Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Calm One

Way back when Naomi was 12, or so, and we were in our Nevada Years, we all spent one 4th of July evening at the home of our friends, Donna and Galen and their 2 daughters. The other guests that evening were mutual friends, Don and Darcy and their daughter and son. After a wonderful picnic dinner in the backyard and lively chatter until dark, a few simple fireworks were brought out. Nothing fancy, big or dangerous, you understand, just simple little noisemakers and such.

Our little crowd sat together in the summer desert darkness while Jacob, age 11, and his dad lit the various fireworks just almost at our feet. Suddenly, a pop! sounded and then Jacob screamed. A spark, or something, had flown at his eye. Instantly, his dad was next to him, asking if he was ok and we could hear that parental fear one hears in a parent's voice at such times.

But then here is what I remember best... Galen, our doctor friend, very calmly, even nearly on the lighthearted side said something rather like, "Come here, Jacob, and let's see what you've gotten yourself into." Both Galen and Don then led the crying Jacob calmly into the house, sat him on a table beneath a light and then Galen examined the eye. The whole time, Galen spoke lightly, smiling, saying stuff like, "These things happen sometimes on the 4th of July," and that he'd bet Jacob would laugh about this while telling his grandchildren someday.

After Jacob calmed down, Galen suggested that he, Don and Jacob go to his nearby office where he could look at the eye closer. He said it looked as though there was just a tiny burn mark on Jacob's face and that the eye, itself, looked fine, but they'd go to the office just to make sure and that besides, all the fireworks had been set-off so it was time for a ride anyway.

And after they left--and the other two moms cursed all fireworks and their ilk--I stood in the kitchen thinking how comforting it must be to have a doctor around all the time. Someone who could stitch you all up if you broke apart in an accident. Someone who knows what he's doing. Someone who wouldn't faint at the sight of blood or go crying or screaming into a corner just when you most needed him.

Someone whose calm demeanor can leave a whole room serene when it could have, instead, been filled with panic.

But mostly, how wonderful to, in any situation, have a person around who can keep his head when everyone else is losing theirs (as the saying goes). How amazing, nowadays, to know people who don't fall apart whenever things go wrong. People who stand calmly in a storm and walk through this life bravely with courage and hope from God, Himself, and thus help others to stay calm.

And well, that's how I want to be--a reflection of that same strong spirit of God. Someone who's, ok, not a doctor, but who can still be counted on to bring healing and peace into any room in scary, difficult times.


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