Catching Hope

Looking for the grace of God that surrounds us

Doorbells, and the End of the World.

So it seemed to be, anyway, as I was getting ready for bed at 1:00 am on a Friday night not too many weeks ago.  The end of the world, that is.

*Note: this post is dedicated to my dear roommate Rachel, who was not home to witness it and to whom I refuse to give the pleasure of a re-enactment for the sake of photographs.

I am not even sure it has been a long enough time for me to recover.  Even as I write this I am feeling my fingers tense up and my heart rate increase.  Two weeks ago on Friday night I thought the end of my world had come.

The doorbell rang.

Sounds innocent, right?  HOWever keep in mind it was the middle of the night.  In a still-somewhat ghetto neighborhood.

When I was little I was taught to NEVER, never never never answer the door after dark.  Especially when I was home alone.

Which I was, at this particular hour on this particular Friday.  Rachel was working and Sarah had left a note that she was staying at a friend’s house overnight.

So, being the good little city-living person that I am, I let the doorbell alone and didn’t go to look who it was.  I figured it was either a kid or a drunk person and they would go away.

They didn’t.

After a few minutes of constant doorbell-ringing, my head started a slight spin.  This slight spin soon turned into a downright downward spiral of irrational panic.

That’s right. Panic, folks.  Sheer terror.  As I thought about the fact that people who want to break in to houses often ring the doorbell several times to make sure no one was home before they kick the door in.

As I saw the pickup truck parked directly in front of the house.  The getaway car, of course.  Lots of room for everything they were going to steal.  Were they (*gasp!) armed??  Knives? Guns? Anything?

The pitch of my voice and the speed of my speech heightened as I called my Superhero Daddy. (“What do I do? what do I do??….*gasp* …ringing….*gasp*[pitch of voice increases] they’re in the back now….I think there’s two of them…oh daddy I can hear them….*gasp*…”)

The tremor in my voice increased as I then called 911 and panickedly told the operator that I thought I was about to get broken in to.

“What do I do while I wait for the police?”, my little voice eeked out (by this time the pitch of my voice was at a pure squeak).

Apparently there’s nothing TO do while you wait for the police, except call if anything changes.  Or so the operator told me.

The doorbell kept ringing.  Whoever It was, was going from the back door to the front door, back and forth, back and forth.

I got back on the phone with Superhero Dad, waiting for the inevitable.  My little chipmunk voice now pretty much could only peep out, “It’s still going, it’s still going….what do I do?” over and over again.

(*pace* squeak out some unintelligible expression of fear into the phone* pace* repeat.)

That’s how the next 1o minutes went, mostly.

Except when I was planning my Official Escape, which was to go on to my porch roof via my bedroom window and let the Perps take whatever they wanted (I, rather brilliantly, had locked myself in my bedroom).  I attempted this escape just prior to calling the cops.  Did I not mention that before?  You see, it just so happens that around the time Superhero Dad mentioned calling the police (about three minutes into the doorbell-ringing) I was slurking around on the roof trying to determine the best place to avoid being seen by the Unknown Creep (should I close the window behind me so they don’t know I’m here??? but how would I get back IN once they were gone…) and it then struck me that the neighbors, if awake, might just call the cops on ME for suspiciously prowling around on my own roof.  Despite the red stripey pajamas and fuzzy white zippey-up hoodie, it probably looked somewhat suspicious.

Besides, what if the Crazy-Eyed Assailant/s could HEAR me talk on the roof?

So I slunk back in. I left the window unlocked and ready to go just in case.

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  (*pace*squeak*pace*squeak…..)

Now Superhero asks if there are any lights on at the neighbors.  There are.  He calls that neighbor from another line, who shines a flashlight on the Lone Blatant Decrier of Justice (by this time I have determined that there is indeed only one of them, judging by the time in between front and back doorbells).  The Fearsome Criminale doesn’t answer.

*pace*squeak*pace*squeak (“oh daddy, can you PLEASE ask him to come and see who it is???”)

Daddy asks the Kind Neighbor. Kind Neighbor gets dressed and goes out to see what the trouble is.  (Despite the lights, I guess he was in bed after all. oops.)

Muffled voices.  Female voice….familiar voice….

Sudden wave of relief mixed with ocean rush of adrenaline leaving my body.

Sudden thought that I had better call 911 back and tell them not to come.  This was fortunate, for my roommate at least.  Because the Nefarious Personage was not a criminal at all.  It was my roommate who didn’t have her keys or her phone when she got dropped off earlier than she expected.

I let her in (poor thing was freezing), then spent the next hour trying to realize that no, I was not about to get attacked and yes, I could indeed now close and lock the window.

Everyone was finally in bed (Superhero Dad and Mom, Poor Half-Frozen Roommate, Kind Neighbor and Rather-Foolish-Feeling-Yet-Still-Totally-Freaked-Out-Me).  And then there was a garage fire across the alley.  I missed it, because even though the sirens were close I decided we had had enough for one night.

I cannot quite laugh about this yet.  Perhaps in three months.  Or maybe three years, considering how elevated my adrenaline levels were and how ridiculously out of control the old “Fight or Flight” response was.  Perhaps you will laugh, though.  Or maybe you will (or should) cry.

Point of this story is, it was not the end of the world, as I so highly suspected at the time.

I am sorry don’t have any major applications to life on this one.  Except to say that I am glad my sympathetic nervous system is intact.  Or was, at least, before this incident.

The only other thing I can think of is just perhaps some little word of wisdom, something having to do with red stripey pajamas and fuzzy white zippey-up hoodies and not sneaking around on porch roofs.  I’ll let you know if I come up with anything.

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According to my pathophysiology book….

We are all going to die.

Of something.

Odds are totally stacked against us.

This may seem common sense, however, as I have read further into my pathophysiology textbook (which tells me all about the inner workings of what makes us die), I am finding that to avoid this rather unfortunate phenomena, we must live in a bubble and eat nothing.  Except perhaps the occasional carrot stick and sip of purified water.  [note: NOT celery, despite it’s reputation as the Ultimate Health Nut’s Food.  Apparently even celery can have negative effects, between the high probability of pesticide residue, the relatively high sodium content (if you have high blood pressure, that is), and I might personally add the annoying little strings that get caught in your teeth.]

Here’s the partial running list of odd things I have discovered that contribute to disease.  While occasionally overstated : ), these are documented risk factors for disease, when consumed/experienced in large amounts:

*Animal fat.  Causes disease of the gut, including cancer if eaten in large amounts.  (toss out the lard, folks! guess the Chick-Fil-A cows are right after all….Eat Mor Chikn.  the LEAN kind of chicken.)

*Being tall.  Height and leg length, to be exact.  Long legs have a documented association with cancer.  (Not sure what you can do about this one–unless someone has figured out how to alter the gene pool….)

*Hot tea: in excess it apparently strains your gut too much and can give you anemia.  Pernicous anemia, to be exact, which to me sounds like a cross between a persnickity old woman and some variety of a garden cabbage. (It’s better not to ask where that thought came from, because quite frankly I have no idea either.)

*Steak or other charbroiled foods.  The old saying holds true, if it’s black and tastes terrible, don’t eat it.  (OK, maybe that’s not an old saying.  But now it is.)

*Long-term exposure to cold (we Minnesotans have known this for quite some time.  Then again, perhaps those that move to Florida for the winter have a better practical understanding of this one…) or repeated exposure to vibrating machinery in the workplace.  Both of these can cause spasms in your hands that turn your fingers blue.

*”Chinese-style salted fish”.  (Not even sure what this is). But apparently if it is fed to infants, it correlates with disease of the nose and throat.

*A cold or flu virus.  Those little guys can stick in your system and pop back out to to say hello in new and updated forms such as shingles or mononucleosis.  (Hence, I would remind you of the aforementioned “bubble” living idea…)

*Too much sunshine.  Can cause skin cancer. (I should have added in the introduction to this post that when in the aforementioned protective bubble, sipping organic water and munching on the occasional pesticide-free carrot stick, one should protect exposed skin as well…)

*Not enough sunshine.  Lowers the Vitamin D level.  (Note: to rectify this with the previous post, I guess there is a very delicate balance between not enough sunshine and too much.  Ask Aristotle, the master of the “Golden Mean” of the middle ground…)

And speaking of the middle ground, at least on this point, I think perhaps Aristotle had a good idea–that is of living in moderation.  Some sunshine but not too much.  Some steak but don’t petrify it black.  That sort of thing–common sense living.  Which, incidentally, after all, does not consist of living in a bubble and subsisting on carrot sticks (in my humble opinion, anyway!).  : )

Also, there are some things you can do something about (such as smoking, weight control, avoiding Chinese-style salted fish, etc.).  Common sense living dictates that you modify what can be modified in your lifestyle.  Other things you can’t help, when all is said and done (being tall, for one!).  So, I guess the conclusion is to do what you can to preserve your health (protect your body as the “temple”–1 Corinthians 6:19-20) but understand that we are all fallen creatures under the curse of sin.

This is why, ultimately, we are all going to get sick and eventually die.  It’s really not the excess of celery sticks, the hot tea, or the animal fat.  It’s our sin nature, given to us by Adam when he and his wife ate the forbidden fruit.

But we can rejoice, and not only rejoice but rejoice with HOPE, because the Second Adam has come and redeemed His children–both soul and body.

Romans 5:17:  For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Praise our Father that He has given us hope!

(All medical facts come from the book, “Understanding Pathophysiology”, 4th Edition, by McCance and Huether, copyright 2008.  Except for the part about celery, which I found after a little bit of internet research on various sites.  Exaggeration and hyperbole directly from The Mind of Kristina Michael, RN, October 2010.)

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