Koontz and Emergency Rooms

I think that authors of creepy books, like Dean Koontz, spend time in Emergency Rooms. Besides nearly being fiendish with torture devices designed to help you, the people are pretty weird too. Everyone in the emergency room is sick or injured–including the doctors, nurses, and staff–I mean that in the “You don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it helps” kind of way.

When I was admitted to the Emergency room after my accident, I was strapped to a gurney and had a neck brace on–this meant I couldn’t go anywhere or look anywhere. That’s a weird feeling–they parked the gurney out of the way; leaving me to feel very much like a delivery of TP that someone would take care of later. From thereI went to a wheelchair–which was designed to only be movable by someone NOT in it. Again limiting my field of view to whatever happened to be infront of me and mobility to next to nothing.

Speaking of that wheelchair, it does have a flaw, by reaching behind oneself and disengaging the brake and reaching around oneself one can pull oneself along the furniture–a feat I marvelled at by some fellow scarfing ice on my second trip to the Emergency Room.  Did I mention how ODD people are in the Emergency Room?

Anyway, after having my blood pressure taken again and telling the story again–Remember in any bureaucracy everything is done in duplicate or triplicate–Or were they checking my cognitive skills in remembering the details of the accident? Hmmm. Sneaky doctors and nurses.  So anyway, my brother showed up and we had to make the call I dreaded–calling mom and telling her I had been in a car accident. I love my mom, but I hate thinking that I’m gonna worry her and a call that starts with “Well, I was in a car accident” would worry her. So we called dad.  Which was cheap of us I know, but  I’d just been in an accident–NOT a brave time of life.

After assuring both of my folks that they didn’t need to come down to the hospital, I waited. and waited..etc. This could be a boring blog, but that would be dull. So, ever notice that the emergency room is full of sick and injured people. I know, duh, right? It does make for interesting people watching.

After a bit, I was shown back to an examination room–more blood pressure and repeating my story. Did I mention I was in a neck brace. Imagine a piece of hard plastic that grinds against your chin and ears if you move your neck–or if you don’t. That’s a neck brace. I think my ears by this point must have been turning red. I got to lay on a bed, but in a neck brace that is almost worse. My brother and I have a good sense of humor. Which is nice–it really takes the edge off to have someone joke around with. Then finally, the doctor showed up.

Again with the blood pressure and repeating the story. Esh, Doctors, I’m sane, or at least no less sane than normal. At least I thought so, my brother said I was blabbering–maybe I should tell the story again.

Finally, I get a CT scan–Which means a cat scan–why they don’t call it a cat scan I don’t know. So, they run me through a giant plastic donut, and I watch as a the weird lights inside spin around my neck. Fun, fun.

This is when the story gets WAY too much like a Dean Koontz story. I get put in a recover section–which is half-a-dozen recliners not really separated by curtains. Two ladies and their husbands are in two of them. On the other side of me, is a Mexican fellow that has dozed off while hugging his work boot. So in this dimly lit corridor, the ladies and husbands are talking about how they swiped extra medical gowns for modesty, while the Mexican fellow is talking in his sleep about when he has to go work the next day. Add to this that the recliners adjust with all the subtlety of a ragging water buffalo. You put the feet up on those things and it will slam around with a tender sweetness that will likely put you in traction. All it needed to be straight out of a novel was some fellow who innocently drops a note and says something like, “The bugles are blooming in spring.”   

Eventually, for no reason I could see, I was moved back to an examining room, and after another wait, told I was fine. I got to take OFF that neck brace. And after an idle threat to burn it, I went to my brothers house and devoured a cheeseburger. Ahh, cheeseburgers.

I had to go back to the emergency room later though. A weird nerve spasm caused my right arm, cheek, teeth, and tongue to be numb and tingly. (Did you know that your tongue as a right and left nerve side?) Have that happen randomly in your day and you’ll wonder what is going on in your body. After another wait in the waiting room, where I saw the determined ice muncher move the impossible to move wheelchair. I was back in through the half-dozen blood pressure checks and was about to check out.

A fellow was there eating graham crackers. He looked awful–but that’s normal–you don’t go to the emergency room when your feeling fine. He looked early twenties with a hood on. Then he started throwing chunks of graham cracker around. -Ah, just when you think it’s sane to go back to the waiting room. His mom was there, thankfully, and she told him to stop it. Then while she’s cleaning up, the Cracker chucker gets up and leans over to tell me some sort of secret. Cue the creepy music! Of course, if this was a novel, the message would be something like, “It’s in the water.” I don’t know. I held him back far enough that he didn’t get a chance to spew cracker crumbs in my ear.

God has a sense of humor. Look at all the interesting people that He made. You can check ’em out at the zoo, Wal-mart, or, if you sick or injured, the emergency room.

The Day I Tipped a Suburban Over

This Christmas break, I will be honest, has not been a productive one. It wasn’t bad or anything, it’s just that, if I am honest with myself, I don’t think I used my time wisely. Yesterday, I had a dentist appointment at 3:30. So around about three I grabbed Charlie Chan in London and my brother’s Library book that I was going to return on the way, got in the car and headed to the appointment.

We plan a lot without really running it by God. I know I do. (Before you get all super spiritual at me, when was the last time you prayed about when to schedule your bi-annual dental cleaning.) I headed off for the dentist–minding my own business. I got into an interruption. Life is full of interruptions–As my brother is fond of saying, life is messy and that’s okay.–Well anyway, the interruption, by no choice of my own, was a red suburban. As I was traveling through the intersection, this red suburban pulled left out in front of me.

I don’t think life slows down in an emergency; not really anyway. I slammed on my brakes, but I knew it was too little too late. My mind let me know I was going to be in a traffic accident, and I believe my emotional response was something like “Oh, bummer.” My car, which I have always loathed, colidded with the red suburban, faithfully deploying the drivers and passengers airbags–which I now heartily endorse.

Airbags in real life are nothing like what you see on TV. It happened so fast, I cannot tell what it feels like to hit one. I just know I was driving, then this white pillow was in my way–it felt like being restrained by a seatbelt, which was thankfully doing it’s job too.  My car must have been just low enough to tip the suburban over on its side.–Turning this simple t-bone accident into a roll-over. (On behalf of my low-profile vehicle, I apologize to those of you in high profile vehicles–they tend to get tipped over.)

Another effect of the airbags deploying was that the Charlie Chan DVD and the library book were slammed into the passenger seat–this caused the library book to destroy the DVD–which is completely unimportant, but since I grabbed that Netflix DVD out of the car with the keys–it is good story telling to tell you that that broken DVD was with me through the rest of this story–the library book, riddled with guilt at having assassinated another form of entertainment, was hiding in the car and won’t be included in this account any more.

I doubt you care, and I certainly hope you never have to experience it, but Air bag gas is disgusting smelling. The car was now at a complete stop–it won’t be going anywhere under its own power again, and the cabin was filled with smoky disgusting gas. I remembered a commercial about what to do in an accident–turn off the car! So I did, and then not feeling any pain got out. Another fact slammed into my brain–if you’ve been in an accident, you could be in shock–so sit down! I never thought those public saftey commercials were any good–I now fully disagree.  So I sat down, next to the driver’s rear wheel and waited. I now knew I would NOT be making my dental appointment.

Response time is an important thing for the those in emergency situations–well, my accidents response time was less than a minute–A police crusier was going through the intersection at the same time and a fire truck was two cars back waiting for the red light. I never suggest accidents but if one must have them, right infront of the police and fire-department is a good place to have one.

They checked me out and the driver of the suburban I tipped over. I don’t know how she is. but apparently she was talking when they took her away in the ambulance–they also suggested I go to the hospital in an ambulance too. (I certainly wasn’t going to get there in my car.) I consented to go, the only thing that hurt was the tip of my nose, and the insides of both of my arms which got a little scraped by the airbag. But I could feel the huge jolt of adrenaline going through my body, and I firmly believe on erring on the side of caution.
The trip was uneventful, although I was tempted to wave at the people in the cars behind us. I’ll make two observations about ambulances–one, the gurneys are very narrow, not made for those of us that have as the paramedic said, “sucessful American syndrome” Two, God is good. As I was going I made the observation that maybe the accident was from God trying to get my attention. “That seems a little harsh,” the paramedic said. (his name is Randy–If you read this, thanks for everything Randy) I thought about it and said, “maybe this is God’s way of getting me a new car.” Randy said it was better to be optimistic about it.

I don’t know–the next day, my car seems ridiculously unimportant–but I’m safe and sound, and God has much more of my attention and gratitude. I don’t recommend it, but traffic accidents have two very good side-effects–one, they remind us we’re mortal. Two, they remind us to be thankful for everything. This morning I woke up, a little sore, but nothing like I was expecting. I have never felt more thankful for standing on my own two legs and being able to walk. It was easily the happiest I’ve been all Christmas break. It might be harsh, but I’m very thankful for it.

The hospital visit was interesting * (*meaning a whole other story made even more so by the stupid neck-brace! You’ll have to wait for another post about that one.) I am going to be a little sore, but I’m fine. They prescribed a mild mussel relaxer and ibuprofen. My family was very concerned and I thank them for their love.

So now to answer the questions I’m sure friends want to know. 

No, I don’t think it was my fault-neither did the police officer at the scene.

Yes, my car is totaled. No, I don’t really care about that.

Yes, I’m fine. It was a horrible experience I hope to never repeat.

I don’t know the other driver’s condition. I hope and pray she is all right.

I’m sorry it happened, but I wouldn’t have it any other way–God knows best. It was His car. And I’m His too. He’s fully allowed to with both His car and His son as He sees fit.  He’s never let me down before and even if I hadn’t been fine, He never would have.  I’ve never been so thankful to be alive or so aware of my mortality and dependence on God.

And it’s all thanks to the fact, that yesterday, I tipped a suburban over.

On Beauty and Women

Okay, I’m a guy. I don’t get it. I’m close; but really, I don’t get it. Let me explain. I came up with, what I thought was, a fairly nice movie plot. In it, an evil witch avoids death by body swapping with her attractive young apprentices. One of her smarter apprentices doesn’t trust the witch, but “tests” the spell—locking herself out of her own body. Enter heroes, sword fights, lots of daring do—and in the end the hero gets his girl back –but she is in the other apprentice’s body. I even made it fair! The other apprentice gets the first girls body and her own beau. And they all live happily ever after.

I thought I had made a pretty romantic tale. A man proves his love for his girl—loving her even though he thought she was dead; loving her, even when she moves into another body. It is HER he loves. Not her looks, not her beauty—HER! For crying out loud, it’s supposed to be romantic! Then the other apprentice gets a guy who is interested in her! Not her looks, Her! AND both guys tell their girl when she is in her new body-they totally think she’s hot! So I tell my little tale in a car drive in Colorado. I think it’s romantic.

I was wrong.

Both ladies in the car are like “Nope, won’t work.” Both of my poor heroines will be spending the rest of their days wondering if her man really loves her or that other one. Ouch. But looks aren’t what is supposed to be important so… “Nope, won’t work.” Hmm, I need to do some thinking about this interesting creature called woman.

Okay, yes, I agree God doesn’t make junk and women are pretty. Some a beautiful and some are able to reduce otherwise cogent men into mumbling fools. I get that; I’m totally NOT unintelligent in that regard. But, hey, beauty is only skin deep and all beauty fades in time and it’s what is on the inside that counts: that’s what’s really important, right? 

 YES! And No. Ah, don’t you just love clear answers. Get used to it men, women are an enigma. But a solvable one.

No, beauty is not what really counts, but don’t go thinking it doesn’t count either. According to Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn’s book For Men Only, women have this inner worry about their looks. They describe it as a little girl asking her daddy if she’s pretty. Women apparently want to hear and want to know that their significant other thinks she’s pretty.

So when my heroine switched bodies, she really would have this constant nagging child telling her, “He doesn’t love you, he loves that other lady.” And of course, your really can’t end a fair tale with, “and she was an emotionally tormented basket case for the rest of her life.” So any woman would look at my fairy tale and say “NOPE!”  

Hmm. Interesting. I’ve got a wonderful little romantic fairy tale all women would really hate. I bet there are men who would pay extra to see a romantic flick their wives are retching at. And it has sword fighting! I see a market niche! Hmmm.

I guess a better thing is to tell all you men out their with a significant other. I really didn’t know it was so big a deal, but it is. Hey, guys, women need to hear their beautiful—you think she is. So tell her!   

Who Would Jesus Bomb?

This week, at the library, I was confronted with a rather interesting question by some bleeding heart’s bumper sticker. It asked “Who would Jesus bomb?” I got the feeling that this person would say “no one” but I don’t agree. Not that my opinion is anymore valid than that of the average bumper sticker owner’s opinion. It isn’t a matter of opinion, but the facts of the Bible.
First of all the Bible is clear, Jesus and God are not “respecters of persons.” (Acts 10:35, Ro. 2:11, 1 Peter 1:17) They do not have favorites but treat everyone justly. Even God’s chosen people the Jews weren’t exempt from God’s judgment. He brought the Assyrians and Babylonians against them—they were destroyed with severe judgment.
Of course, if a person’s view of Jesus is a pusillanimous, pacifistic sentimentalist then this news of Jesus’ totally righteous judgment is shocking. They will bring up their “go to” complaint that “A loving God would never…”
However, the Bible is also clear about judgment. God and Jesus are not going to let anyone get away with anything! Jesus, in Luke 13, talking about some violent deaths that had shocked the community, said that unless we repent, we will all perish. The fact that repentance is available is proof of Jesus’ love, but the fact of judgment proves His holiness. In Revelation, Jesus is the one that will destroy the nations with the “sword from His mouth.” (Rev. 19) The people in the tribulation are fleeing for their lives from the “wrath of the Lamb.” (Rev. 16:6) Jesus will judge. Jesus will punish. Jesus will kill. His judgment will be so terrible that the people of earth will wish He would only bomb them.
Let us never forget that Jesus Christ is not only loving and merciful, but also just and holy. The answer to the bumper sticker’s question is scarily enough “EVERYONE WHO DOESN’T REPENT.” Flee the wrath to come, run to Jesus, repent, be made new; or, friend, there is a bomb in heaven waiting to bomb you.

Where is home?

A recent and unsuccessful bought of house shopping has me wondering about something. I have been blessed; especially in the area of finance. First, God taught me to save as a kid. Second, I have no debts to speak of. Third, I have a job I enjoy. Fourth, Alameda Bible Church has let rent their parsonage for the last year. It is a really nice house.

While I’m counting my blessings, I guess I should ask my question. When and how does a house become a home? A house is a thing. Like a rock or stick, it’s just a thing. But when you live in it, you start to take part of your individuality and start organizing the house with it. Events and enjoyable moments start oozing into the woodwork, until we view the house as a home. I think we humans are far too fast to put human emotions into inanimate objects. I’m dealing with this because circumstances are causing me to move. What of the home I’ve made is coming from the house with me? 

My goodness, I sound depressed. Or maybe a little sad, and don’t worry, like Sally Sparrow said in Doctor Who, “Sad is happy for deep people.” So since I’m so deep and sad, I’m happy. And I am happy. No, that’s not true either. I’m blessed. So, what of my home goes with me.

I’m betting the lack of final destination is what bugs me the most. I know what to do with my stuff, and I know where I’ll be living in two weeks. But what I don’t know, is where I’ll be living in two months. Where will MY home be?

C.S. Lewis said that God has made man for heaven and it’s very hard for him to feel at home anywhere else. That’s true. We get into such a pickle thinking this place or that place is home. I don’t have a home here on earth. I’ll never have anything more than a house. My REAL home has been and will always be in heaven.

Here is a reminder from a sad, deep, happy little nut–Your home is where God is.

Credit Card Traps

Okay, I’m an oddball, but I’ve never been burned badly by the credit card traps. There are three that I know about.

ONE: The WAY to high interest rate. My credit card history is good. I don’t keep a large balance on them, but I’m still considerably over 20% in my interest rate. That’s steep. I can’t and don’t want to know what those numbers would be on a person with BAD credit history.  Solution: Don’t spend money you don’t have and pay off your credit card every month. IF you cannot do this destroy your credit cards and live by cash. (Oh, and grow up.)

TWO: Late Payment fees and credit history dings. The late fees for even a few days are annoying. Missing payments also goes on your credit report–which is the data that banks use to offer you loans for homes, cars, etc. Solution:  NEVER be late on a payment. Pay it on time in full each month. IF you cannot do this destroy your credit cards and live by cash and debit cards.

THREE: Spending more than you normally would. Most people will spend less if they use cash for everything. They start to be frugal since they see the dollars go bye-bye. But credit cards remove that from the equation so you spend more and save less. Solution: Develop a habit of frugal spending on every type of money–Cash, debit, credit, frequent-flyer miles, and Coke points. It’s is all money (which is only a means of exchange), so treat it with the attitude of frugal spending. IF you cannot do this, shread your credit cards and then purposely find the knowledge and maturity to grow into a responsible frugal spender and saver. I suggest Crown Financial Ministries, their website is Crown.org.  

Anyway, I thought I’d throw this information out for you. I’ve escaped these traps and want you to as well.

I’m beginning to hate the messed up characters

I like to write; which comes with other statement, I like to read. Lately, I miss the competent humans in books. It’s like the whole world has resigned itself to the fact that mankind is REALLY messed up. Many (if not all) the modern books I’ve seen are about–“Oh, wow, some horrible thing beyond my control has really messed me up and will continue to do so; but I must fight for something by creepy bordering-on-committable stalking and obsession.”  (I am thinking of Twilight by the way, but also basically EVERY other book in recent years.)

I like Dean Koontz; Now his characters are often (always?) messed up beyond reason; and, even though the bad guys usually get it in the end, I have a complaint. 

Here is the thing: I am a Christian–and as such, I have a world view that allows me to make sense of every given circumstance that I will ever encounter–This includes the supernatural, natural, normal, paranormal, kind, cruel, nasty, freakish, and quiet. So, I in my reading I have to muddle through the emotional angst of characters that come from the other side of the track.

These characters represent the nonsensical contradictory veiws of the humanist, the atheist, the pantheist, the Buddhist, or nature worshipper. And those are just the worldviews –add the usual self-destructive, lustful, self-loathing that comes with the worldviews and OUCH! I get headaches thinking about it.  

I like Characters that are not messed up by circumstances; I like the conquerors–the characters that look at the problem, and solve it. That take their problems and improve themselves by them. I like hope, confidence, respect, and courage. The Fellowship of the Ring that against all odds launches an attack at the greatest evil of their day. Aslan offering himself for Edmund. Miss Who as a star exploding-driving back the darkness. I like the people that don’t resign them to defeatist modern attitude.

I guess, like Jack, if I want books that I like to read, I’m gonna have to write them. (P.S. Anyone know who Jack is?)

The Weapons of Christian Warfare

Islam uses violence and fear, and they aren’t the only ones. Lies, manipulation, vice, and other weapons of mass and masses destruction destroy the truth out of spirituality and mankind faster than Kevorkian did away with his patients. What can a Christian do?

Well, for one thing, I stand firmly with those that say we must stand up and fight for what is right! (And if that means more than tough talk {and it does}, so be it!) But before I go off, I have to check the armory. What are my weapons? Hmm.

One: The first and most important item in the arsenal is…….Tada! TRUTH. Pure simple truth. It doesn’t get used that often. But it really helps morale to know that though you may be unpopular, slandered, hated, persecuted, etc, that YOU ARE RIGHT! ” So dust off that Bible and learn the truth. That’s what this fight is about after all–the father of lies against the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Two: This one is hard–You see the Bible (that’s the truth, remember) says “the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” Ouch! Loose the anger, that “righteous indignation” isn’t going to accomplish anything worthwhile. Uhh, I know! I absolutely despise the works of the wicked–I hate it with a perfect hatred! But that’s not the weapon–it’s joy

JOY!? Huh, the Bible (that TRUTH again) says “The Joy of the Lord” is our strength.” Well, that makes sense, people aren’t going to care about a “religion” that offers just more things to be angry about. The world is plenty angry and hopeless. Imagine total hopelessness; wouldn’t ANY joy and hope attract you like a fly to honey or a starving man to a sandwich. But when we’re angry, when we’re bitter–the world has all that; why would they want our version? 

“But it’s so hard to be joyful in this world!” you say, “Don’t you know about _______________.” Yeah, I know.  It is hard, but that’s because we have the wrong perspective. Is God on the throne? Is the world out of God’s control? Is perfect justice going to happen? Guess, what? The answer–from the TRUTH–to all those questions is YES. So, that means, We are winning. Pssst. FYI. I said we’re winning. We should live from the perspective of JOY–We’re winning! Yeah, it’s hard. Yeah, sin is disgusting, hurtful, horrible, and nasty. BUT WE ARE WINNNING!–smile, God loves you. You know how I know? He said so, in a book, a book about How much God loves you! If you can’t have a private revival service thinking about how much God loves you and how He proved it, you’re synical to the point of nauseating. (Excuse me, I need a tissue.)

 Okay, I’m back. WEAPON 3: I kind of gave it away already. Are you ready? This is powerful stuff, handle with care, oh, and use this liberally–Love. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that ye love one another.”

(Oh, time out! This is not that rather weak ridiculous stuff that you hear about it songs and poor movies–we’re not talking about romantic nonsensical smooshy sentimentality, but the robust, strong, passionate Agape Love that God has. Okay, sorry to slow you down. Time in!)

We should tangibly love one another as Christians and the lost world–they are the true victims of sin after all.

FOUR: Don’t forget to take a sanctified sense of humor. It really helps to be able to laugh at life. Remember, we have not been given a spirt of fear but of power, love, and a  sound mind.

So, Christians get out there and FIGHT! But remember, we dont’ fight like the world–cuz’ were not of this world.