|You Start Throwing in Chickens and It Just Makes|
The Whole Thing Silly
I know trials and travails are sent to strengthen us, and I want to start by saying thanks loads. You've certainly been a busy beaver in the strengthening department, a regular gym teacher, and I appreciate it. Really. Kudos.
However, if you wouldn't mind a little constructive criticism, meant in the kindest and most respectful way possible, it seems to me you sometimes overdo it a little bit. It's not so much a matter of quantity as quality. I don't want to sound harsh, but I think you're capable of better.
Take for example the night a car turned left out of a fast-food restaurant and smashed into me. I was on my way to see my father-in-law who was in the hospital for congestive heart disease. He'd already been there nine days because before they did anything for him, they wanted to figure out why his hemoglobin kept dropping below acceptable levels. (They never did find the reason, and he was discharged, weak as a kitten. Nancy took him back to Macon, where she could look after him and my mother-in-law who is entering her seventh year of Alzheimers.) (Lest I forget to mention: that very weekend, I was also heading out of town, to Pensacola, to my uncle who also is facing end-of-life issues, and whose wife also has Alzheimers.)
Needless to say, Nancy and I are grateful for what we're sure is very helpful spiritual strength-training. But the car wreck. Was that really necessary? It's not that I object to the wreck per se, it's just out of keeping with the general tone I think you ought to be striving for. The day of the wreck, I had also learned that my wife had to sequester that chickens in the utility room again, because she'd caught a possum in the coop trying to get one. You see what I'm talking about? The high drama of heart disease and Alzheimers is spoiled when you go throwing in chickens and car wrecks. Frankly, the chickens and car wrecks make the whole thing kind of silly. I'm not complaining about the moral strengthening; bring it on, I say. It's a matter of style.
If you can permit me another example. Over Christmas, Nancy's dad was again in the hospital, again for congestive heart disease. Meanwhile, one of the caregivers who looks after Nancy's mother had the flu. Nancy's sister Donna, who is a stalwart, and to whom the lion's share of care-giving had fallen, also had the flu. Both had to be quarantined. Coping with Nancy's mother and sick father in these circumstances was wonderfully strengthening, and having it occur over Christmas was a master-touch. But then - in the middle of that same hellish chaos - we discovered that the dog was deaf.
I hope you see what I'm driving at. You have these weighty, serious, literally life-and-death issues, and you toss in canine deafness, and the whole thing falls flat. It's not that you're overdoing it, but the dog's hearing loss could have been saved for another time when it wouldn't have made the entire ordeal seem ridiculous.
Again, I'm not complaining about the trials and tribulations themselves. But I'm sure we would all get a lot more satisfaction from them if you'd refrain from tossing in irrelevant side-shows involving dogs, chickens, and car wrecks.
It's all a question of style.