Life takes a circuitous route

tales from the front pew

Life’s funny. In order to reach their desired destination, folks often end up taking a slightly circuitous route.

Our family experienced a perfect illustration of this point the other day. It started when my husband, Bob, came limping down the stairs.

“What’s wrong, Dad?” our daughter Valerie asked him.

“I don’t know,” he said, wincing with each halting step. “I did something to my foot and it hurts like crazy.”

“What did you do?” I asked.

“I don’t have any idea,” he said.

“Then how do you know you did anything at all?”

“Well, the shooting pain I’m currently experiencing with every step is giving me a subtle clue,” he said. “Not to mention the fact that it’s bruised and swollen.”

Upon closer examination, Val and I noted that it was, indeed, quite swollen and discolored. Unfortunately, this was Val’s cue to spring into action.

I say “unfortunately” because our daughter responds to medical-type situations with a mixture of panic and enthusiasm that, unsurprisingly, is less than comforting to the patient.

“Dad, you have to put your foot up right away,” Val told him, dragging a dining room chair over to the sofa he had plopped down on. “Here, let me help.”

Gingerly placing his foot on the chair, Val scrutinized the appendage with the concentration of a top orthopedist. “You know what you need?” she asked. “You need ice.”

“You’re right, hon,” he smiled, holding out his glass. “This tea’s getting a little warm.”

“Not for the tea; for your foot.”

“Oh, that’s not necessary, Val. It’s feeling better already.”

Of course, Val didn’t hear him because she was already in the kitchen with her head buried in the freezer.

“Here you go, dad,” she said a few minutes later, handing him a make-shift ice pack. “What are you doing?”

“I’m putting it on my foot. What else would I be doing?”

“It doesn’t go on your foot. It goes under your knee,” she said.

“Why would it go under my knee? It’s my foot that hurts. My knee’s just fine.”

“Dad,” she said with an exasperated tone in her voice, “everybody knows you don’t put the ice directly on your foot for something like this. You put it under your knee and your circulation sends it down to your foot where you need it and provides a numbing effect.”

“What happens if the circulation gets confused and the ice sends the numbing effect up instead of down?” I asked Val. “Your poor father might lose all feeling in his derriere.”

At this, Val rolled her eyes in annoyance. “Considering the fact that you both work in a hospital, you and dad have absolutely no medical knowledge.”

“That’s because we’re chaplains. If you think he needs prayer, I’m the person for the job.”

I don’t know if Val was right or wrong, but Bob’s swelling went down.

Our lives don’t happen in a straight line. Often, we take a variety of circuitous paths before we end up on the right one. It took some time, but I’m glad my path ended up leading me to the Lord.