Saturday, June 6, 2009

NyQuil -A Non-Recovering Addict's Story

I'm warning you all- I just took NyQuil, and things could get a little delusional here. I might actually start making more sense. I am fighting some evil sinus infection, and I have called for re-enforcements in the form of a pretty green liquid. I remember my first experience with NyQuil. I was in high school. (My history of drug abuse and alcohol consumption can be summed up in this one story.) My mom and dad went away for a week and the only person they would entrust me with was a little old lady from our church, named Miss Bonnie.
She told me she didn't eat a lot of snacks so I should bring my own. I did. (I actually brought a lot of snacks, because I didn't know if I would like her cooking.)Every night in front of the TV the same scenario played out.
"Now, honey, if you want a snack go ahead and get one. "
"I will, if I get hungry," I'd reply.
"I mean it now. Just go ahead and get a snack. Don't just sit there hungry."
"I won't."
A few seconds of silence would follow, and then.
"Now if I was going to get a snack, I'd get it during a commercial so I wouldn't miss any of the show. If it was me...that's what I'd do..." she offered.
"Yes, ma'am." I replied.
"Commercial is almost over, I'd be hurrying if I was wanting something to snack on....."she urged, again.
After 5 more minutes of urging I get up to go to the kitchen.
"Can I get you anything Miss Bonnie."
"Lands no child! If I ate this late I'd be up all night!"
After I returned from the kitchen, we started a whole new song and dance.
"What you got there, honey?"
"Popcorn. Would you like some?"
"Lord have mercy no, those kernels get stuck between my dentures!"
Then a few moments later.....
"Is that butter popcorn?"
"Yes. Would you like to try some?"
" I'd better not, all that butter is not good for my heart."
"Are you sure?"
A brief moment of silence and then, the moment we have been working towards for an hour and a half...
"Well, I'm not going to live forever, and it's time to soak my dentures anyway." Out pops the dentures and in goes 3/4's of the popcorn.
Every night, same routine. I had to make three extra trips to the store for snacks for myself, and for the lady who never did lose a minute's sleep with her late night grazing. I opened up a whole new world of ice cream, Doritos, cookies, and 3 different flavors of popcorn for her, (and she entered that world wholeheartedly).

She was also one of those avid doll collectors' who cover their beds with a sea of ruffles and lace, with pudgy plastic faces peering out underneath hats. In this instance, my bed was the preferred method of displaying her treasures. Everyday, I unloaded the bed and loaded the bed. I felt like I was working 3rd shift at a daycare. I tied shoes, straightened hats, fixed braids, and found lost shoes. I finally got tired of it, and decided to add one more pudgy face in the middle of it all. I looked like a cabbage patch doll in a sea of Marie Osmond dolls.

She also loved to sing. It never bothered me that she couldn't sing until that week. She had a bass voice with a soprano heart. She insisted I play for her on the organ while she sang. She would sing, insisting I couldn't get in her key. Every time I would get remotely close, she would move to a new neighborhood, musically speaking. She was a refugee in search of a home. I told her to camp where she was most comfortable and let me find her. I never found her that week.

One morning I awoke sick. Miss Bonnie went to her medicine chest and found exactly what I needed. She gave me two cupfuls and said in a few hours I would feel better, and sent me to school. She was almost right. In few hours I couldn't feel anything. She had given me a double dose of NyQuil. (I could have used it the night before when I was accompanying her on the organ.) I was in la la land at school. I went to freshman math class and fell asleep. It wouldn't have been so bad except I was supposed to be in Senior English class. (Does it bother anybody else that the teacher didn't notice me there?)

I carried the same book to every class that day, because the numbers on my locker padlock kept running together. I went to the office begging to be allowed to go home, but unfortunately Miss Bonnie wasn't on the approved list for picking me up. I vaguely remember attending a session with my guidance counselor who was encouraging me to seek help for my drug problem. I told him after my nap I would. He didn't buy the story that a little old lady got me hooked. In PE, the gym teacher worked around my obvious impairment, and let me BE 3rd base during kickball. That day I received my highest PE grade ever. (Unfortunately they do not offer scholarships for impressive performance as a base mat.)

It was the longest day of my life. I was in and out of conscienceness all day. I slept and drooled, snored and muttered in my sleep. I don't remember lunch, except I found mashed potatoes stuck up my nose (apparently I inhaled them while sleeping on my tray)and later, and my friends said I muttered something about sharing the rest with Miss Bonnie. Most of my teachers were understanding, the few that weren't turned out not to be my teachers at all. When the cloud started to lift at the end of the day, I decided never to take another medication from Miss Bonnie again.

When I got off the school bus, I stumbled up the steps to Miss Bonnie's front door, where she greeted me with a handful of sheet music and and quick hello as she performed voice exercises, similar to those of a fog horn alerting sailors to danger. She was eager to start another session of musical hide and seek, and I was in no shape to play. As she spread the music in front me, I dozed off hitting the organ keys with my forehead.
"That's it! That's my key!" She excitedly proclaimed.

"Have you got any more NyQuil?" A bed full of plastic arms and legs, and scratchy lace was looking pretty good.

While I poke fun at Miss Bonnie, she gave me some beautiful memories that week. Every morning, while I picked stray bows from my hair and doll hair from my mouth, she would read scripture to me, and pray over me before school. Every day when I came home from school, she was waiting. For the daughter of a working mom, that was a treat. From that week on, whenever I saw Miss Bonnie at church, we shared a special secret, a deeper sense of friendship that I had with no other senior saint in the church and she had with no other youth. I thought it was bizarre my parents picked her to be my guardian that week, but in truth, it was God.

The potential for unexpected God encounters are all around us. We run into people every day, thinking it is coincidence, but in reality it is God. I really think it was not just Jesus' mission to win the lost that drove Him to walk those dusty roads each day. I think it was also His desire to meet face to face each of His creations that He had molded and formed in their mothers' wombs. He could look into the deep, hidden places of their hearts, yet He wanted to look into their eyes, and more importantly for them to look into His eyes, and see the love they would find there. He watched them daily. As He walked the streets of Galilee, everyone He bumped elbows with, some of who may have walked on without a backward glance, were not strangers to Him, but objects of an intimate love relationship they could not understand. They had just made contact with the most important person they could have ever met- the one relationship that could change their entire lives and even their eternity. But they were too busy to stop, too busy with the temporal things in their lives to see the eternal activity around them. It was on one such busy street, that as people jostled and crowded the Master, it was the touch of one woman who provoked a response. One woman who reached back, to the extension of the Father's love from Heaven, embodied in a man-Jesus. One touch of His garment changed her forever.
The one thing that disturbs me about this precious story, is why none of the disciples or believers who followed Jesus, could see this woman or her need. Were they possibly one of the very ones pushing and shoving in the crowd. Was everyone so busying "sticking" with Jesus, they couldn't see the needs of others still trying to find Jesus?
In this walk, with all the activity of life, where we daily rub elbows with the Master, let us not forget to be aware of those around us. In the temporal things of life, it is the eternal that matters. Some of the most striking anointed contacts I have had with people, have not been in a crowd, but on the outskirts of the crowd. Sometimes Jesus is the center of attention in a crowd, other times you'll find Him sitting by a well, waiting for a woman who He's been watching draw water her entire life. Don't miss that moment of contact. That one bump of a shopping cart , small talk while waiting in line, or chatter with your waitress, could be an opportunity to rub elbows with the Master. People matter to Christ, for whether strangers or friends, male or female, or even young or old, He died for each one. He wants to encounter them today, and that will only happen through us. Step outside your comfort zone, to reach those who Jesus would be very comfortable with.
That one week I spent with Miss Bonnie, effected my eternity. Would I have chosen that contact? Being a teenager, not a chance. But my parents were sensitive to God's leading. They gave me a gift. For though I remember no other names of Senior Saints in my church at that time, I remember her. And someday, in eternity, I will seek her out, and thank her for being willing to take in a teenager for a week. And there by the crystal sea, I may one day attend an outdoor concert featuring "Miss Bonnie" , where I will munch my popcorn and listen in awe to the godly woman who finally has a voice to match her heart. Don't worry, I 'll save her some popcorn too. I better save her extra- there will be no dentures in Heaven.
Wait! There will be NyQuil, right?