Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Snot Express Is Leaving The Station

How much snot can the human body POSSIBLY manufacture? I seem to have picked-up on a well known "teacher syndrome." They tell me that new teachers often get sick because they are exposed to the germ-riddled world of the common kid.

Well thank you for the warning.

There are 10,000 bees stinging my throat. The top of my head feels like Mt. St. Helen's. And, perhaps worst of all, I am leaking like a "High Ranking White House Source" in an off the record press conference.

Drip. Drip. SNEEZE. Drip. Drip. SNEEZE. Drip. Drip. Drip. SNEEZE. (Sometimes the sequence throws you off a bit.)

Sometime around 5:45 this morning I woke up with my wife climbing all over me. I admit it. My first thought was ... "SCORE!" Then I realized my cell phone was ringing. I had not noticed it because my ears had been ringing all night. She answered my phone to hear one of the local school districts ask if I would be available to substitute teach today. She looked at me. "Uhhhh ... I don't think so." She hung up. The next thing I remember it was after 9AM and I was alone in bed. My phone was not ringing anymore but my ears still were.

Bailey the Killer Beagle does not have any experience with my sneezing potential. This is the first truly bad cold I have had since she came to live in our home. (I bought her for thirty-five bucks out of a shopping cart. I want my money back.) She has seen Debbie and the kids sneeze. No big deal. They are minor league sneezers. Ladies and gentlemen, I am in the major's. When I am really sick I can put out fires and knock birds out of trees. One of my best sneezes would serve admirably as a tornado siren in our little suburb. Unfortunately, I cannot sneeze on command. But when I sneeze today Bailey runs for cover. She likes to cuddle up next to me on our infamous "date chair" (named such because our kids like to cuddle with their dates in our big fuzzy buddy.) She gets good and close. And then I sneeze. The first few times the poor dog nearly left her fur on the chair as she dove out of the way. By her bedtime she simply looked at me like I was a pile of C-4 explosives and ran off to her cage. She's a sissy.

I have never heard of anyone dying from the common cold. Tonight I may make history. All symptoms seem to be coming together for my demise. It is very possible that during the dark of night I will sneeze, cough, hack, and wheeze all at the same instant. I do not believe that this tired old body could take that. In the morning they will find me. CSI experts will be called in. They will check the room for prints, test me for Rigor mortis to determine time of death, and slice me open to do a thorough autopsy. No need. If you hear of my death please ask the coroner to simply read this blog. If he is worth his pay he will immediately realize that I expired by turning myself inside out expelling bodily fluids.

Please. Keep the casket closed. Cremate the remains. Scatter my ashes over any Colorado or Utah ski resort. Remember me the way I was before I blew up. Oh, and if possible ... toast my memory with a good hard nose blow into a fresh Kleenex.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mind boggling, gut wrenching, heart breaking ... grief

Today was a horrible day in the life of our country. Indeed, in the life of the entire planet. Thirty-three lives snuffed out on a university campus in a couple of hours time. Virginia Tech is a huge and highely respected campus with students from all over the world. As I write this there must be countless parents in the United States and many other places waiting ... hoping ... praying for a phone call letting them know that their kid is alright. Such agony does not register in my brain.

As we watch the news channels and the networks show the video footage over and over and over we would do well to remember a few things. Things that seem to slip our minds during the ordinary mundane days.

First, life is precious. It can be gone as quickly as the trigger of a hand gun can be pulled. Once it is gone it is not coming back. There are a lot of people that I am remembering tonight that I need to hug more often.

Second, evil is real. You cannot totally avoid it while residing on planet earth. It will find you and those you love. True, it will find each of us in varying degrees. But it will find you. On this day, while thirty-three lives were ended abruptly at the ugly end of a gun barrel, a little five year old girl was killed in Ferndale, Michigan. She was on her schools playground with about twenty students and her teacher when strong winds pushed the schools flag pole down, hitting and killing her. Her life ended in full sight of her kindergarten class. A little girl. A play ground. A flag pole. Three innocent items. Three items that make us smile and bring us laughter and joy. Mix them together and add a gust of wind and what do you get? Tragedy. The parents of that little girl are just as sad, just as shocked, as the parents of the young adults who were murdered in Virginia. It happens. You cannot predict it and you cannot stop it.

Third, God is the only one capable of making sense of it all. How can He do that? I have no idea. The wounds are too fresh. The blood is still wet. Not all of the next of kin has been notified. How can we even pretend to have an answer yet? How can we begin to guess how God will bring good out of tragedy? No way. Not yet.

You see, right now is not the time to preach. It is not the time to point fingers and blame names. Now is the time to cry. Mourn. Weep. Tonight there is no rhyme and no reason. There is only loss. Do not attempt to force God's answers before He reveals them. Do not declare His intentions before He declares them. Do not put words in God's mouth. You will wind up looking stupid. And you will hurt people.

Hug those you love. Call those you miss. Touch those who are nearest and dearest to you. REALLY touch them. Tonight is a night that we all need to be touched by another. A hand on the shoulder, a hug around the neck, the caress of a cheek. Those things speak volumes on nights like these.

Weeping comes for a night. But joy ... joy comes in the morning. It is still night. Let us weep. And most of all ... let us pray.