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Join us this fall for a trip to the Holy Land?

Old city Jerusalem at night

King University’s Dr. Don Hudson and I are getting the final details for the trip to the Holy Land this fall (during the first week of October). We are looking for two more people to join our traveling dozen explorers – that will fill out our group and get us rollin’. Last year’s trip was amazing. If you would like to get info, please contact me at my university email (bkzockoll@king.edu) or on Facebook private message and I will get you the information asap.

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My Love Letter to the Graduating Class of 2018

1It is a bit after 6:30 in the morning.

I am sitting here at my classroom desk and shaking my head silently.  It is hard for me to believe that today is the very last class I will share with you.  In a week both you and I will don the cap and gown and you will look at me with that look so familiar to me after twenty years in education.

Your face is beaming brightly and your hands are clasping in nervous excitement,  but your eyes are what I notice most.  They speak volumes.

I’m really stepping out.  This is actually happening.  This is real, isn’t it?

And also

I’m a little bit frightened.

Yes, I know.  I can recall the same feeling.  I have a vivid memory during my high school senior year of finding a quiet evening when the rest of the family was out.  I collapsed on the couch, stared at the ceiling in total silence, and quietly wept to myself.

Why?  I’m not sure.  Perhaps a number of things.

Perhaps on one side it was knowing that I was leaving so many things behind that I would never regain.  The times my best friends would sit in our family kitchen until the late hours.  The raw crisp nights of high school football.  The goofy jokes in those boring study halls and the raucous laughter of the school cafeteria.  Playing Stoop Ball off of the front porch steps with my brothers and sisters.  Those once-in-a-lifetime teachers who both instructed and befriended me.

Then on the other side it may have been the apprehensive step into the unknown.  The feeling of confusion.  A dorm room and a college syllabus.  School bills and laundry money.  Deadlines and exam schedules.  Dropping classes.  Adding classes. More school bills.

You’re stepping into new territory, but you’re not going alone.  As I sit here and write this, I’m telling you that the Best Friend you’ll ever have will walk you through the valleys and over the mountains, no matter what career decision you make.  I’m living testimony to the fact that the Christ of the Bible will lead and protect you in ways that you will find simply amazing.  All it takes is dependence on Him.

So now, let an old high school teacher leave you with one final instruction.

Be kind.

Yes, be kind.

Like a campfire in a snowstorm, people are drawn to the warmth of a gentle person.  I have seen Christians who were amazing in Biblical knowledge but had no compassion.  They were like the 1 Corinthians 13 picture of a clanging bell – lots of noise but no appeal.  One old Scottish preacher finished each of his sermons with “Remember, if ye are a Christian, ye should be kind.  An’ if ye are not kind, ye are not a very good Christian.”  Share friendship with others.  Learn to cultivate compassion.  I can attest to the fact that I have seen granite-hard souls melted due to the genuine gentleness of a caring Believer.

Ephesians 4:15 says to speak the Truth – and we know the whole is thirsting for True words of salvation.  Yet that same passage connects Truth with Love.  “Speak the truth in love.”

Love your fellow Christians.  Love those outside the faith as well.  Love your neighbor, even though they have dogs that yap late into the night.  Love those dorm roommates even though they snore and leave a toothpaste trail in the sink.

Love the stranger.  Love the widow.  Love the orphan.

Love the unlovely.

And I can honestly say that I love you, my dear friend.  It has been an honor to instruct you over these past years.  I grieved when I saw you try your hardest but you received a failing test grade.  I rejoiced when you aced the next exam.  I was ecstatic when I heard of you sharing our in-class Bible instruction with family member, youth group buddy, or homeless man.

This part is hard.  You’re stepping out.  Which means you’re stepping away.  We all knew this was coming;  we train you for this, but that doesn’t make it any easier for us.

This is it.  Your final steps here.  We’ll treasure this final day and we’ll cheer in your first steps tomorrow.

Ah, rats.  Here I go again, crying.  Consider it the fault of an old man, but also consider it an expression of my gratitude for the good years we had together.

Write to me.  I will pray for you.

And I mean every word when I say
God bless you.

 

 

 

 

 

My pastor is a quadriplegic.

A7lmost two decades ago late in the evening, a senior seminary student was seated in his car at an intersection, idling in the left- hand turning lane and waiting for the traffic light turn-arrow on his way back to college campus.

The light was about to change.  From a far distance an oncoming pickup truck accelerated to a roar, trying to outrun the red light.

The pickup didn’t make it.

The truck smashed into a turning car, which spun violently across the intersection and slammed into the seminary student’s car on the driver’s side.  His car literally left the ground, the roof collapsing at the point of impact.  The lifting of the car and the caving-in of the roof smashed into the student’s body, breaking his neck.  As his head cleared, he reached to turn the car key.  His hand fluttered and dropped.  He couldn’t move. From that day until now, Bobby McCoy became a quadriplegic, unable to move his arms or legs as you and I can.

Bobby McCoy is my senior pastor.

Bobby will never throw a football with his son.  He will not be able to dance with his daughter at her wedding reception.  He cannot trot up the theater or stadium steps with his wife to their reserved seats when they are out on a date.

He cannot ride with his little ones on rides at the amusement park.

You know this must be hard on Bobby.

Each Sunday after our songleader completes the final chorus, Joe will gesture for the congregation to be seated while he reaches in and unlatches a mechanism on the front podium.  The podium lowers and clicks into place.  It is now the right height for Bobby to preach from his wheelchair.

Bobby moves forward and adjusts his notes with a partially paralyzed hand;  he is able to use a joystick control to move his wheelchair about and is able to half-grasp his notes.

You see his energy.  You can feel his love for the Lord and his love for us.  Each one.

He hasn’t said a word yet, and he is already speaking to us.  Bobby’s ministry is an ongoing one, showing us his dedication in the face of severe limitations.  The impression is with us at every meeting.

His countenance is always bright.  It is not artificial.  His joy in the Lord and His love for us is so obviously genuine that a person cannot but be drawn in by his compassion.

For the past five years I have had Bobby come to my high school classroom and speak to each of my classes about his accident and his reliance on the Lord – and yes, even rejoicing – in the face of such a personal loss.  He will show PowerPoint slides of his demolished car.  Every year I hear some small gasps from among the pupils when the mangled car is shown on the classroom screen.  Bobby then opens up about the Lord’s gentle guidance and goodness.  In this me-first world of narcissism and cynicism, Bobby’s words have a deep and profound effect.  Some students become emotional. Others, hardened by the self-will of the world’s influence, open up their hearts.  All come away moved.  Even years later when Bobby stops by the school, many students will go out of their way to trot down the hallway and greet him.

Bobby’s ministry is more than teaching.  He’s a minister in the Acts 13 sense of the word with the apostles.  If you look in the Greek, the word “minister”  is leitourgeō and means to serve as a priest would in a tabernacle ritual.  In other words, serving as a pastor is just like a worship service to God.  Bobby’s service to us is his showing glory to God.  He gives glory to God  – just as if he were a priest in the temple – when he pastors us.  I find that a powerful passage in learning about the heart that I should have in my teaching ministry.

My classroom service is a ministry, right?  And if I follow the teaching of the Scriptures, my leadership ministry is really a worship service to God.   I give glory to God when I serve in the role of teacher and lead my students in Biblical instruction and counseling.

Hosea 4:9 gives a strict truth concerning leadership:  “And what the priests do, the people also do.”   I have seen our congregation grow kinder and more gentle in the years that Bobby has pastored.  We have taken his lead without realizing it.

I also realize that this Hosea 4:9 principle is how my students will be affected in the days that I am with them.  If I show compassion, they will respond – whether they openly realize it or not.  If I am kind, they can emulate it.  I am not so brash as to say that each of my classes is a “little church”, but I think the principle applies to all Christian leaders.   Think of it:  I am carrying on the example given to me by Bobby’s Spirit-led example.

A very good quotation – some say it was from St. Francis of Assisi, but nobody is quite sure – says  “Preach the Gospel at all times … and if necessary use words.”  This is a dynamic truth that our congregation realizes each week.

Our pastor motors his wheelchair up the ramp and over to his podium and starts teaching us.

Even before he speaks.

While I walked, he shouted at me.

7I can recall the noise he made as we walked.  The more silent I became the louder he became…

I am often asked about my most precious memory in my years in the classroom.  There are many, but perhaps the most touching recollection I have was one that actually was outside of the classroom.

Chad was a senior but was not ready to graduate.  I don’t mean that in the sense of academics, for his grades were more than adequate.  It wasn’t a scholastic problem.  It was … well, a troubled spirit within him.  I noticed it, other teachers noticed it, students noticed it.  At the time, he was not a student in my class, but a number of compassionate students approached me about the problem they saw.

“Chad’s deeply troubled,” they’d tell me.  “He wants to talk.  He said he wouldn’t mind meeting you about it.  Do you have any free time?”  I didn’t have any open hours, but both Chad and I shared the same lunch time.  I made contact with him and we agreed to meet.

At this particular school, lunch is carried on both indoors and outside.  The school borders a nice stand of trees and the scenery is great during the spring, so Chad met me on the side lawn, eschewing any lunch.  “I want to talk,” he said, frowning. “I have a real problem with the idea of a God.  I want to get it off my chest.”   I could tell the agitation was strong enough that he could barely sit.

“Let’s walk,” I suggested.  He nodded.  So we trudged a path around the perimeter of the school as he talked and I chewed on an apple.

He began to shout.  “People always want a label.  Okay, you want a label?  Call me an atheist,” he yelled.  “I just don’t get this God thing!  Atheism’s the only answer I have, what with all the problems of God in this world, in the face of all the evil and the deceit within man…”  He went off on a litany of arguments, flailing his arms in the air.  We circled the building, step by step.  Occasionally, he glanced at me. I could tell that he expected a blow-by-blow debate.

“Chad,” I finally said, “you’re half-expecting some cliches or well worn anecdotes in order to ease each concern.  I’m not going to do that.  I’m going to incubate these arguments and we’re going to take them one by one, until you are completely satisfied.  So keep talking. Or yelling.”  And so he did.  Yelled, I mean.

And I kept eating apples.

For days and weeks, we paced that yard – I’m surprised we didn’t wear a pathway into the grass – while the sympathetic students respectfully ate their lunch and kept a distance so that Chad could have his privacy.  He steamed, huffed, swore and ranted.  Each time, however, the agitation eased up a little bit.

I cannot tell you how many apples I ate during those walks.

After two weeks, his shouting toned down significantly.  He wanted to discourse now. I walked through the Scriptural answers that Chad could research and scrutinize.  Lap after lap we would walk the pathway, discussing each concern deep within his heart.  We went over the prophecies, cosmology, morality, Romans chapter 1, C.S. Lewis, Einstein…

“Ah,” he said, waving his hands one day.  “I’m not an atheist.  Agnostic is a better word for it.  I’m just not sure.”

“Well,” I said as we rounded a corner of the building, “let’s talk until you’re sure.”  He responded with another avalanche of questions, and yes, complaints.  Theology, theodicy, Darwin, Goethe, Pascal, John 3:16, immutability…

After two weeks, when we met, he glanced across the yard and shoved his hands in his pockets.  “I guess you could call me a theist,” he said with a set jaw.  “Argue as I might, there’s no reasonable way to think there’s not a God.  Can we walk?”  And so we did. And the discussions were just as passionate and deep.

A week later, he strolled over to me and we fell into a pace again.  “I’m seeing some light.  I’m … well , things are becoming clearer. ”  We talked. Eschatology, cults, missionary Nate Saint, salvation…

Then Chad didn’t want to walk anymore.  He didn’t show up at lunch time.  I didn’t see him for over a month.

Then on the last week of school, he stopped me in the main lobby of the school.

“I want you to know,” he said, looking directly into my eyes, “that I’ve put it all together.  Things fell into place after I sorted them out.  I became a Believer.  What I mean is, I accepted Jesus Christ.  I let Him take me over.”  He grabbed me and gave me a bear hug. We both cried.  “I’ll miss you,” he said.

It registered deep in my heart that day that a large part of a Bible teacher’s reach often extends beyond the classroom.

It could include a little stroll around the grass.

I actually had bloody eyeballs.

7Thank you for your prayers.  This is probably the first day in three weeks that I have had any desire to sit down and write anything on my blog.  The worst thing about this flu virus I contracted is that it has interfered with my thought process, even after I felt good enough to go back to school.  My brain was like an off-track roller coaster, with everything flying around in my head with no control whatsoever: kachunka chunka chunka.  Stuff was whizzing through my skull, blurry and confusing.  Things became fuzzy.  Thinking became labored.  Even a simple thing like taking classroom attendance or preparing the day’s PowerPoint seemed like the mental equivalent of trying to lift a kitchen refrigerator.

You know how, when you get sick, one single song or musical phrase keeps repeating itself?  In the depth of my fever my brain replayed Glen Campbell’s I Remember You about eight gazillion times. It only took time off to replay the old television commercial ditty for a tuna product:

“Ask any mermaid you happen to see:  What’s the best tuna?  Chicken of the Sea.”

Arrgh.

Oh, I’ve become a veteran of these flu seasons.  War-wounded, you might call me.  I am not sure whether I should be proud of this or not, but the fact is, when flu season strikes every January or February, I am at a 50% chance, vaccination or not, of contracting the virus.  I might dodge it one year, but the next January, blammo, I’ve been hit by the influenza train.  I think over the twenty plus years of teaching I’ve been run over at least ten times.  And hey, I don’t just dabble my toes in the sickness, brother – I jump into the deep end of the flu pool.  Put it this way –  when it comes to sickness, I commit myself to the cause.  I get the whole shootin’ match from my eyebrows to my toenails.  I want you to know that I am a teacher to the core, even when it comes to the flu in my body:  I want every single blood cell to be able to study and take notes on the virus, so my whole blamed carcass’ population shares every available ounce of infection with each other.  And they take their time doing it, too. My body is like a bienniel Convention Hall for Influenza. Free admission.  Plenty of parking space.  Two lines, no waiting.

I recall about ten years ago I caught a flu so quickly that I actually knew the very moment it hit.  I was at a Super Bowl Party for teens in a gymnasium, with about seven or eight high schools represented.  It was about thirty degrees outside, and the kids coming into the gym were nursing colds from every school system in a twenty mile radius.  The host group was kind in offering the more than two hundred students the choice of watching the game on a giant screen on one end of the gym or of playing basketball on the other end.  Think of it:  masses of teens playing basketball and wheezing out their various colds into the air of an overheated gym –  the classic incubator.  At halftime a tremor ran right through me just as my two teens sons were asking if we could head home.  By the time I took three steps I was shivering violently, and I mean visibly trembling.  I could barely stand the outside cold as we ran to the car, and my boys can attest to the fact that my hands were literally shaking on the steering wheel.  That night I (pardon the graphic detail) vomited continuously and so hard that I actually broke blood vessels in my eyes.  By the time I went back to school later that week my eyeballs were still showing large blotches of red, and I was known as Vampire Zockoll for a few days.  Unknown students would come to visit me between classes just to view my Gothic eyeballs.  To be honest, it felt pretty cool to make middle school kids shiver just by looking at me.  I got an idea of how Cthulhu must feel.

I’ve been walking about during my lectures but found myself having to sit and regain my breath virtually every other class period this week.  I feel every bit of my age and even more these past few days.  The students have been understanding; in fact that is really why I wanted to write this particular blog.

Yesterday one of the shyest girls in any of my classes sidled up to my desk quietly and stood waiting until I finished sending an in-school email.  “Amy” then leaned forward and asked me:  “Dr. Zockoll, are you feeling better?  I’ve been praying for you.”  As I responded positively, she quietly laid a small package next to my keyboard and smiled.  “I bought something for you.”  Then she quickly darted away.

There on my desk was a small package of Cheez-It Sandwich Crackers – the kind of cellophane six-cracker units that have little yellow crackers with Cheez-It cheese squeezed between them.

I’m telling you, that was one of the nicest things I have received this year.

In fact, I have been seeing the same thing in many of my classes, and this was an example of it. 

You know, I have been teaching the facts and narration of the Bible –  from Jesus’ miracles to Solomon’s temple to Adonijah’s rebellion to the prophecies of Isaiah – and my deep desire is that the students take these important spiritual lessons to heart.  However, the one thing I cannot instill in them by quizzes or tests is the kindness of Jesus.  That in itself must be caught more than taught.  And here’s the great thing: I have been seeing an increasing number of students catching this, thank the Lord.

Students who were loud and abrasive in September are now quietly helping a fellow student prepare for a quiz.  Students who in autumn would not open their Bible except during a lecture are now in February showing up at lunchtime in my classroom for our daily Bible study time.  Students who were earlier stand-offish are now taking newcomers into their circle of friends and making incoming pupils feel welcome.

Students who used to show only emotion in their texting and Instagram are now literally weeping in sympathetic compassion when they hear of a loss in the family of a student or a teacher.

I haven’t graded them or forced them into this new heart attitude.  They have taken in this all-important Christlike compassion of their own accord.  I don’t know when or how or even why, but oh, do I love witnessing this.

On the first day back to school after my sickness I cannot tell you how many students stopped me in the hall to hug me and give me a “welcome back.”  They had no reason to do so other than the fact that they genuinely have learned compassion.  How many times students went out of their way to stop at my classroom desk and asked if I was feeling better … well again, I cannot count.

My students are growing up!  Let me explain:

When I look at the First Corinthian 13 definition of true Christian love I see that it is patient, kind and genuine… and a sign of maturity

Look at verse 11: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me…”

If I read this right, then this passage is stating that self-centeredness is a childish thing.  True compassion is the sign of Christian maturity and strength in the faith, right?

My students are showing me that they are indeed learning how to become Christian adults, growing in their walk with Christ.  He is leaving an indelible mark on them, and that is the mark of love that goes beyond the sit-in-the-classroom instruction.

I love it, I love it, I love it.

I am seeing students graduating, preparing for the life and ministry outside the campus.  Please pray for them.  They’ve been getting steeped in the faith and in the teachings of the Bible, but this is so much more important.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

This is the fifth day of my flu and something serious has changed

 

7I wanted to write at various times over the weekend, but to tell you the truth, my back could not hold me up. The pain at times has been excruciating; it feels as if someone has taken a Louisville Slugger to the muscles just underneath my shoulder blades.  I am good for about ten minutes at the most before I must either lie down on the living room floor and stare at the ceiling, or else just surrender and go back to bed.

This is Sunday and obviously I cannot go to church. I am in the fifth day of the flu.  It has attacked my head, my lungs, my stomach and even my hands and feet.   Yesterday I was slowly walking up the stairs and I had to stagger in and lean against the kitchen table, wheezing and trying to gather my wind back.  You must understand, I run 5 miles at least four times a week, and have been doing so for years.  This sickness is monstrous.

At other times it is hilarious, though.  Jill caught a tip of the bug and is over it for the most part, but during the past days when we shuffled past each other and talked, it was like someone had taken the film reel and slowed the movie down by half.  We talked in slow motion, as well as moved and gestured in marionette-sort-of-way.

I’ve consumed more soup this week than I have in the past calendar year.  I am not making this up. I am keeping Progresso in business.

At times I shiver like a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

My sinuses play a game of Dam Burst, and I end up gagging and coughing in bed all through the night.

At the beginning of the attacks I prayed for quick deliverance, but now I am going to tell you something very strange.  Are you ready?

I am thankful I’m going through it.

I’m serious.

I’ll share you a secret:  alternating between lying in bed and boiling in a scalding tub, I’ve been studying John chapter 11.

Just John chapter 11 – you know, Jesus and Lazarus.  The raising of the dead man.   This is a fantastic story.   I’ve read and re-read and I will keep re-reading it and studying. Oh, there are so many things I’ve learned from this passage.

Jesus weeps deeply.  He knows the Father’s plan to come, but listen now, He’s still got that human side and this is a deep grief.  People are amazed at His deep, deep compassion.  “Behold how He loved him!”

Then the Greek language gets explosive.  “He cried with a loud voice.”  It’s a double emphasis upon the volume of His voice.  It’s beyond a shout.  It’s like a roar.  Jesus booms out for Lazarus to leave the tomb.  People gasp.

Lazarus shuffles forward.  Crowd is stunned, and nobody moves, not even the Disciples.  Jesus instructs that Lazarus’ grave wrappings should be removed.

All right, who is Jesus talking to?  It doesn’t say who was supposed to removed the multi-yards-long strips of cloth.

What if you were present at this scene and Jesus called it out as a general instruction?  Would you have run over and started peeling away the funeral bandages of a man who has been dead for four days?  Remember, the Jews didn’t believe in embalming.

Would you have stayed back, afraid to uncover what you might fear to be stench-filled rotten flesh – or would you have run over to be the first to see a man’s skin that has been restored?

Consider this:  Jesus in His omnipotence raised the man from the dead (without even touching Lazarus), yet He lets regular folk be part of this event.  He allowed mortal man to be part of the miraculous scene;  regular people are removing the stone and removing the wrappings.  Man is allowed to be a part of God’s overall plan.

So many things I learned as I read and re-read!  Look, it’s not as if I had anything else I could have been doing.  And that’s the point.  God slowed me down – stopped me really – so that I could once again explore and enjoy Jesus.  I cannot believe I am saying this, but this flu is one of the best things that has happened to me in years.  It has caused me to concentrate on Christ with an intensity that is unfettered by the routine obligations or distractions of the regular day.

Look, we must admit, we have let our distractions crowd out the miraculous in Jesus.  In our culture that elevates fantasy and special effects, we Christians often join the crowd for the see-now baubles of flash-pan entertainment and, in doing so, miss the stunning real-world history and life-changing treasures of this Jesus we follow.   It’s a shame, and it took a knock-down drag-out flu to get me back into the secret place of the Most High to once again enjoy the Savior and Lord.

Wow, my back is really hurting so I am going to need to stop.  I invite you to join me in studying John 11.  I’m moving on to chapter 12 soon, but please let me know some treasures you find in this passage.

 

 

 

I am battling the flu and it ain’t pretty

7This is a written excuse to the administration of my fine school as to why I cannot -for the third day – make it to the halls of academia. 

 I decided to slog my way over to the keyboard and poke out a few words before I shuffle my sorry blanket-draped carcass back to bed.

I am shivering and wearing so many blankets that when I stand and move about I look like a mobile teepee.  My head is peeking out above three feet of blankets.

For those of you who have emerged unscathed through this sickness season, I will now explain what it is like to get the flu:

Imagine you are located at a Baltimore train yard with your head strapped securely to one of the iron-metal rails, with a 125-ton 4-axle CSX EMD locomotive methodically running back and forth over your skull.  At the same time a pack of Oompa Loompas are beating you mercilessly across your back with frozen beach towels.   At the same time to Tolkienesque Orcs alternate between scalding your sinuses with a blowtorch and a fire extinguisher.

When you sit up to take a break you are force-fed bread that tastes like elementary-grade construction paper and drink liquid that taste like post-Thanksgiving dishwater.

Someone whitewashes your tongue with Sherwin-Williams primer paint. Then you are shoved back to the train rail.  Repeat this all day.

This is my third day battling this fever.  I really, really thought I could make it back to school on Friday.  I am not going to try to sound heroic; the first night was pure torture.  My sinuses were exploding like a successful Guy Fawkes Gunpowder plot.  The drainage – and I will be delicate here – rode down into my windpipe in steady globs, just enough so I couldn’t sleep.  I have been coughing so much that my back muscles feel like fried bacon.

My poor daughter and wife roam around the house wanting to assist me, but I am so afraid that they will catch this Mother of All Flus that – like the lepers of the first century – I croak out to them to keep their distance.  Jill has been disinfecting everything, spraying stuff and throwing everything else into the dishwasher.  Even the parakeets I believe.  They weren’t happy.

By day two I was dizzier than a French Quarter inebriate at Mardi Gras.  Walking forward was a virtual impossibility.  And extremely tiring.  Standing for more than a minute was exhausting.  I would find anywhere to sit if I had to move about.  I think one time the cat made a quick Ottoman.  He wasn’t happy.

The idea of food is disgusting.

Stomach-wise, the first day felt like I had the North Pole in my abdomen, and I literally shook with cold.  Yesterday and today it is like I swallowed a live porcupine.  A live one.

But I’ll make it, mind you. I’m a fighter.  The Zockolls are not quitters.   Nor will we allow something like a pandemic flu steal the gargantuan Russian appetite for which we are so famous.  I long to get back to barbecue and baked potatoes and heaps of vegetables.  Right now, though, even writing those words is making me queasy.

This time is humbling; it asserts once again the frailty of my body despite my best efforts to stay healthy and active.  Solomon’s writings in Ecclesiastes are very clear about the weakness of mankind, and James even reminds you that our life is like a vapor.    As I lay under three feet of blankets and stare at the ceiling with my mind dancing about in painful yelps, I am made aware of this.  I am not exaggerating.  The worst thing, to me, is that my mind is misfiring constantly during this ordeal.   I go between prayers to depression to exhaustion to gratefulness that this is not worse.  All these thoughts keep swirling.  My mind cannot rest;  it is like its backside is on fire and it is running around the barnyard like a cartoon chicken, looking for the well-water of relief.  Perhaps that will come today.

I hope the fever broke.  Last night my pillow was so wet – I am not making this up – that I had to throw it off of the bed.  Water was literally dripping off of my back onto the sheets.

May I stop right now and say that I am grateful for our fine school, Grace Christian Academy.  The administration and faculty are great, and I was able to get an immediate substitute teacher to fill in for me and take charge of the very responsible students.  I say this because I all love you so dearly.  I also say this so you won’t fire me for missing three straight days of school

I would like to gather my thoughts in a more coherent way, but I am mainly interested in a scalding hot bath.  So if you’ll excuse me, I have to slog my way down the hallway.

Jill will be following six feet behind, spraying my footsteps with a hospital disinfectant.

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