Monday, August 24, 2015

That Time I Got Stabbed In The Face With A Pencil

While on bedrest, I played a game inside my head called “worst case scenario.”  I would ask myself questions such as, “What will I do when I lose one of the triplets in Target?”  Then I would thoughtfully construct an answer inside my brain:  I will scream bloody murder, lock down the store, call a swat team, and hold every customer and worker hostage until the lost child is found and returned.  “What will I do if another child is mean to one the girls?”  Answer:  I will hire a squad of hit men to rough the mean child up until he or she swears never to come near any of my children as long as he or she lives.  “What will you do if one of the girls refuses to wear hair bows and smocked dresses?”  Answer:  I will pay her to wear bows and smocked dresses on special occasions and let her wear what she wants the rest of the time.

Never, ever, in any of those 74 days did I ask myself, “What will you do when one of your children stabs you in the face with a pencil?” 
As a former school teacher, I pride myself in the fact that I have the essential knowledge, skills, and training to work with the girls on an instructional level.  As a mother human who feels a level of exhaustion unlike any tired I have ever felt every single waking minute of every living day, I will confess that I rarely use stated essential knowledge and skills to work with the girls on an instructional level. However, this summer there was a definite need to play “catch up” in preparation for first grade, so I committed to work with the girls 20-30 minutes every day.

One fine summer evening, I sat Baby B down at the table with handwriting paper and a pencil.  Baby B is usually my most cooperative and obedient child.  On this particular night, not so much.
Me:  Are you ready to practice your lower case letters?

Baby B:  Not really.  I would rather go swimming.
Me:  We are going to start with lower case a.  It’s easy!  All you have to do is make a circle.  Then, pick up your pencil and draw a line. 

I modeled how to correctly form the letter and then handed the pencil to Baby B.
Baby B:  This pencil needs to be sharpened.  Also, I think you need to brush your teeth.  Your breath is horrible.

Me:  Please go sharpen the pencil.
Baby B walked across the kitchen, sharpened her pencil, and then returned to the table.

Baby B:  I hate writing letters.  I want to go naked swimming at Granny's.

Me:  I understand.  I hope that with a little practice, writing will be easier for you. 
Baby B:  I don’t like the eraser cap on this pencil.

Me:  You may remove the eraser cap.  Then, you will need to write the letter a.
Baby B gripped the eraser cap with her left hand, while pointing the freshly sharpened pencil lead toward me with her right hand.  As she forcefully pulled off the eraser cap, her right hand flew forward.  Then, she stabbed me in the face with her pencil.

At first, neither of us spoke.  We just looked at each other with very wide eyes.
I jumped up from the table and ran to the bathroom.  I had a small hole in my chin region.  The tip of the pencil was trapped in the hole.  There was blood.  The Trifecta trailed behind me, Baby B staring at me in stunned silence.

Chris:  What happened?

Trifecta:  What happened?

Me:  Baby B stabbed me in the face with her pencil.  It wasn’t on purpose. The pencil lead is in there though and I can’t get it out. 

The Trifecta began to cry and scream in perfect harmony.

Baby C:  I don’t want Mommy to have a hole in her chin!

Baby A:  Are you going to die?

Baby B:  I didn’t mean to do it!  I’m running away to China!

Me (to Baby B):  I’m not mad at you!  It was an accident!  I’m just worried about the lead in the hole in my chin.

Chris:  Pencils are actually made from non-toxic graphite, it’s a common misconception that they are made from lead.


The Trifecta began to sob uncontrollably, in perfect harmony.

Chris:  Do you need some ice?


The Trifecta began to roll around on the bathroom floor while screaming, “WE DON’T WANT YOU TO HAVE A HOLE IN YOUR CHIN!”

Me:  I am going to go to the after-hours clinic to see if someone can remove the non-toxic graphite.

Baby A:  Are you going to die?

Baby C:  I don’t want you to go to the hospital!  Mommies aren’t supposed to get injured!

Baby B:  I am going to run away to China!
Me:  Don't worry!  Daddy is going to turn on the television and bring you Cheetos!
Upon arriving at the walk-in clinic I was immediately assured that I would not die from lead poisoning.  Because pencils are made from non-toxic graphite.  After many failed attempts to remove the graphite from my face, I was told that I would need to make an appointment with a dermatologist.

The following morning I saw Dr. Junior Nelson.  He removed the non-toxic graphite from my face. 


 All that is left is a tiny grey-green dot on my chin. 

Soon after this incident, my Sunday School class had a discussion about Noah, the arc, the storm, and the rainbow.  My class is full of some super smart people, and our teacher, Rob, is brilliant.  He started talking about the role of God as parent.  He shared that God could totally control us if He wanted to, but He doesn’t.  He creates the space for us to breathe and live.  With that space, we sin. 

The first thing that came into my mind was a visual image of me, stabbing God in the face with a pencil.  I do it all the time.  I certainly don’t mean to stab Him in the face, but I constantly make choices that are different from those He has called me to make. 

Each time I demonstrate my arrogance, my self-centeredness, my anger, my total sinfulness, God takes a non-toxic graphite pencil to the chin.  But He loves me regardless.  He sent His son to take away those sins, He cleanses my heart and my soul.

God doesn’t need to create “worst-case scenarios” for us.  We are His children.  He loves us, no matter what.  Even when we stab Him in the face.

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