The Medic in the Mirror

I was at work when this one happened, but Brittany, my wife, told me the story when I got home. She was washing dishes when Quinton, our youngest, came running from the direction of the kids’ bedrooms, pointing at the top of his head and screaming “boo-boo mama! Boo-boo!” at the top of his lungs.

She had soap all over her hands and kissing boo-boos is a delicate thing, so she quickly began washing the soap off. “Boo-boo mama! Boo-boo!” he cried as he did a little dance, obviously due to the terrible pain. She finally got her hands rinsed and dried off, turned to her patient, but he had grown quite. He stood there stone still with a slightly offended look on his face. Bringing his hand up to his own lips, he gave it a smack, transferring the healing power of the magic kiss to it before delivering antidote for his pain to the top of his head. After plopping his palm down on the affected area, his face brightened then he spun around, rejuvenated and once again prepared to face the world.

I didn’t get to see it, but the mental picture her story created cracks me up every time I think about it. I also see a great parallel there: This world is riddled with people waiting on others to fix their problems. A lot of liberals think Hillary is going to fix their problems, while many conservatives hold out the same hope for Trump. Don’t get me wrong – I know that whoever is in office defiantly affects our lives, but I think Dave Ramsey put it best when he said that the person you see when you look into the mirror is the solution to your problems (loosely quoted). Though many times, what we see is also what created the problem.

Such is the case with Jason, my main character in “Beneath the Tombstone.” I believe what makes his story unique is the fact that he created the situation and the obstacle he had to overcome. But I didn’t let him wallow in the mire of self-pity for very long. He didn’t wait on others to fix his problems. Like Quinton, he realized that the solution was in his own hand (though the cure was nowhere near as simple as a kiss).

We should never give any mortal, other than ourselves, reining power over our live’s problems. So pick yourself up; God don’t want you down. Kiss you own “boo-boos”(I can’t believe I said that ;-). Give yourself permission to give guilt the boot. Yeah, kick it on out the door. Yesterday you may have created the problem you face today, but don’t dwell on the past. Today is today. Yesterday is gone, so let it go. And focus all your attention on the blessing of now. Realize you’re stronger than what you face (and make sure what you face knows it too). Look in the mirror; you’re seeing the one who can bring the cure.

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BlogMartin Cogburn, author of Beneath the Tombstone

Fool Misunderstanding

It had been a long, hot day at work, so I was grateful for the reprieve of sitting in the car with our four kids while my wife went into the local grocery store to do some shopping. The kids were actually playing quietly and, as every parent knows, that in itself is an unusual thing. Therefor I took the opportunity to drift happily off to sleep.

A short time later, I was very rudely awakened by someone yelling outside my window. “Wake up!” the man yelled then laughed. “Wake up!” He seemed to really think he was something; he had a girl on each arm, and he strolled past me with a huge grin on his face, like he’d just won the funniest fool of the year award.

Okay, I’ll be honest… I’m confrontational by nature any hour of the day, but you yank me out of a beautiful nap and mock me at the same time? It’s, well, not good. I threw the door open and stepped around to the front of the car and yelled “Hey!” rather loudly. He never turned. Just kept right on trucking like the world was a delightful, fun thing put here just for him to enjoy. One of the girls, with her arm looped through his turned and mouthed the word “sorry” but never turned loose of him.

I stood there for a second in perplexed anger, trying to decide what to do; I couldn’t go after him and give him the top two reasons to never disturb a working man’s sleep – that’s right, a little lightning, a little thunder – but I couldn’t go off and leave the kids alone. Then I caught sight of another man out of the corner of my eye, following the three. He looked at me and said, “Hey bro, he’s mentally challenged.”

And it all made sense. The yelling. The happiness plastered on his face. The girls holding onto each arm, probably friends or sisters or something but, in spite of his condition, they had braved the options of others to take their mentally challenged friend out on the town… and so I soon found myself realizing something: this story did have a jerk in it but it wasn’t him.

I just turned around without a word and got back in the car. I mean, what could I say? “Oh hey guys, sorry for wanting to beat up your mentally challenged friend.” Yeah, there’s no coming back from that one.

It makes me think about the misunderstanding in my book “Beneath the Tombstone” where Jason (my main character) completely misunderstands advice given to him on how to be a hero to his wife which ultimately leads to her abduction and sets his whole crazy-train story in motion. And I stop and think of how much simpler it would have been if he would have just taken the time to sit down and listen and understand her (though it may not have made as compeling of a tale).

And then I have to wonder how much better off our world would be if we took the time to try and understand one another, from your closest family member to the stranger you meet and wonder what you did to her to deserve such an angry glare. You don’t know what she’s going through. You don’t understand her. Maybe if we took the time to say a few kind words, or at least give folks the benefit of the doubt and not write them off as a cynical old hag, we might start to see people in a whole new light. The way Jesus sees them.

Those of us that are parents: Have you ever realized that when our children do something wrong, that’s when we put the most effort into trying to understand them? We will move heaven and earth (and sweep the pits of Hades, if necessary) to try and discover what possessed our precious little angle to act like a heathen. “Boy, you look me in the eye when I’m talking to you.” Right? We want them to see our disapproval and feel the full weight that it bears.

Child psychologist have pointed out that we are highly more likely to look our children in the eye when they have our disapproval than approval. Why? Why are we so much more bound and determined to show our disapproval? Shouldn’t we be just as ready, if not more so, to show our approval? That’s what children build on… approval. That’s what humans build on. To look someone in the eye and tell them without words that “you have my approval. I understand there’s something good in you. I understand you are unique. I understand you have a purpose. I understand you.” One thing I can garentee, even if it doesn’t make the world a better place (and it will), it’ll make our world a better place. And isn’t happiness what we’re all after anyways?