“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. – Isaiah 55:8
If you have been reading this blog for any time, you know that many of my stories are based on “Murphy’s Law,” (“Anything that can go wrong, will.”) – and on Romans 8:28 (“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”) When we see everything going “wrong” and later find out “it’s all good,” we have the privilege of gaining “divine perspective.” I have come to the conclusion that if there is a Murphy, he’s an angel whose assignment is to keep us all humble, patient, and grateful.
I had one of those “Murphy days” Monday. The schedule was – I thought – a simple one: Stop by the hospital for a blood draw at 8:30, proceed to another appointment about 10 minutes away at 9:15, then get home in time to grab coffee/breakfast/brunch with my daughter Kelly before she left to go back to her home town. The only negative in my day was that I had to fast for the blood draw. But I figured that would make breakfast with Kelly all the sweeter.
Then Murphy showed up.
I realized on the way that I had forgotten my cell phone, but going back for it would put me behind on everything, so I proceeded to the hospital.
Stuck in the waiting room with no cellular diversions, I did physical therapy on my hands and tried to focus on prayers. As the minutes ticked by, I felt the stress/impatience growing, and my prayers centered on my attitude. (Since my earrings displayed the words “Amazing Grace,” I didn’t want to deny that grace by acting like a jerk.)
I’m not sure what the hold-up was; I was puzzled to see one or two nurses standing around the lab, looking bored. After about a half hour, I went to the window to reschedule. I was told if I could stay just a little longer … I said I couldn’t, I had another appointment. (I didn’t want to be charged for a missed appointment, through circumstances beyond my control.) They said I could come back later.
As I drove past my street, I thought wistfully of how I had looked forward to grabbing a cup of coffee on my way to my second appointment, but then realized that because of the fasting order I probably shouldn’t, anyway.
Arriving at my second appointment, still without a phone to call from the parking lot as requested, I went in and waited for the receptionist to get off the phone. I was seated, waited in the waiting room, waited in the examining room, had my exam, and hurried back to the hospital.
By that time there were zero parking spots, and as I joined the other cars circling like vultures, I saw a man get into his car. I sat with my blinker on, waiting for him to leave but after a few minutes realized he was reading over all his paperwork. After another quick prayer for my attitude, I walked over and tapped on his window.
“Excuse me, are you leaving?” I asked – smiling. He said “Yes,” apologetically, I said “Thanks,” and he pulled out.
Back at the lab, the waiting room was full. Not wanting to be “that person,” I nevertheless asked as sweetly as I could if I had been placed at the end of the line again …
More prayers for patience, followed by a couple of pleasant conversations with others who were waiting. One of them let me borrow her phone to send Kelly a message. The other said she liked my earrings.
At about 11:00 I was called back and sat in the little room there waiting for the blood draw. After a few more minutes of fantasizing about coffee and listening to my stomach growl, the nurse came in and said, “Take off your face covering.”
I gladly removed it. “Um … why?” I asked, confused. The nurse laughed.
“I can’t get to your nose through it.” … My nose?
Next thing I knew I had a long stick up my nose, as I told her I was there for a blood draw, not a Covid test!
She glanced at the chart, said, “Your chart says ‘Covid test,'” and shoved a second stick up the other nostril.
(Now I was REALLY praying for my attitude.)
“No, I’m hear for a blood draw. It was supposed to happen at 8:30 this morning. And I haven’t had any food – or coffee – today,” I added with mock desperation. We both chuckled.
“Uh-oh,” said the nurse, “are you gonna get mean?”
I smirked. “If I do, just know it’s not you, it’s me,” I warned. She left to talk to my doctor.
[More waiting. More prayers. More attitude work.]
At last I got the blood draw, and after some joking around, I told her I was a writer, and opined that “If everything always went as planned, what would I write about?” She laughed and asked about what I wrote. I ended up leaving her one of my cards – which I wouldn’t have dared to do if I had let my impatience turn me into a seething monster.
As I drove home, I was thinking blissfully, at long last my morning (barely) coffee was merely blocks away!
But Murphy …
As the funeral procession passed, I pulled over to pay my respects. And wait some more …
OK, Murphy, I get it. There are people in those cars having a way worse day than I’m having.
Now I was finally praying for someone besides myself. And as my thoughts and prayers went out to the mourners and on to the horrific things happening all over the world, I knew how blessed (SPOILED) I am.
Prayer: Father, help us to focus beyond our own needs and wants. We know that You have promised to supply all our needs according to Your glorious riches in Christ Jesus,* and that if we delight in You, You will give us the desires of our hearts.** Help us to step beyond ourselves and use the power of prayer You’ve given us to impact the world in a significant way, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
*Philippians 4:19 ** Psalm 37:4