Headlines from First Thoughts

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Family Photo

Drake Shiell

Hanging in There

“Hanging in there” always seemed like a normal prayer request for the Shiell baby. He kicked so hard on a trip to Jacksonville, Florida, that he put Kelly on bed rest when we returned home to Knoxville. We asked people to stop praying for Drake to “kick up his heels,” and instead to hold on. After Monday, I realized that apparently God and Drake took those requests literally. We arrived at “Aint Mary’s” dark and early at 6:15 a.m. (Whose idea was it to spring forward on the second weekend in March?) We assumed, “Surely this baby will not take as long as Parker,” who spent 12 hours traveling from womb to world. This little guy traveled at duck rather than tortoise speed.

Despite the many phone calls to the church, emails to the hospital, and concerns along the way, Drake was not to be prodded. He wanted to spend one more day enjoying the warmth of Kelly. I tried every trick in the trade that I knew. I fed Kelly as many ice chips and popsicles as the hospital would allow. I even tried the old superstitious-preacher trick. When at the hospital, Murphy’s Law of Pastoring is that the people whom you want to see arrive the minute after you leave. So I lapped St. Mary’s about 10 times. I greeted every television viewer in for cataract surgery that I could find; I even found one church member in the ER who needed prayer. And he prayed for me! I guess he could tell by the look on my face that I needed it. He suggested that I eat something in the cafeteria, but not even food would force Drake to arrive.

At 6:00 p.m., according to the nurse, we had at least 2 hours to go. But somehow when the doctor appeared at 6:15, Drake was one cough away from birth. We called the Big Brother and the Grandparents, all of whom had been circling the region. Three pushes later, he arrived safe and sound—and right on time—almost 12 hours after we arrived.

After Mom, Dad, a couple of nurses, and a doctor, Parker was the first to meet Franklin Drake Shiell. He climbed into the bed, surprised to see a brown-headed boy poking through a blanket, and went outside into the hall to announce the news to the grandparents. He only needed one word-- “Boy!” to capture the anticipation, excitement, gratefulness, euphoria, and love of a waiting family.

Sometimes you do get what you pray for, especially when all you can do is hang on. Thank God, it’s definitely worth the wait.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Doctor's Office

It’s getting harder to understand what’s happening at the doctor’s office. According to the News-Sentinel Monday, we are healthcare illiterate. Healthcare providers are replacing verbal signs with visual symbols to help people find their way through the hospital or medical building. If they can find the office, more people misunderstand a physician’s or nurse’s diagnosis and treatment. Medical professionals now recommend that patients ask three basic questions each time they go to the doctor.
1. What is my main problem?
2. What do I need to do?
3. Why is that important?

Lent is a time for questions, godly self-examination, and confession of the wounds of life. I think of it a bit like a 40 day visit to the doctor’s office. Imagine if we approached these 40 days with the same questions for the Great Physician. If we asked, His answers might be--

Our main problem: me
What I need to do:
Open my eyes to see the needs in front of me
Listen to the voices of correction
Exerience the forgiveness of God
Act obediently even when I don’t feel like it
Why is that important:
A relationship is not complete without daily reflection, communication,
and sacrifice for the One with whom we have a relationship

That’s why during the season of Lent we need the symbols and signs of the season just as much as the verbal instructions that are printed in the Bible. We use the symbols of a Cross, the Bread, the Cup, the Table, and the Body of Christ to point the way to change. When we ask these questions and listen for His answers, we are able to live abundantly in our relationship with Christ. I’ll be looking for you in the waiting room.

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