A few years ago, I worked in a very busy medical/dental practice. We served a large population that dealt with extreme health issues, poverty and drug addiction. We were committed to helping those in need. Over the years I grew to know patients on a first name basis and I was privileged to hear their stories. Some of our patients taught me valuable lessons.
One patient was a man – let’s call him Jack. Jack came into the office on a regular basis. He was always in some sort of emergent state. He needed help IMMEDIATELY. He expected the staff to drop everything and run to his side. The problem with Jack was that he wanted an instant remedy. Jack never came into the office for follow-up care. His “medical crisis” was basically simple. Jack needed a tooth pulled. Unfortunately, he would only come to us when it was infected and unable to be removed. Jack would not do his part to get healthy. Jack wanted to keep that tooth – he had no intention of ever losing his reason to be given a prescription for pain relief. This was a big concern for our office.
Before I take this story any further, let me just say, I am a New York girl. I am emotional and sensitive, with a New York dynamite fuse. If that fuse is lit, it just may ignite an explosion that can send shrapnel and tears clear across a room – the angrier I am the more I cry – I hate that part! Lol. Thankfully, for the “Jacks” that have come into my life, I have a God that holds me in check.
Now that you know me a bit better, let’s get back to Jack. I surveyed the room, Jack was screaming and rolling around, but all I could see were the frightened children. Children who had come to our office for care. My fuse was ignited! Amid the chaos, I got on my knees right next to Jack. I leaned in very close to his ear and I said, (using my best NY street accent) “This is how things are going to go down. I am going to call security. They are going to take you immediately into the examination room. They are going to sit you in the chair. Then I am going to bring in the oral surgeon – that tooth is coming out – TODAY. It is going to hurt, but it will be gone!” The strangest thing happened, Jack was immediately free of his pain. He stood up, straightened his clothes, flashed me a “loving” hand sign, opened the door and was gone. All the months of care and instruction and follow-up had come to an end. I learned a valuable lesson that day. Some people will come into your life that will not want to get well. They want to hold onto that “rotten tooth”, that anger, that addiction. They will not care who they hurt, they have one goal – self. They will leave you shaken, exhausted and, at times, in tears.
I told you this story so that you could decide if you have a “Jack” in your life. You know, someone who pleads for your advice, your prayers, your time, yet does nothing to help him (or herself?). If you are shaking your head yes, then ignite your fuse! Get down on your knees, ask for strength and wisdom from God. Get back up and offer the truth, even through your tears. “Here are the facts, Jack….Now what are YOU going to do with them?” One of two things will happen, He/She will either take action and begin the process of getting well, or He/She will walk out of your life. Both responses are an answer to prayer.
Always remember, you are not a dumping ground. Never hesitate to help but be sure that the people who request it are willing to take the wheel and steer their journey. Their life is not your road to travel – it belongs to them. You can hand them a map, even gas when they need it – but you cannot and should not, be the Chauffeur.
I think of my first “Jack” often. I pray he found the strength to beat his addiction, to remove that rotten tooth from his body. I am glad that I was not one of the people that helped him to continue down his road of destruction. I am thankful he lit my fuse.