Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

10 August 2009

I need you to do something NOW.

Sunday August 2nd 2009 5:30AM

“Dave... Jared is having heart pains. Get up NOW” my wife told me with a tone in her voice and a look in her eyes that I was quite unfamiliar with as I stirred awake. I'm not even sure there is a word for what I saw. What's fear and panic mixed with that adrenalin ram-rod thing that leads to those stories of super mama's lifting automobiles off their babies that you see on TV called? Whatever it's called... that's what I saw in Mama Bear's protective eyes.

I grew up in teacher's house where vacation meant that everyone was off for the summer. One wasted day didn't seem to mean that much. But vacations as a radio copywriter who lives on the promise of “perks in lew of pay”... are a precious commodity. Good friends of ours had invited us up to their cottage in Temagi Ontario... a day long car trip from home. The cottage is on it's own island, a 20 minute boat ride from the mainland plopped in the middle of a painting that hangs in our living room. I used to think that I'd like to live a place like Temagami. A little spot in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by rocks and water, where nobody would bother me with pesky life issues. I could be a bumpkin (which is loosely defined as someone who drives past a field of long grass and says, “hey... I should chew on some of that”)... sure... why not. Now, at the time, the issues I wanted to bail from were math class, girls who only liked me like a friend and my tendency to let too many short-hops go through my legs in leftfield... but none the less. The first time I got called a city-slicker for washing my hands, I realized I could never actually live up north. That, along with the realization that the chances of finding a of girl who liked The Simpsons, Field of Dreams AND me, were slim.

Turns out... it can also be tricky to find a convenient hospital from the middle of a lake too. I jumped out of bed to watch my son stripped down to his underwear in the bathroom screaming and shaking, shouting “My heart hurts!” I went white and swallowed the lump that had dropped anchor in my throat. I reached for his chest and his heart was racing. I suspected immediately that this was something serious because my son never complains about feeling sick. The first warning sign we ever get that he might be feeling any sort of illness whatsoever is projectile vomit. Sometimes we wish there was even a little bit of a puke air-raid siren first! So for him to be a flopping around like a mackerel not able to stop the pain in his heart... was serious and we all knew it. After 5 minutes or so, his pain seemed to stop and Jared climbed into bed with us shell-shocked by the wave of pain he had just experienced. He had barely laid his head on the pillow, however, when it came back... hard.

“Dave... I need you to do something NOW! I am NOT OK with this.” Neither was I of course... but I knew my wife needed my action. Lines had been drawn in the sand and the roles we each needed to play had been defined. She didn't want me to hold my son... that's what she would be doing come hell or high water. She needed me to make a plan of action and get the wheels in motion. There are times that I can be a bit of an indecisive guy. Well... actually that's actually not entirely true. I subscribe to the “Happy Wife... Happy Life” philosophy. And in my vast experience, I find that the male brain's method of decision making doesn't always a happy wife make. “Whatever you'd like dear” is not as jerkish as some ladies like to think. We just want you to be happy. Smiling nervously.

“I need you to do something NOW” is not the time for that. I picked up the phone and dialed 911 for the first time in my life. I was all of a sudden “that guy” from the movies or from the ER episode... I was “that guy” with the hysterical child in the background trying to stay calm answering surreal questions on the phone with a stranger. It almost felt like I was talking with a telemarketer asking me profiling questions trying to put together a hot new long distance package for me. It must have sounded like that to my wife too because as I was answering about what seemed like the minutia of Jared's medical history, she looked at me, exasperatedly threw her hands up, and shouted “are they coming or what???” They were... but it seemed that I had forgotten to mention those little details. Krissy exhaled and calmed notably as the latest round of Jared's pain subsided. “That all I needed to know” she said.

Sometimes the book of Psalms bugs me and I don't entirely get why it's the default "devotional" book. It's certainly the easiest to “let God lead you” to. You can get a vision of a Holy Ghost led verse in anywhere up to 150 chapters... and be right. Ever ask God what chapter you should read and he says Hebrews 15? Then you just flip on into James and hope nobody noticed? I mean, it's beautiful writing and all. It's got that whole “God-Breathed” factor going for it. And it's not that I don't like Psalms... but it's always struck me as a touch whiny.Here's David's writing formula for almost every Psalm.

  1. Crap crap crap... I'm under attack here
  2. Whoa is me... WHOA
  3. Things are really bad now
  4. Take me now Lordy
  5. Wait a second
  6. You're a pretty Big God
  7. Now that I think about it... you're a really good God
  8. I love him, I love him, I love him... (it's even funnier when you picture Kind David jumping around on Oprah's couch)

It just always seemed to me like David spent to much time whining and it used to bug me. Why couldn't David just be more like Paul? I can sink my teeth into a medium rare Paul-steak marinaded with a bold flavored “Go to jail for Jesus” sauce. I'm philosophically there with the martyrs. Everybody must get stoned!

But there's a lot of weakness, fear and 911 calls for help in the Psalms... on the way to the bold declarations of faith at the end that we like to sing to a with a hot new musical hook. Maybe God knows better than I do.Maybe Paul had the 911 calls too. It sometimes seems like David talks himself along the way to victory. Like it Psalm 28. David starts out by saying, “I pray to you O Lord my rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you are silent I might as well give up and die.” So basically he's saying, “I need you to do something NOW”. He goes on to whine... I mean talk about how he's been wronged by people who “care nothing for what the Lord has done”. But by the end... it seems like God did what he asked him to.

6 Praise the Lord!
For he has heard my cry for mercy.
7 The L
ord is my strength and shield.
I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

As we piled into my beat up Ford Windstar on the way to the hospital to catch up with my wife and son who had been taken away, feeling better in the ambulance, I began to feel the color come back to my face. But my head was swimming with thoughts. I thought about just how wonderful the Canadian health care system was. I was thinking about what a calming factor the EMT's that came by boat to the cottage were. I also noticed a line of thinking, very unique to my Christian experience.

I knew that I needed to worship somehow. Not a thank-you worship... or a party time worship... or really in any manor that was on my spiritual radio presets. I skipped my ipod past the Steve Miller Band Greatest Hits album to whatever the latest trendy hippy worship record was. I'm not sure what the breathy flavor-of-the-month worship guy was singing... but I was quietly singing “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will go strangely dim. In the light of His glory and grace.” As too-trendy-for-our-own-good, contemporary Evangelical types... we like feeling things. I person love those hour-long worship slow-jam sessions. The kind where you pretend you're a Holy Ghost beat poet over in the corner... saying our own things of consequence in “our own voice”.

But there is something beautiful about saying "I need you to do something NOW" to what the alcoholics call, “a higher power”. Step 2 has always seemed like the wild cat formation of the 12 steps to sobriety to me. I think about how funny and uncomfortable it would be for an alcoholic atheist to finally decide to back off the Smirnoff and be confronted with the “acknowledge a higher power” thing. Really? Step 2 doesn't explicitly say “Humble thy self before the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob and mark the spot of your conversion with an Ebeneezer Stone. Selah”. It just wants you to acknowledge that you need a “higher power” to make it through the day. It's a funky one because it's a big step to say... “yep there is a something bigger than me”. It's THE biggest issue mankind deals with and most spends the bulk of our lives trying to piecemeal together. But in a tiny circle of strangers talking about how Budweiser ruined their marriage... it's been found over and over that saying, “I need you to do something NOW because I can't do it alone”... just plain works.

On that van ride to the hospital to find out what was up with my son... I felt comfort knowing that I had someone bigger, smarter, kinder, and difficult to understand to worship. I felt comforted by a God that in my ignorance... I could look at a say, “I need you to do something NOW”. And He does it. I thought... “Even if I had no evidence, relationship, intimacy or feelings connected to God.... If this was all I got... I'd still believe. It would all be worth it”

Because I DO need Him. I can't do it on my own.
All of you is more than enough for all of me.

Long story short... my son is OK. It looks like he may have something called SVT that shouldn't be a long term problem and we had a wonderful holiday where God showed Himself strong, true and faithful yet again.

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Adam said...

for your comment on my blog. I'm glad your son is all right!

Adam said...

oops *Thank you........

Valorosa said...

Wow good commentary

I hope you have been referred to a specialist.

Patti said...

I am glad your son is OK. Excellent writing about it on your part.

Nine months after we were married, my husband had a brain aneurism, and my friend was that person calling 9-1-1, and then calling his sister; and then driving me to Toronto to follow the helicopter that had taken him away.

And I remember the exact same thing. Worshipping. Quietly singing and remembering God.


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