I’ve had one of those weeks like Alexander. I’m not talking about Alexander the Great who wept because he achieved all his dreams as a young man. No, I’m talking about Judith Viorst’s Alexander. You remember him, don’t you? He’s the protagonist in her children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. I highly recommend a copy for adults as well as children. As a matter of fact, adults need it more than most children I know.
Anyway, I’m having an Alexander week. A few weeks ago I came down with an allergy related laryngitis. My doc gave me a shot, some pills, and told me not to talk for the rest of the week. (A major difficulty for me personally and professionally.) I was able to squeak through the following Sunday’s sermon and would have been okay with being silent for another week, expect that we had 9 grandchildren visiting that next week. There were too many stories to tell, St Louis Cardinals games to watch, and games to play to keep silent. I wouldn’t trade that week and the talking I got to do even if you promised me a James Earl Jones voice.
Sooo, they headed home to Oklahoma on Tuesday and are already missed. (Cardinals games aren’t quite the same.) My voice is still quite squeaky and its been three weeks, so I’m endeavoring to be as silent as possible. In other words…..No Talky.
Wednesday morning rolled around and as I was cleaning my glasses, the frame broke. I knew the frame was cracked and I needed to replace them soon, but I was waiting until company was gone. They are broken in such a way that super glue and duct tape won’t work. I’m juggling between my reading glasses (seeing up close) and sunglasses (seeing at distances of 3 feet and beyond). It is especially comical when I sit in my easy chair at night and watch TV wearing my sunglasses. In other words…..No See-y.
Soooooooooo, Thursday my gout started acting up and was pretty severe on Friday. Fortunately, my doc called in a prescription to ease the pain and reduce the swelling. The past few days I’ve been hobbling around like Festus or Grampaw McCoy. (Both of whom are almost as stylish as Sue and I.) Baby Boomers and those older know of whom I’m speaking. Millenials, you can Google to catch up. But I digress. In other words……No Walky.
No Walky, No Talky, No See-y. What a week.
I could roll up in a ball and have quite the pity party like my good friend Alexander. Of course that means I’d have to isolate myself from the rest of the world. I’d have to ignore everyone else’s circumstances with the desire that they focus on me and feel sorry for me. The problem with that plan of action is that my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week really isn’t that bad.
This week one of our sons stood by the side of a friend and his family when one of their young family members went not through one, but two brain surgeries. A friend of ours texted to tell Sue & I that her grandfather had a stroke the other day. Wild fires in California are driving people from their homes and they are losing everything as I type this blog. I could go on, but you know what I mean. The things I mentioned about my week are not good things. I was in severe pain. My throat does hurt and talking is an occupational necessity for most preachers. There is great frustration in switching glasses back and forth and night time is just plain weird. Oh yeah, new glasses are not cheap.
I could look beyond myself to others who are having worse times than myself finding some comfort, but I won’t find peace. Genuine peace is not found in my circumstances, but in my Savior. On more than one occasion, Jesus noted that we will endure hardship, pain, and suffering. At times, these situations come because some hate the Gospel and go after God’s people. On every occasion, the pain we experience comes because we live in a fallen world. Jesus came to show us that we can overcome sin’s effect. That doesn’t mean we will never experience pain or sorrow or suffering in this world. It means that we can have the peace that passes all understanding if we have Him. We can know these things are temporary. One day, those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior will live in a new heaven and a new earth where all will be as it is supposed to be. We can know that we are neither alone nor neglected when we endure the hardships of life because Jesus has promised to be with us in every moment of life. Beyond this, we know that we have a Savior who knows what its like to hurt, to have friends walk away, to be misunderstood, to experience not the only the pain of losing a loved one to death, but to experience death itself. We have a Savior who provides us with brothers and sisters in Christ to walk with us and share both our joys and sorrows. They lift us up when we are down and give us the opportunity to lift them up when they are down.
No talky ….. Its hard, but I have enough voice and will be able to preach tomorrow. For the rest of the week, I have a notepad and sharpie. I can communicate.
No walky ….. Truth is, I’m already feeling better. Beyond that, I have a friend in church who deals with gout from time to time. He will tease me mercilessly, but he also commiserates and understands my pain. I also have my late father-in-law’s cane to help me walk and a stool to sit on while I preach if needs be.
No see-y …. This is kind of an overstatement. I can see. I can read. Its frustrating, but only that. In a week or so, I’ll have my new glasses.
All these are temporary, but Jesus isn’t. He’s my forever Savior, Lord, and Friend. He’s given me the gift of family, church, and life. He gives me not only the strength to endure, but joy and peace to overcome and thrive. As the hymn writer wrote, “Hallelujah! What a Savior”.
While there were frustrating moments, this was a good week. My identification with Alexander was more ‘tongue in cheek’ than anything else.
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