What is Drastic + Dramatic

Friday, February 12, 2010

Take That, Back

Here I stand triumphantly, if still in excruciating pain, because I got out of the top bunk and walked to and from the bathroom and didn’t fall. Funny the things we take for granted when we’re healthy.

Things that should be painless that I took for granted before this week:
Getting up
Lying down

I think I really must have done something awful to my back and no matter what I do to take it easy, it’s just getting worse. So, is it my bed? Is it bus driving? I think these were harmless before, but after mysteriously tweaking my back they serve as contributing villains in the conspiracy of bringing me down. But, this seems to be all I talk about lately. Talking, typing and thinking are about all I can do now.

There are always as many sides to a story as there are characters in it, plus one: God’s version.

Let’s say there’s a girl. What she knows is that she’s in a lot of pain and can hardly move. She sees that she’s in a country with laws partially foreign to her own and is unsure of what help she can turn to, or if she could afford it. She thinks to herself, “I’m not sure I can take much more of this.”

God sees all this and most likely wants to relieve the pain the girl feels. He knows He can work miracles and relieve all pain. The girl also knows this and carefully maneuvers her body to the floor, curling into a kneeling position.

“God,” she confides, “I understand that with mortality comes pain. I’m not sure what I even did to cause this back pain and so I’m not sure what will help it go away. I feel like I need this pain to go away. But if for some reason I need to bear this pain for now, I can accept that. I do need to work while I’m here in Canada and I’m not really functional with this pain at the moment. I really believe in miracles. I know that the Priesthood power provides for all manner of healing and I would like a blessing. I believe in the healing power of Jesus Christ.”
As is expected, God listens. He registers her faith and assesses the situation in its entirety. He can see all that. He can see everything. He is pleased to have the invitation to help a daughter in need and as always will do all He can and wills.

The girl lies back down, heating pad softly warming the aching joints. With hope she presses play to start the movie The Testaments on her laptop. The gentle music soothes her tender faith and the beautiful images remind her of the power of her precious Savior. How she does love Him.

Farthest from her mind are the pieces of paper hanging on the dorm container entry doors “This is a female dormitory. No males allowed.” Zach, a thoughtful Priesthood holder is on his way, and faith is gearing up for any possible miracles. A light knock at the door is answered, “Come in.”

Zach slowly opens the door and when he sees only the girl he suggests that he’ll wait until her roommate comes back. A very gentlemanly thing to do. Meanwhile, a girl down the hall ingests authority to enforce the rule previously mentioned, written on a paper, hanging on the wall. At the same time, roommate and another male friend and Zach enter the room together, with a little red tray of food for the immobile girl.

Zach proceeds, anointing the girl’s head with consecrated oil for the blessing of sick and afflicted bodies. The very moment he places his hands again on the girl’s head to give a blessing, another knock on the door is heard. Roommate answers the door and the girl down the hall presents her recruited voice: a bold lady with hair as strong as her will to enforce.

Without any attempt to understand the situation she demands that the males vacate the dormitory. The friend nearest the door slips out right away, hoping that his departure would be satisfactory and that Zach would go unnoticed. But roommate opens the door wide enough for Zach also to be seen. She commands that he leave as well.

Unable to move and filled with pain and emotion, the girl explains, “Excuse me, ma’am, my back–“ Strong Hair interrupts. “Whatever you’re doing can be done somewhere else, you cannot be in here.”

Then tears unhelpfully intrude. “I cannot move,” the girl says, “what he is about to do is sacred and—“

“You need to leave.” Hmm, she thinks we didn’t hear that the first time she said it, perhaps.

“What if I leave in two minutes,” suggest Zach very innocently.

“What if you leave now,” miss sassy pants continues. “When you signed up to live here you agreed to obey the rules, no males allowed.”

Loss of cordial patience, check. “Actually, I did not agree to that rule. But if you want to go tell on me that I’m breaking rules, go right ahead.”

Huffy exit of strong-hair lady, tattletale girl in tow, charging for rule police back up.

Finally, a moment of…relative peace. The girl was crying, already repenting for being short with the short-sighted woman, hoping that the Spirit wasn’t too far from her flustered heart.

Zach, the poor brave fellow, blesses the girl, nervous hands on her head.

God, the wonderful, kind Father, blesses the girl, masterful hands on her back.

Immediately the girl feels a loosening of cramped and tightened muscles. Still teary and a bit flustered she doesn’t mention it as Zach leaves, but she feels it. There is still pain, but she is mobile. On the floor she does a few tender stretches, and roommate fetches their clean laundry.

Another knock on the door. Roommate answers once again, this time to two males with authorization to be in the female dormitory. The girl on the floor notes how their position and official jackets qualify them to make exceptions to posted rules. The brutes’ hearts soften as they view the red-eyed girl on the floor and they ask what the trouble was. Roommate explains about a blessing and apologizes for being short with the woman informant.

The burlier of the two males proceeds to offer possible home remedies, suggesting this and that, as if there had been no disturbance, no reason for tattletales to come running. They radio for a female first aid attendant and when she arrives, the security squad leaves.

What God saw surely must have been entertaining. Indeed, being able to look on the heart should give His view a very well-rounded show.

He watches the girl’s heart swell with gratitude as she maneuvers with ease to the bathroom—a trip that took a full five tender minutes previously now only took two. The gratitude swells even to her lips and the joy of a miracle leaps from her lips in form of a laugh. But, she counsels herself, take it easy. She smiles and smiles.

The Priesthood power, the girl thinks later, is of the most precious gifts God has given to man. Well, perhaps it is the all-encompassing gift God has ever given. The creation of this world, the atonement of His Son, the current open from Heaven to man through the Holy Ghost: these all involve Priesthood power and have been given to undeserving man. A portion of this power is allotted to worthy men on this earth, to bless and brighten lives of everyone around them. What an honor, to hold a bit of God’s power. What a blessing on earth.

The girl remembers how two certain men wearing security jackets entered the building because their authority trumped the rules. She thinks how interesting it is that a single man, draped in invisible power with authority issued from God, broke rules to administer to one in need. His authority was not visible, but it was even more than kings, magistrates, emperors or crowns can command.

And that power of God connected to a sick daughter’s pain and relieved it, and continues to heal her. No other reflective-jacketed man or first aid attendant could have brought that healing. Whatever must be healed by faith happens through invisible power. A servant of God wears his faith in his actions and can be called in as a first-response authority. God be thanked for restored powers on earth.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Back vs Stomach

This morning I had the 0715 shift report time. The cafeteria opens at...earlier than 700, so I was able to go in and get a mixture of oats and yogurt and a couple muffins for the road. Oh, and rice krispies. So, I take my little red tray of food and decide to just stay on the bottom floor of the cafeteria instead of ascending to the second floor this morning, to save time and energy, and pain in my back. I tenderly lower my body at a table by my lonesome and I'm facing an older gentleman who is sitting, faced to my left. I chomp away diligently at my morning meal and don't think of much. I think of how I really love 'yoats' and how my back is quite tender and just try not to move more than my mouth. I hear the older gentleman make a coughing noise. No big deal.

A man and woman enter with their little red trays and set them down, a seat away and across from the left-facing gentleman in the orange toque. The man and woman left their trays to go get some jam and in the mean time, the orange-tipped man continued his hacking until he turned quickly and vomited in the trash can gratefully right behind him...ungratefully directly in my view. I think I paused...every muscle below my forehead and above my belly button, deciding what to decide to do about my current predicament, as he continued vomiting a few more times. As my eyes were in a moment of indecision, they continued witnessing his convulsing heaves. I peeled my eyes away and cast them toward my own food.

Here was the moment where I had to mediate between back and stomach.

"Ow," said my stomach.

"Ow, don't even think about it," said my back.

Why move seats when I was almost done eating just to get up, move, sit again, finish and then get up again, move again, etc. It was just too much to bear. My stomach was quickly disciplined and I let my back be the victor.

The other man came back and witnessed some of the vomiting and looked at me. I'm not sure what my face told him, but he kept looking at the vomiter, his food and myself, and it made me laugh. Not out loud, but enough to comminucate that I too was undone. but I also felt bad for the guy! It's no fun to vomit. And why oh why was he still stuffing froot loops and yogurt into his stomach if it was rejecting the thrown-out waffle being finely coated in syrupy vomit?

I don't know. I commanded my stomach to finish the yoats and I took my muffins, my red tray and my back out of the dining area.

Well, lessoned learned: go upstairs to eat.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Days Off

Besides the broken back, the nothing but good times continue. There are just so many things to tell about!

I got paid! That's always reassuring, that I'm not actually being mistaken as a volunteer. We all wondered about monetary materialization for a while. My fears are gone, and so should be yours...

My face wash smells like Sprite. Here in Canadia boonies I think of Sprite more than I have in my whole life. And that leads me to think of Italian sodas that my family makes now and again and it makes me miss those occasions. Hey out there, family that rarely reads my blog. Love you guys!

So, in the week of Feb 1-6 I only worked two days. So, with four days off in a row, Seth, Merilee and myself went to Victoria Island. It took a two hour bus ride connected to a 15 minute sky train to a 1 hour wait to a 45 minute bus ride to another hour and a half wait to the hour and a half ferry ride to another hour bus ride just to freaking get there... So that you don't have to think about how long that was, I'll just tell you this: we started at 9am in Whistler and arrived in Victoria Island at 6:30pm. All that transport was very tiring.

So first thing we did was call Dispatch to tell them we would be needing an extra day in order to see anything at all, since at that moment in time we had only that day and the next off. It would be horrifically unhelpful to just go home the next day at 10am. They told us we could have another day. Yay! So, we checked in to our hostel, added an extra night, and dropped off our crap to go to dinner.

We walked for many blocks to an Indian restaurant. It was pretty good. We got food and ate it. Then we left after we paid for it. Pretty basic.

We went around the town a bit then, looking for ice cream mostly, but seeing many other things in the mean time. Like buildings, stores in them, windows in the front of them, and whales and totems and eagles, oh my! on the street. Finally we slipped into a conviently placed store filled with all the junk one needs at 9pm or later and got a little tub of vanilla brownie fudge ice cream and three spoons. We went back to our hostel, ate it, played some pool, did some yoga while I wasn't the one playing pool, and THEN we went to bed. The room was awesome! Well, it was a room. With a bunk bed, a mirror, a small desk and a chair. But the ceiling was like twenty feet up. Two more bunks could have easily made their way up there. But as it was was sufficient for sleeping, which we did.

Then we went to breakfast in the AM at a place called the Sour Pickle. It was yumesome! No, didn't have any pickles, sour or otherwise, and yes, it was the typical breakfast all day place, our order taken by an asian lady that we couldn't understand who kept coming back to ask, "is anything all right?", another asian-looking man taking off an apron and going out the front door, either to smoke or get more ingredients for his kitchen...it was the beeest. Really. I do recommend it.

Then off we walked for many many many blocks. Many. We saw the world's tallest totem pole with a living, sitting eagle on its top. We saw a beach with an ocean attached to it. We saw many rocks worth picking up to admire on the beach. We got more ice cream and that was enough to fill our ice cream quota for the week really. Those fast food ice creams go right through me usually. Yeah, I don't like to hear about it either. Okay, so we kept walking. Oh, we walked through a park! Beacon something park. Lovely place. Did you know there are black squirrels? There are. Did you know there's a peacock in Beacon park? Birds just don't even know how beautiful they are, don't you think?

Ah shoot, I have to finish this post now. Okay...we had a lovely day, rewound that hectic travelog, made it home for prison dinner and slept. I woke for the 0415 shift the next morning. Yay. 12 hour shifts are the most delicious. Oh yeah, so just in case you didn't know, I'm driving motor coach buses up here in Whistler Canada, transporting the security personnel to and from venues where they can protect people. It can get super boring, but it's beautiful around here. I haven't fallen alseep at the wheel yet. So...more later. Cheers!
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