Surprised by Healing

silhouette of person standing on rock surrounded by body of water

I came down with a nasty head cold a couple weeks ago while speaking at a conference in Detroit. If you have never given a talk in front of hundreds of people while you’re on cold meds, you really don’t know what you’re missing. While it might sound fun, I can promise you it’s snot.

I woke up in the hotel to prepare for the second day of the event with only one thought on my mind, “I need to find someone who will sell me drugs.” That was sometime before 6AM. I turned to Google Maps to find a good source — only to learn none of the pharmacies around me opened until 10AM. 10AM! Sheesh. That could mean only one thing. They don’t care if people like me die.

Seriously. These people have buildings filled with life saving medicine and they’re like, “Yeah, let’s just sleep in.” It’s like they’ve decided to leave all the drug selling to the other guys. You know, the ones who aren’t really into the whole franchise thing. They’re not on board with “Big Pharma.” The ones who are more into the “buy local” crowd, if you know what I’m sayin’.

Since I’m Italian on my mom’s side, I tend to blame stuff like this on the mafia. I could see the mob sitting down with the pharmacies and giving them an offer they can’t refuse. Stranger things have happened. I imagine my cousin Vinnie telling the local Walgreens manager, “Ayo, we’re going to sell our drugs from 10PM to 10AM. You guys get the other twelve hours. Capiche?” It’s possible. Probable even.

So, since I couldn’t wait four hours to get some relief, I found a guy. Forget about it!

Actually, I just meandered into a market that was open and bought out their cold meds. I was told I had to get something called “Airborne,” so I grabbed a tube along with a concoction of other stuff. Later that morning at McDonalds I thought I’d give it a try.

I opened the tube not knowing what I might discover. It was filled with orange tablets about the circumference of a quarter and about as thick as three or four quarters stacked together. There were some directions on the Airborne tube, but I didn’t read them. Cuz I’m not a nerd!

My first thought was, “There is no way I can swallow that!” My second thought, and this is a little middle-school-ish of me, was, “Maybe I can smash it and snort it.” Cuz I’m a genius!

Some ladies standing nearby encouraged me to put it in water. Great! That’s just what I need. Medicine I have to hydrate. I have a hard enough time keeping myself hydrated. What are these things, like little pet rocks. Do I have to make sure they get a walk and take a nap?

The ladies insisted. They weren’t too impressed with my idea of snorting it in a powerderized state. So, I got a cup of hot water and dropped the tablet in. I had no category for what happened next.

The cup began shaking and smoking. The water began to boil. Boil! And it turned deep orange. Orange! And then, out of the orange, boiling, froth, a small alien climbed out with a tiny shop vac, looked up at me, and offered to clean out my nose. That’s a true story, too. Except for the alien.

I’m now addicted to these orange frothy lattes. They’ve been helpful, along with a steady mixture of the other drugs Vinnie hooked me up with. And if I need to have a point to this post, it would be this: Sometimes we miss out on healing because we expect it to come to us packaged in a certain way. Sometimes the healing we need comes from unexpected places.

A friend of mine who went through a really dark period of life shared with me that he was surprised by both who walked out of his life and who walked in during that season. He said some of the most helpful people were not at all the ones he would expect. If you’re struggling with loss, sadness, or depression this holiday season, I hope you’ll find the hope and some of the healing you need. But it might surprise you where it comes from. I hope you’ll be open to that.

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times, in all ways. The Lord be with you all”
(2 Thessalonians 3:16)