My family and I are now living in a large, seven bedroom rental house. We have enjoyed it so far, but my head has not. Since we have moved in, I have subjected my cranium to abuse at least every other day. It’s not funny.
The main reason for this regular occurence of cranial embarrassment has to do with my height compared with the lowness of the two ceiling fans in our den. I am 6’7” tall, or as my diminutive wife likes to declare, “freakishly big.” The ceiling in the den is an adequate 6’11”, but the blades of the fans are at a height of 6’4” and the bottom of the globes attached to the bottom of the fans is at 5’9″.
The first few days were a nightmare for me. Every time I went into the den, I hit my head. If I was lucky, I would barely tap one of the globes. Most of the time, I was getting whacked rapid-fire style by the blades of the ceiling fan. Pow-pow-pow.
I thought I had the problem taken care of after a few days of it not happening. This caused me to become so careless that I travelled through the den toward the kitchen in such a hurry that I shattered one of the globes into approximately 2,785 pieces. I didn’t lose too much blood.
To be truthful, I can’t really blame our new abode for my proclivity for cranial injury. I’ve been damaging the uppermost part of my body all of my life.
My first head injury occurred when I was a baby. After a rainy Sunday evening, my dad was carrying me down the steps of the old Stoney Point Baptist Church building. The steps were steep and the rain had caused them to become slick. About half-way down, my dad began to fall.
It is strange what a person can think of in the span of a second or two; especially when he and someone he loves is in imminent danger. In the moment that it takes a person who is falling to realize that he is falling, my dad decided it would be a good idea to toss me into the air. He was trying to pitch me into to the grass to save me from being crushed beneath him on the hard steps. He didn’t put quite enough “umph” into it and I landed head-first on the concrete sidewalk. Fortunately, I wasn’t hurt too badly. In fact, I’m pretty sure that Dad suffered more from my mom’s wrath than I did from my first and last circus act.
Unfortunately, it was only a preview of injuries to come.
There was the time that I was riding my bicycle down my driveway and tried to jump over a mud puddle. The puddle was cleared, but my landing left a little to be desired. My head hit the ground with such force that I worried I might have amnesia. It turned out that I had just watched too many episodes that summer of Days of Our Lives. Amnesia is far more common in Salem than in Knoxville. (For the record, my brother liked “his stories” far more than I did–I completely quit watching after Jack and Jennifer started having so many problems.)
There was also the time when I was in college that I was shooting basketball with my pastor’s young son. The goal had been lowered to about two inches above my head. As we were goofing around, I thought it would be cool to reach up and goal-tend his next shot. Apparently he figured out my plan and shot it extremely high, causing me to jump to swat the ball away. This would not have been a problem, except for the fact that I was standing directly beneath the rim.
My head hit the rim in such a way that both sides of my head were sliced by the metal pieces that hold the net in place. As my pastor was checking out my wounds and applying pressure where necessary, his son came up to me and asked, “Do you gots bwain damage?” The answer all depends on who you ask.
None of my head injuries, though, compare in embarrassment or pain to what happened a few months after I began my after-college career at a finance company that specializes in manufactured housing loans.
Normally at trip to the restroom does not result in a subsequent trip to the emergency room. This was not a normal trip to the restroom. I had gone in there during my afternoon break to take care of some “personal business” and finish reading the newspaper. After entering the stall and turning to shut the door, my badge inexplicably fell to the floor. Naturally, I reacted by bending down to pick it up.
You know that metal hook that is attached to the inside of a bathroom stall door? The one that normal-sized people never have to worry about? When I bent down to retrieve my badge, my head and that metal hook became intimately acquainted as the hook sliced into the top of my skull right where I normally part my hair. The sound of it digging deep into my skin and the pain caused me clutch me head in agony and fall back onto the toilet seat.
Immediately, the blood began to pour out of the wound and drip onto the floor. The combination of my agonizing moans and the sight of the blood covering the floor probably caused the guy in the stall beside me to wonder what I had eaten for lunch.
I did the best I could to clean up the mess I had made while holding a few paper towels to the wound. Then I made my way out of the restroom and down the hallway to my desk. I showed my supervisor my head and told him what had happened. He hurriedly discussed it with his supervisor, a woman who apparently had never learned the art of keeping a secret, and decided that he should take me to the emergency room. So I loaded up in Larry’s little-bitty pick-up truck and headed to the hospital with my knees implanted firmly into the dashboard.
When I arrived at the hospital, the first thing that they wanted me to do was to pee in a cup to make sure that I wasn’t intoxicated in any way when the accident occurred. I wasn’t too thrilled about going into another restroom so soon after my last excursion ended up with me almost being decapitated by a 2 inch hook, but I complied.
A little while later the doctor took a look at my head and determined that 5 staples would be required to mend what the dastardly hook had done. When I arrived back at work about an hour and a half after the incident, just about everyone knew about what had transpired on my ill-fated trip to the potty.
As I think back on all of these instances and the hundreds more that I didn’t mention, I am struck with an aggravating thought. Even though I have hit my head more times than I want to remember, I know that I will more than likely keep hitting my head on various and sundry items the rest of my life. Being the size that I am and living in a world constructed for normal sized people makes this a real possibility.
So, what should I do about this? Should I spend the rest of my days crawling around on the floor or curled up in bed? Should I wear a helmet 24/7 or attach a pillow to my head with duct tape? Should I undergo surgery to make myself shorter?
None of these things are appropriate, so I will keep doing what I have been doing and hope for the best. I will try not to hit my head. I will keep my eyes open and myself alert. And occasionally I will hit my head. When this happens, I will be thankful that God loves me in spite of my stupidity and has promised to sustain me by His grace.
I think this strategy can work with my sins as well.
Just like my history of head-hitting, I began being disobedient at an early age as well. In fact, the Bible tells me that I was born with a sin-nature. All throughout my life and in various ways, my proclivity to sin has been there. Some of my sins have caused me greater embarrassment and pain than others, but all of my sins have been my own fault.
Even now, after being a follower of Jesus for over 20 years, I still sin and fall far short of the glory of God. Being human and living in a sin-cursed world, I know that I will continue to fail the rest of my life.
What should I do about this problem of sin? Should I spend the rest of my days beating myself up because I just can’t get it right all of the time no matter how hard I try? Should I give in to my sin-nature completely and just do whatever I feel like doing? Should I allow myself to be of no use to Jesus, the one who died on the cross to atone for my sins?
None of these things are appropriate, so I will keep doing what I have been doing and hope for the best. I will try not to fail. I will keep my eyes open and myself alert. And occasionally I will sin. When this happens, I will be thankful that God loves me in spite of my stupidity and has promised to sustain me by His grace.
This is made possible because I have put my faith in Jesus. When I fail, His love prevails.
And I couldn’t be happier, even on those days when my head takes a beating from a ceiling fan.