How Kindey Stones Reminded Me of God's Love
How’s this for “no good deed goes unpunished”? I took my kid to the doctor for a med check up. Sam’s twenty something nurse casually asked “Do you want a flu shot as long as you’re here?” “Why not? “blurted out of my mouth before I could burp. Blip! I am healthy and flu protected.
On the same day that I conquered the possibility of getting the flu, I started tearing out the back splash in my kitchen. With the dust tarps nailed into walls and a filter less shop vac the old man rookie went to work. The proof of the fact that I went to college is how I found out that the shop vac comes with a filter for a reason. Had the concrete from the back splash been black I would have started singing “I was born a coal miner’s daughter.” Air masks are wonderful things on TV, but I would have been better off with a scuba rig. Exactly twenty five seconds after I turned on the power air hammer and the shop vac, my kitchen became a war zone of dust covered nooks, crannies and edges.
How does any of this relate to the flu? I finished the tear out exactly 48 hours after the flu shot. At hour 49, I was in bed with cramps, vomiting and you can guess the rest. At hour 55, I noticed a slight pain; not in my ass, in my back. Left side. Right side. Left side. Both sides. Can you guess what the universe gifted me with? If you said kidney stones, you win the new fridge and washer and dryer combination.
Being the brave tough guy with a $1500.00 insurance deductible, I decided to gut it out. After three days of kidney stone boot camp I went to the doctor. He announced that I was the proud poppa of a 7.4cm stone! He further explained that we would get it out on the very next day! So, here I am, 1/4 inch of concrete dust suffocating the entire downstairs, workmen coming for the new back splash install and I am going to la la land (not the movie).
After the sonic boom in my kidney, Doctor triumphed that he was “cautiously optimistic” regarding the stone being small enough to pass. Five days later, I am cautiously optimistic that either the stone escaped quietly or that it is waiting for me to be in a really good mood before it rears its spiky head back somewhere north of my urethra.
What does any of this have to do with “you can’t take it with you”? Once again, I had forgotten that life is not about success, toys, achievement or manmade baubles. My agate adventure reminded me that eventually, something will get you. I am not invincible. Today it was kidney stones, next time who knows.
Once again, I was taught that slowing down, breathing each breath as if it were my last, is a better way to spend my time than hurrying, worrying and scurrying toward my eventual demise.
God presented me with information that I refused to appreciate. “Enjoy yourself little one”. Because I know better than God, I decided to work till I dropped. God allowed that as well. Sometimes, God teaches with a gentle hand, and other times, He stands back, watches my foolishness and waits for me to fall. After a good belly laugh and a “What have I been trying to tell you?” God picks me up, wipes my nose and holds my hand as I move on again. When I am somewhat normal, I move toward Him in faith. When I am not completely nuts I walk with Him in confidence. When I am open to His love, I see Him in messy snow piles and hear Him in quiet freezy breezes
I am reflecting on the events of the last few weeks in terms of needs and wants. I want to live forever. I need to have people appreciate me. I want to be as healthy as I can be. I need to be faithful. I want to be great. I need to be loved. I want to be remembered. I need the forgiveness of my Savior.
What is life, anyway? What difference does it make if I have a new house or if I have learned new skills? Ego makes me ponder this question. Ego is the driving force that promises oases by suspending reality. Ecclesiastes said it best, “Meaningless, meaningless says the teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless”. What do people gain for all their labors at which they toil under the sun?” Ecc. 1 NIV.
I forget that the only relevant information about life comes from relationships. My extended family and I are as close as a telephone conversation. Just don’t put us in a room together. Stupid, isn’t it? I am 61. My dad died at 62.
What relationships do I have that can be strengthened? What lives have I ignored that still need healing? Choice Theory teaches that all psychological problems are really relationship problems. This makes sense in light of a lost daughter. It makes sense in light of strained relationships with extended family. The past is always with us, but all we can do is behave in the present.
Living in the past allows me to let Ego control happiness or sadness based on my present moment preference. Mindful forgiving allows me to gift ownership to those who have hurt me. It frees me from slobbery slime storms that push me far away from present moment quietude.
I am mortal. I don’t want to admit it, but I am mortal. Does my ultimate meaning exist because I finished building a house all by myself? Does a timeline for completing a remodel project prove strength, thus an eternal monument to my valor? How important are material objects compared to watching new fawns playing sneaky peek outside my window? Will the bills get paid whether I pay them or not? Will life go on whether I am in this world or in the next world?
What makes more rational sense? Is it worry or is it gratitude? What is real rationality? Is it watching pine trees sway as snow conquers gravity or is it hurrying to the next minimum wage job? What can you take with you?
You can’t take it with you. You can’t take suffering. Thank God! You can’t take achievement. You can’t take worry. Thank you Jesus! You can take placid existence. Thank you Spirit.