So I’m sure the headline caught your attention almost as much as it did the nurse who had the experience with me.
I haven’t had a primary care physician for quite a while because I am so rarely ever sick. But this year I decided it would be a good idea to find one and went in for a extensive physical to make sure head to toe everything was ok.
I wasn’t expecting to have an EKG done, but nevertheless was asked to take off my shirt and lie back while a fantastic nurse hooked all sorts of probes and wires to me connecting me to a large heart machine.
As I waited while these mini “jumper cables” were attached to me, I watched as she made sure the right probes were connected to the right pads. I reflected back to the one time I tried to jump start a car. I think it was my junior year in high school and my friend Kasey Peake’s car wouldn’t start after volleyball practice. I did in fact have jumper cables, because my dad had equipped my car with most everything you need to get it going. The only problem was, though I had watched several times, I was never actually taught how to use them. Seeing something done and actually doing it are two very different things.
But being the confident young woman that I was, I was sure there was nothing to it and we could figure it out. I knew the jest of how this worked, so I cranked up my red suzuki and attached the two red cables to my battery, (I wanted to match) then I am pretty sure I put the black ones on Kasey’s. Ever so sure of myself I instructed her to then crank up her car.
Now, what I expected to happen was her car to crank right up, we’d high five and be on our way… but the reality was quite opposite. As soon as she turned the ignitions, sparks flew everywhere. It popped and shook and smoke was coming out. I was so scared she was going to blow up in the car, and so hysterically laughing at how completely ridiculous I must’ve looked setting off fireworks in the high school parking lot as everyone turned around to watch the show, that I was BARELY able to get out the words “Turn it off, turn it off, ST-O-O-O-OP!” I was in tears I was laughing so hard. Of course, it wasn’t my car that was now smoking.
By this time I was too scared to touch the cables for fear I would be electrocuted so I motioned for one of the guys to come over and get these things OFF. I don’t remember how we managed to get her car cranked, or if she just came home with me that day but I remember enough that I’ve never attempted to jump a car again.
So as she hooked me up to this machine my eyes filled with tears of laughter as I wondered what she would do if she turned the machine on and I started popping and jerking and flailing around uncontrollably.
Though I am an extremely savvy businesswoman, I don’t always think about how my attempts at enjoying life in the real world, creating “memorable scenes” as Donald Miller & Bob Goff would say, may actually affect those who are unknowingly about to forever become a part of my story in a memorable way.
So for whatever reason, with Kasey’s car in mind, as soon as she got everything hooked up and flipped the switch on the machine, I started screaming and convulsing in a manner that I perceived most closely reflected how someone would react if they were being electrocuted. Sort of like Mel Gibson did in “What Women Want” when he fell into the tub along with a running hair dryer.
I will never ever forget the look on that nurse’s face. Her eyes, wide as a three year old in front of a birthday cake, her mouth dropped to the floor and she stammered around in a panic wondering what the heck was happening to me and if she should pull the plug, start CPR or just RUN.
I didn’t last very long before I again found myself laughing so uncontrollably I couldn’t speak. When she came back into the light and realized what had happened and that I was actually ok, fortunately she joined in laughing with me. We exchanged a few pleasantries and I just said “Hey, that’s just payback for you opening that door with me sitting here topless.”
She finished the test and then later I was told the EKG was normal, but she wasn’t so sure about my mental state. (Many of my friends could’ve told her that one without the $20 co-pay.)
One of the ways I believe God has gifted me, is in the ability to take risks and to do things other people may not even think about doing. Like Patch Adams and his red nose, my friend Sandy Griffin uses a similar approach to bring laughter into the lives of those who seem at their darkest point.
My best friend Baley says I’m the only person in the world that truly makes him nervous because he is just never really sure what I’m about to do. He also knows I would do anything in the world for him because I love him unconditionally and want only great things for his life. I guess I should take comfort in that because in a way that’s how I feel about life and what God is up to. I know he has an incredible sense of humor, and a handful of “first dates” that I’ve been on is proof of that! But, I am never really sure what He is going to do next. I believe ultimately He has a wonderful plan and purpose for my life, plans to prosper and not to harm me, (Jer 29:11) All too often I find myself trying to help him out, and in many ways limiting what He is able to do through me because I get caught up in the how’s and why’s rather than just living in the moment and taking each new adventure as it comes. I stop trusting the process and try to control where I am headed rather than truly surrendering to His perfect will. That’s a hard thing to do.
When I focus on creating these memorable scenes in my own life and for those around me, there is such a shift in perspective. It’s like my friend and mentor Bret Allen text me today reminding me that it’s because I’m “fully alive” (John 10:10) The theif comes to steal, kill & destroy. He comes to try and steal my joy, kill my spirit and destroy my hopes and dreams. But every time I take a risk and truly live in the moment, not only do I bring laughter and joy and hope to my own life, but I can see the spirit of those around me come alive.
Whenever I, for example, dance like Madea at Winterjam and one or two of my high school friends roll in hysterical laughter I see them forget about whatever may be happening in their own life and that joy “sparks” in their eyes igniting a new hope and at least in those moments, that hour, or that day there is hope for a better tomorrow. It opens up an avenue for me and I “earn the right” to speak into their life. No agenda, not ulterior motives, just a fully grounded love for them as beautiful creations, made in God’s image that I want to experience the promises of fully living. The promise that life as a Christian isn’t about this long list of things we “can’t” do, but it is, rather, a license to live freely, fully and without fear knowing that our creator has a plan and a purpose. It doesn’t mean everything will be perfect and isn’t a membership of easy living. When we can, however, take our eyes of the earthly, and focus on the kingdom, good things become great and bad things become annoyances rather than impediments.
Oh how I wish I truly walked in this freedom every minute of every day. I can promise you this though, I am sure trying and I bet that nurse will never forget the laughter we shared today. I would challenge and love to hear about a memorable scene you create this week for you or those around you. You don’t have to serenade Cracker Barrel (but call me if you do.) Even going out of your way to open a door for someone can change their day and in turn can change yours.
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* Many of you asked for more pictures, so here is a fun shot of my best friend Baley & I, just after a lesson in how to do a cartwheel… Truthfully, he makes me equally as “nervous” and I adore his love for life! (Plus, I knew if I posted a picture of him, he would absolutely visit and read this blog :))