Strange things happen. As a man of faith I believe everything happens for a reason, not necessarily a singular point, but for a variety of outcomes. But some events appear so completely unnecessary, so freakish, the only answer to, “Why did this happen?” is, "Because." Oh how we find ourselves in crazy conundrums! I’ve been in a few recently, and I don’t know for the life of me why!
The joy of Christmas filled the morning. I hurried home from church to scurry to my brother’s house. Kind of an over-the-hill-and-through-the-woods trip, he and his wife invited me for a Victorian Christmas. My wife was traveling to Missouri to tend to her recuperating sister, so I was alone for the week. I was looking forward to the brightly decorated and charming home of my eldest sibling.
With bag packed, I swirled to the refrigerator to grab one more item. The light was on, but no cold was home! I glanced at the green glowing LED lights. “OFF” they blared as I glared at the nearly tepid food. Ugh! I’d failed in fixing the control panel just a few months earlier. Not finding any replacements on the interweb, I held out hope the unit would hold. Well, it finally gave up the Christmas ghost - of all days!
By the grace of God and while sacrificing only two packs of freezer-burned hotdog buns, I managed to stuff all of the contents into the backup freezer and fridge.
Traipsing down then up then down then up the two short flights of stairs, I packed 22 cubic feet of perishable items from my dead 14-year-old fridge into my 20 cubic foot, 23-year-old fridge in the basement. By the grace of God and sacrificing only two packs of freezer-burned hotdog buns, I managed to stuff all of the contents into the backup freezer and fridge. No use freaking out over the blown unit, I hopped in my truck and was gone. I was so thankful I wasn’t hosting company.
Why do these things happen at the most inopportune times? To test our patience? To give heaven a belly laugh? I have no idea. I do know I handled this frustration much differently than I would've years ago. And for that, I am thankful. How boring my life would be filled with peace, calm and predictability!
A few weeks later I was comfortably tucked into bed. Somewhere between sleep and cognition, I had the strangest feeling. I was barely able to discern what the warmth on my leg was before it was too late. My senses kicked in! My eleven-year-old was peeing on me! As I pushed him aside, I jumped to my feet - right in the middle of a puddle of pee! What the heck! Feet soaked and thigh drenched, my attitude was just slightly left of annoyed. I wiped up the urine, scolded the culprit and with exhausted determination, went back to sleep.
I wracked my mind trying to think of a reasonable explanation.
At first light, I described to my wife the evening’s event. She laughed at my middle-of-the-night escapades. I wracked my mind trying to understand what eternal purpose this held. The boy had gone to the bathroom before bedtime. How on earth is being peed on in the middle of the night any benefit? Did I miss a “teachable moment”? I did learn that microfiber sheets repel pee.
With not more than a week passed, once again I lay sleeping. And again, somewhere between bliss and bewilderment, I heard a strange sound from under the sheets. “Blurpppppgh!” And much like the evil evening of yellow secretion, I felt wetness creeping through my pajamas. “What now?” I thought as I tried to gain my bearings. My eleven-year-old was at it again, only this time he gurbbled. “Gurbbling" is our cute way of saying “vomit”. I don’t like vomit. I don’t like doing it, saying it or even hearing the word, let alone feeling it seep through my clothes. With a murky mind and physical fatigue, I simply rolled over and closed my eyes. Yes! I. Went. Back. To. Sleep! Covered in gurbble, I smelled like kibble!
I know it’s disgusting, but I was not in the mood to face my reality. I figured, “I’m wet and stinky, but I'm warm.” And so, I returned to slumber land.
Why do crazy, bizarre, wacky, nutty, things happening for no apparent reason? Frankly, I’ve given up trying to understand the eternal significance of night vomit and urination. But what I have learned is this, how I respond to these events can make all the difference for myself and those around me. I could’ve yelled at my eleven-year-old, tossed him outside on the leash and roused my wife from her sleep. My dog would be scared, I'd be just as frustrated and I’d have an upset wife; no sense in both of us being awake. I didn’t grin, but I bore it.
I share these stories because sometimes there's a conglomeration of events for which no explanation exists. It happened…because. But how we respond in those times can make all the difference. We can drag people into our momentary hell, but what good does that do? What purpose does it serve other than to illustrate the “misery loves company” cliché. So, in the next week, I pray you’re dog doesn't pee on you! But more importantly I pray that in those moments when insanity meets reality and life leaves you scratching your head as to why something happened, even if you’re about to explode, you respond well. Consider those around you, how you'll affect them and choose wisely your actions and words.
Maybe one day I’ll learn why my Westie chose 3:00 AM to pee and vomit on my leg. Until then, I’ll try my best to respond better than I did the day before to seemingly senseless, ill-timed events; events for which I have no explanation. I'll be praying for you, too!