This morning I received an email from my good friend Mark Herron. He is a gifted graphic artist, doing regular work for such well known names as Rush Limbaugh and Delta Airlines. In addition to his terrific flair for commercial art, he is an exceptionally gifted writer and rather funny too!
The email I received from him today, although salted with his usual humor, made a very important point that I had just shared with a fellow from the UK who had written me earlier today. It is so good, I wanted to do something I almost never do… I am posting his brilliantly funny, but poignant email here for you.
I hope it blesses and encourages you like it did me. Here it is…
“You are not connected to the Internet” by MR Herron
I woke up with those dreaded words scrawled across my computer screen. I’m not very technically savvy so, whenever I see that phrase, it pins me to my desk chair like the June bug I stuck to a piece of cardboard for my 4th grade science project.
All my grand “interweb” plans stop abruptly, like Dorothy’s flying farmhouse landing on the Wicked Witch of the West. My wide eyes stare in unbelief until dry and blinking becomes a conscious effort. But I’ve learned through the years that most computer issues can be resolved by checking the power source, rebooting, or, as a last resort, calling my provider – Comcast.
That reminds me of another time I lost connection. But the message that alerted me then was far more personal, and a lot more painful. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t as ‘plugged in” to God until I found myself in a real pickle. That is, until my accident.
It happened after dinner one night. I’d just added my plate and silverware to the growing stack in the sink and turned, with great anticipation, to the freezer where the reward for eating all my vegetables was stored. Subzero dessert in hand, I shuffled to my comfy recliner with a frozen Snickers bar. Eagerly, and probably giggling, I settled in, unwrapped one end and commenced to bite down hard on the frigid treat as I’d done a hundred times before in my youth.
Admittedly, I’m a little longer in the sweet tooth now, and maybe my bone density is not what it used to be. Still, I never thought I’d get my butt kicked by a creamy caramel nougat. But that first bite dislocated my jaw on one side, and my teeth, uppers and lowers, were pile-driven into my skull and jawbone. I may have even cracked a molar or two. Certainly, the “tusks were looser” now. (Pardon the Crimson Tide elephant joke.) At any rate, I knew immediately that I was in trouble. I had damaged myself.
My bite was uneven, too. Clamping down on a 2H pencil revealed that only one side made contact. It also hurt, a lot, even to the touch, and months passed with no relief, or any sign of improvement. I learned to chew on my good side and did my best to ignore my misaligned hinge, clicking and popping every time I spoke or ate. I developed a technique for sleeping where I’d lay on my side, propping the top half of my heavy head on a folded pillow so that my sore jaw could hang freely in the empty space between my ear and shoulder. It helped, but it was still impossible to get a good night’s rest.
This sleepless routine went on for some time and was beginning to take its toll. I was clinging to the knot at the end of my rope, hoping for recovery, yet secretly fearing “this is the way it’s always gonna be.” One day, while having lunch at a popular local diner, fate had me seated at the counter, elbow to elbow with a retired dentist. I must have looked miserable, or maybe he heard the clicking and popping as I nibbled my way around the Blue Plate Special. Who knows what prompted him, but he asked, “Are you okay, son?”
Touched that a perfect stranger would show concern for me, and delighted to hear that he was in the tooth biz, I laid my fork down and began to tell my tale of woe. He listened sympathetically, like a dental priest in a greasy-spoon confessional, as I confessed my Snicker sin and swore I’d never do it again. So convincing was he in this role, I half expected him to absolve me of my candy bar stupidity and tell me how many Hail Mary’s it would take to fix it.
Instead, he said, “Yeah, that happens. A lot of people go insane from the pain or end up killing themselves because of the incessant popping and clicking.” Oh, great. Had I not been hip to the fact that the devil can appear as an angel of light (or a dentist) and even use scripture when it serves his purposes, I may have fallen for the subtle suggestion to “Go thou and do likewise.”
Not quite ready to off myself over a chocolate covered treat, I politely excused myself and left that not-so-good Samaritan in short-order. I walked along the palm-lined lane of bleached-white shells in the quaint little Florida fishing village where I rented a tiny bungalow. Did I say tiny? This place was even tinier than the jockey quarters I once leased on a horse farm in Georgia. “Built by jockeys, for jockeys.” There, I had a miniature stove, a miniature icebox and hung off three sides of my miniature bed. But I digress.
The leisurely stroll gave me plenty of time to rehash the close encounter of the discouraging kind I’d just had, and to weigh the next-to-last straw that had been added to my burden. My mind’s eye watched as hope sped ahead and its taillights disappeared into the distance. At home, I climbed into my comfy recliner once again and assumed the fetal position. I sat in total silence (except for an occasional click or pop) gazing into nothingness, like Forrest Gump waiting at the bus stop for little Forrest to come back from school.
As if this scene wasn’t pitiful enough, when I was in one of these new pity-party moods, I’d sometimes find myself mindlessly stroking a large mole, reminiscent of a bran muffin, that had sprung up on my collarbone about a year earlier. Disgusting, huh?
NOTE: Skin problems are a common malady for beach goers and poolside sitters in the Sunshine State. Conspiracy theorists say the hole in the protective Ozone layer above Florida was created by a secret society of dermatologists. Just sayin’.
Eventually, I came out of my funk, and reached for the remote to search for a decent movie on Netflx (a hopeless endeavor in itself.) Only that night, “You are not connected to the Internet,” was scrawled on my TV screen. “What else could go wrong?” I sighed… and popped.
My entertainment options were limited to say the least. My furnished apartment was not all that furnished. As a decorator, my landlord would be considered a minimalist. There was the recliner, of course, the wall mounted flat screen and a miniature coffee table on which were fanned a Field & Stream, Hot Rods on Hot Roads, and a Teen Magazine from 1985.
So, I turned to my Bible for reading material. Leafing through Proverbs, my eyes fell upon “My son, attend to my words; incline your ear unto my sayings, Let them not depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”
I paused as that verse sank into my soul like water into a dry beach. Slapping my forehead in “I coulda had a V8,” fashion, I hollered “That’s it! My Word connection was down!”
I had grown lazy, dropped my guard, run out of gas and basically given up. If I were a musical group, I’d be The Drifters, floating downstream without a paddle, all too willing to go wherever the wind blew or the devil wanted to take me.
That night, I rebooted and reconnected, and started actively resisting my adversary. When I woke up I’d quote the Bible. When I walked the dog, I reminded myself of God’s benefits. When I washed the dishes, I encouraged myself in the Lord. I’d walk through the house reciting his promises and taking back the ground I’d lost.
One day, as I maneuvered through the bedroom, around the oversized dresser, and aimed once more for the opening to the narrow hallway, I had a freaky misstep and banged my shoulder into the door jam.
Now, if you’ve ever run into something unexpectedly, without the opportunity or inclination to brace for impact, no doubt you understand how black belt Karate guys break boards. Well, the doorframe didn’t budge, but it was such a violent jolt that my jaw instantly snapped back into place! I’m sure the snap could be heard throughout the neighborhood.
I emerged at other end of the hallway stunned and wiggling my jaw in amazement. God had just given me a chiropractic adjustment! Hallelujah! No more click! No more pop! I grabbed my 2H pencil and clamped down… even teeth marks are here again!
Miraculous things happen when we stand on the Rock that doesn’t roll. I know, if I hadn’t, I’m sure I’d still be adrift, popping and clicking my way down the “Que Sera, Sera,” river. I often think about that strange and unexpected freaky misstep. No one will ever convince me it wasn’t an angel that shoved me into that doorframe. (They hearken to the voice of God’s word, ya know.)
And remember the big, ugly, bran muffin mole I’d been putting up with for over a year, petting like an emotional support animal? Well, it began shrinking, too, and disappeared completely within a week. It all turned around for me when I rebooted, reconnected, and called my provider, who reminded me that my vessel is powered by his Word and that my tongue is the rudder.
P.S. I hope you enjoyed Mark’s post as much as I did. By the way, we are opening up our online Selling Among Wolves coaching and training. You can learn more about that here.