Perhaps because I do not get sick very often, I am the sort of person who, when well, cannot really remember how I feel when I am sick. Conversely, when I am sick, I find I cannot remember how it ever felt to be well.
Having been under the weather for nearly a week with a spring time cold, all I can say is that I am now much improved. In fact, to borrow a line from the pop music group, Chicago, it seems as if I am feeling stronger every day!
As I reflected on these things this afternoon, I was reminded of my grandfather, who was a Baptist preacher. Like most pastors, he had quite a collection of humorous stories in his repertoire. I heard him tell several of them down through the years. One of his favorites was about an old farmer down in Alabama. I can just hear him telling it now…
A farmer in southern Alabama was on his way to town in a wagon and was hit broadside by a truck. One mule was knocked 35 feet off into a field and the other was knocked 20 feet off into a ditch. The farmer got up and walked away saying he was okay. Later, however, he sued the truck driver.
At the trial, the lawyer for the truck driver inquired, “And just how is it that you are suing my client, seeing that at the scene you said you were okay?” The farmer's reply was, “Well, there were extenuating circumstances...”
“Indeed! Pray tell, enlighten us as to just what these extenuating circumstances were!” quipped the lawyer.
“Well,” said the farmer, “As I lay there on the roadside by my wrecked wagon, the sheriff walked over to one of my mules and said, ‘This mule has a broken leg. He’ll never live.’ Then he pulled out a pistol and shot him graveyard dead. Then he said the same about the second mule and shot him too. After this, he walked over to me and asked, ‘How are you doing?’ Now, I won’t lie to you, Mr. Lawyer, I looked him square in the eyes and said, ‘Sheriff, I ain't never felt better in my life!’”
While I have never faced this sort of pressure to get better and to do it in such a rapid manner, I can say that I know the pressures that build up when one is sick and away from his or her duties.
For this reason, let me say that I truly appreciate all the church staff members and committed lay people who helped take up the slack in my absence.
But now, thank Heaven, I am feeling much better! And I will be back and resume my responsibilities right away. For, like that old farmer, I find that I’ve never felt better in my life!
STORY SOURCE: Actually, now that I am older, I have tracked down and collected up many of these humorous “preacher stories” myself. This particular one can be found in various forms all over the internet. A good example is here: http://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php?id=146507, page 56, number 21.