very small pond with a waterfall in our backyard which today’s post revolves around. We periodically kept small goldfish in it with some living quite a long time through even the most adverse conditions. We were hosting a Backyard Kid but the pond was devoid of any inhabitants at the time. I cleaned the pond and purchased about six or seven small goldfish to stock the pond in anticipation of amusing and entertaining the children who would be attending the backyard Kid’s Club. I worked in pet shop while in highschool so I knew of the importance of acclimating the fish to their new surroundings. I floated the bag of fish in the pond but apparently failed to obtain Gertie’s approval of the new pond inhabitants. She gingerly grabbed the bag out of the pond and immediately gave her new companions a whirlwind tour of the backyard. When I say whirlwind I am in no way exaggerating. She shook the bag as vigorously as possible flinging and scattering my new purchases throughout the backyard. When she was done, she surveyed her handiwork with the biggest doggy smile she could manage. Goldfish are not very good at hide and seek especially when out of their element. We “saved” those we were able to locate in the grass and placed them into their new home. I’m certified in CPR but it doesn’t translate well into the fish kingdom and we eventually lost all of our new friends. I did buy some replacements but for their sake, I immediately placed them in the pond without the suggested acclimation period. Despite Gertie’s desire to set the fish free, they really don’t thrive out of water.

Genesis 1:21-22

21 So God created the large sea-creatures[a] and every living creature that moves and swarms in the water, according to their kinds. He also created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 So God blessed them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the waters of the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.”

What Doesn’t Kill You

Each Friday I participate in the FiveMinuteFriday.com challenge to write for 5 minutes on a prompt word. Today’s word is heal. I must give credit where credit is due and thank my wife for the inspiration for this post. When I first saw today’s word I had no idea where I would go with this but my love immediately pointed me in this direction upon hearing today’s word

Because I work in the medical field, sometimes I fall prey to the idea of “Physician, heal thyself.” The problem is that I’m not a physician and even if I were, I think the saying about a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client is an apt analogy. Many years ago I went to a dermatologist about what I thought was a rash on my thighs. The doctor deduced that it was a type of fungal thing so I self treated the symptoms for several years. My wife insisted I go see another dermatologist to get total body mole check. In the coarse of the exam, the new doctor suggested a biopsy of the affected area. After multiple biopsies sent to several specialists, the conclusion was it was a type of skin lymphoma. It was a scary word but I did my best to give it to God. I was referred to another specialist of that type of disease in Nashville. This specialist prescribed a “mild” (This is a relative term much like minor surgery is what other people have) chemo agent called nitrogen mustard. I had been applying the medicine for about 2 weeks when l developed an intense itching in that area. We were set to move our middle child (oldest daughter) into college as a freshman on a Thursday. That morning the itching had intensified and there was significant swelling in an unfortunate location that made walking difficult. I was determined not to ruin my daughter’s move in day and decided to grin and bear it. The college hosted a “great move in day” where students aid in moving new students into the dorms. The problem was the assistance tended to be for cute underclassmen and their moms and not so much for dads that were attempting to hide their discomfort and difficulty walking. Of course, our daughter’s dorm room was on an upper floor so I made multiple trips up and down the stairs. We even went shopping at Walmart to pick up anything that we missed. I had purchased some of the instant ice packs to sit on when possible but the swelling refused to go down. We finished the day, kissed our girl, and left her at a party at the school’s BCM. Once we were in the car headed home I swallowed my pride and confessed to my wife what I had been dealing with all day. It was about 90 minute trip home and we went straight to my hospital’s ER. Neither my wife nor the ER doctor could believe that I had been walking around with that degree of swelling. The doctor was unfamiliar with the properties of nitrogen mustard and suggested contacting my specialist as soon as possible. Luckily I had taken off the next day but the specialist was unavailable. I contacted my original dermatologist and she worked me in at the end of the day. Of course, she advised to discontinue the treatment which I kind of already figured out and prescribed medicine to reduce swelling and alleviate the itching. The good news was that my allergic reaction apparently kicked my body into healing itself and I have been disease free since. I’m not really sure if what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger but as I moved our daughter into college that day I was not too sure I wanted to make it. I guess in the end with God’s help even if it was using a severe allergic reaction, my body did heal itself.

There is a story in John chapter 5 about a man who had been sick for 38 years. Jesus knew this but asks the man what seems like a silly question, “Do you want to get well?”. I was like duh when I read that but Jesus had a reason. I do know that God heals and answers prayers. I don’t understand why God heals some people and not others but He wouldn’t be God if He did what I think He should.

John 5

One man was there who had been sick for 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had already been there a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the sick man answered, “I don’t have a man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, someone goes down ahead of me.”

“Get up,” Jesus told him, “pick up your mat and walk!”

I apologize for once again exceeding my time limit but I guess this one’s on my wife.