Breaking Chairs

Being a big person means that there will eventually be a crater on the side of the mattress that I sleep on every night.  It happens.  Really, it’s quite a comforting thought knowing that there is a special place that has conformed specifically to my body where I can go for rest.  Like eggs place in an egg carton, I know that my crater is there to hold me comfortably night after night.  This is one of the good things about being somewhat stout.

There are several bad things about it.  Like my tendency to break chairs. 

Breaking chairs is not something that I want to do.  Trust me-it can be embarrassing.  I even refuse to sit in some chairs for this very reason.  Some chairs seem to have been designed to hold female gymnasts or horse jockeys.  I won’t even breathe on cheap folding chairs.

I even broke the driver’s seat of the Chevy Corsica that I used to drive.  More accurately, I broke the metal that held the bolts that attached the seat to the floor of the car.  This turned the driver’s seat into a rocking chair.  The seat would rock forward when I slowed suddenly and rock backward when I accelerated.  I eventually put a couple of cinder-blocks behind the seat to help hold it in place thus confirming that I’ve got a little red on my neck even if it can’t always be seen.

My most painful chair break incident took place as we were packing to move from Knoxville to Harriman which is a small city north-west of Knoxville.  It is located in Roane County which is quite possibly the strangest counties of all the counties in all the world.  There are plenty of wonderful people who live there and the natural beauty is hard to beat, but the number of weird occurrences and peculiar people is staggering.  It’s like a real life, yet much larger version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest without a Nurse Ratched to keep everyone in line.  Again, Roane County is a lovely place with plenty of lovely people.  But the oddballs seem to get most of the press.

Packing is something only the insanely organized seem to enjoy.  Since I don’t fall into that small category of people, I despise packing more than Al Gore despises styrofoam.  But I didn’t have a choice, it had to be done.

I was sitting in the living room of the house we were moving out of on one of those white plastic patio chairs that those of us who can’t afford wicker use because we had already moved all of our real furniture.  There were items gathered around me on the floor that I was sorting and putting into boxes.  That’s when it happened.

All of a sudden and simultaneously, all of the legs of the chair exploded out from underneath me.  And I do mean exploded.  The noise sounded like a shotgun blast as the legs shot in opposite directions across the room. 

Naturally, the seat part of the chair with my rear-end still wedged into it dropped to the floor with dynamic force.  The house shook.  My wife laughed.  And the pain began.

My butt hurt for two months.  It was embarrassing.  And every time someone asked me why I was walking funny, I had to tell them the embarrassing story.

It was my own fault.  I did something that I knew could potentially cause me pain, yet I was surprised when it actually happened.  Ignoring common sense and the warning signs led to an embarrassing fall that I had to talk about over and over and over.

Other people have similar stories that are far more serious.

He knew that the affair could cost him his family, but he did it anyway.  And now the embarrassment is with him and his kids are not.

She knew that stealing from her company could send her to prison, but he did it anyway.  And now she’s lost everything.

He knew that drinking and driving was dangerous, but he did it anyway.  And now his selfishness has taken someone’s life and prison is his home.

She knew that trying that drug could possibly lead her further than she wanted to go, but she did it anyway.  And now she’s been addicted so long that she can’t remember what it was like to be truly happy.

We see this played out countless times in countless lives.  People we love.  People we wish that we could help.  We wonder what to do, if there is anything that we can do.

We can pray.  Trusting God that He can touch lives in ways that we  can’t.  Believing that his grace is sufficient for them.  Just like it was for us.

We’ve all been there–in that place of brokenness.  In that place where everything feels hopeless. 

If you’ve gotten out, remember it was because of God’s grace.  And if you’ve gotten out, remember that there are still people there.

Pray for them.  Reach out to them.  Trust God to do what He does.

And be on guard so that you never go back.

(Do you have a story to tell of falling only to be lifted back up by God?  Ever broken a chair?  Go ahead and share)


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