Thursday, September 6, 2018

Be Still

Somehow, I wrote this in February and failed to publish it.  Perhaps, it wasn't meant to be published until now...

“Be Still”
Tommy Deal, February 28, 2018

I do not know if I can be identified as a “Type A” personality, or one who is driven.  What I do know is for me to sit still is odd.  If I were a child today I may be diagnosed with something that explains my constant moving.

Over the past weekend I found myself in need of doing “nothing.”  Susan, my wife and life-partner, will tell you that even when we do find ourselves with a slow, quiet evening at home and we relax in front of the television catching up on our favorite DVR’d shows that fast-forwarding through the commercials robs me of the time I have come to desire to get up and “do” something or “get” something.

Sometimes, however, the body seems to say, “Hey you! Sit!” I found myself like so many others dealing with “the CRUD.”  I first went to our Convenient Care Center with stuffy head syndrome.  I received a shot where the sun doesn’t shine and some medicine.  Two days later I literally could not breathe through the sinuses and got in to see the ENT.  After thorough examination I was diagnosed with acute sinusitis.  I sarcastically told the doctor there was nothing “cute” about it. 

Working among some highly qualified medical personnel on Friday I asked one to listen to my lungs to see if she heard anything unusual.  That morning she said other than one slight crackle in the lower lobe of one side my breathing was “text-book.”  GREAT! I thought.  I am “text book” and beginning to feel lousy.

I agreed to go on home for the afternoon and take it easy.  What really bothered me were the plans I had made now needed to be put on hold.  I was looking forward to riding-along with Dalton PD, an opportunity which I look forward to as one of their Chaplains.  And then the next day with promising beautiful weather I was going to hike the trail at Lula Lake with other associates of our health system.  Instead “be still” was in my forecast.  My energy was waning and I could feel tightness in the chest.

“Be Still.”  I know what it means; I just don’t know how to accomplish it very well.  So, with the help of my lap companion Chihuahua “Lucy” I proceeded to let the body rest.  Through the afternoon and evening the chest became more congested, coughing became quite intense and I settled in.  Susan was spared the brutal moaning, groaning and violent coughing thanks to our church’s Women’s retreat. 

I could write and say that this was a “spiritual” event in which I prayed and fasted, etc.  (I never lost my appetite, which is not a good thing!) My first step was to decide how much TV I was going to interject.  The second was to consider three books I needed to finish. (Oh, did I say I am NOT an avid reader?  Reading to me can be a chore!)  Two of the books are part of my current involvement in CPE, or Clinical Pastoral Education.  The other is a book my father had sent to me about a family from our hometown.

With the weekend ahead of me I made a conscious decision to hunker down Saturday and Sunday.  This was convenient as it would not cost me leave time from work.  When I got to Monday, however, I had to decide the cost versus the payoff – 8 hours of paid annual leave and perhaps be on the road to recovery, or work through it and continue in this funk.  And, in healthcare nobody really wants you coughing all over them.  Three and a half days I spent at home reading, listening to one book on Audible, watching a movie and napping.  The most exercise I got was taking Lucy for a short walk outside.

I must say that I kind of enjoyed it – other than the congested, violent coughing spells.  I never stopped to inventory the minutes I wasted and should have been doing something constructive.  I only calculated the investment in time to ward off the problems the ol’ body was facing.  A chest x-ray confirmed no pneumonia; I had no temperature and the medicines with rest were working.  I was back up to 100% -- or should I say, MY 100% which is probably about 80%.

It seems to me that when God said “Sabbath” he knew what He was talking about. BE STILL. . .

Monday, February 19, 2018

Speed Limits


Tommy Deal

What is it about posted speed limits that bother people?  Or, better yet, why do folks feel they do not apply to them, that they are merely a suggestion?  And, why are they so apologetic when they get caught and get a “Blue Light Special?”

Now, I must confess that I may sometimes find that I have worn my heavy shoes some days.  Particularly when I get out on the interstate and mere survival requires that I keep up with the flow.

But regularly neighbors in my neighborhood could care less the posted speed limit is 35 mph. (Disclaimer: I do not live within the city limits of our great city of Dalton!)  I pull out of my driveway with no cars within a quarter of a mile from my driveway; I accelerate to the posted speed and from out of nowhere a neighbor is running late to drop the kids off at school or get to the office and suddenly I become the bad guy.  At least I must be the bad guy as evidenced by the friendly gestures and mouthed words sent my way.

I applaud all the efforts our officers give to make us safe, including stopping some who apparently received their driver’s training from NASCAR.  It seems that when they are presented their “certificate of recognition” they are not so much repentant for their breaking the laws as they are that they got caught.

Speed Limits are posted for our safety and good.  Laws are written to give guidance to an order with which we should live.  Those who enforce the laws are instruments of maintaining a safe society for everyone. 

There are laws of science and nature.  For the most part these are givens within our world which provide the order with which we live.  Breaking any of these laws, too, have consequences.  Fall off a ladder and one will soon find that two laws of nature were broken, and now perhaps they are, too.

God, too, has given us laws.  These were not given to limit us or to break us.  They were given in hopes that those who follow them will find God’s original plan of love and grace.  Unfortunately, we each think that “a little over the limit” won’t really matter…unless we get caught.

The prophet Micah wrote, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Jesus, the Christ when quizzed about the greatest commandment (or law) said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Yes, there is other guidance Holy Scripture gives us and we should live as it instructs.  But I would surmise that if more of us would just follow these two, this world we live in would be a much better place. (And, perhaps we wouldn’t be speeding through life and missing the best parts!)