In last week's sermon, we discussed how I'd fallen out of bed, banged my head on the Old Testament and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, before landing on the carpet that the 300-pound beagle had ruined over the years. It was like landing in Dante's Seventh Circle.
I was OK, bounced right back up, in fact, which as I told the little guy's eighth-grade classmates during a recent talk is what life's all about: You bounce back up, rattled and a little confused. But, you know, bouncy … resilient … grateful for every beautiful bruise.
In last week's sermon, we also discussed the wife's growing cancer bills and how the bank was poised to take the house, a blessing in the long run. I could never get tomatoes to grow here, and the acoustics are awful — I can hear every darn thing my wife says. The floor plan is a little funky, and the old drain pipes all seem to be collapsing in on themselves.
Worst of all, the house faces north, toward San Francisco and Seattle, two shanty ocean towns I never really cared for. When the wind is right, you can smell the bananas rotting on the wharves.
Anyway, as reader Mary Ann Cullen noted, Pinterest offers some amazing ideas for turning medical bills into Easter bunnies and spring flowers. Let us know if you'd like some.
Listen, they can take the house, the furniture and even the thousands of dollars worth of baseballs in the trunk of my old Camaro. What they can't take away are all the memories. Or the kids.
Well, I suppose they could take the kids, but they'd return them right away. "We made a mistake," is all the debt collector would say. "We thought they were worth something."
Oh, they are. It just takes a while to figure out.
Meanwhile, life goes on.
"Hey Melania, how are you feeling today?" I ask my struggling wife.
"Know what I hate?" she asks.
"My hair falls out, but I still have to shave my legs," she says with a sigh.
One reader insisted that falling out of bed was "a call for attention," now that Posh/Melania is getting most of it. Trust me, she has always received most of the attention. Long ago, we established Posh was a fugitive princess with lousy credit and bad taste in men. Those kind of women always get plenty of attention.
On the good-news front, the latest tests show that the chemo is working dramatically well. Her stud doctor — the noisy New Yorker — was thrilled at the improvement, as were the nurses, as were we.
I have to say that Posh's medical care has been amazing. My only gripe is that, during the long chemo sessions, the nurses keep denying me the warm blankets they heat up in an oven/incubator. "Please ask nurses for blankets," the sign says. So I do.
"Um, those are for the patients," the nurses explain.
"Could I get you something else?" they ask.
"How's the veal today?" I ask.
The nurses think I'm hilarious, a one-man tour-de-farce, unlike Posh, who thinks my shenanigans are inappropriate to the setting. I remind her that I'm like the guy trying to suppress a sneeze in church. The more I hold it in, the bigger the joke gets.
Fortunately, I have a lot of people praying for me — by my count, there's me and one of our two dogs.
Posh has even more people praying for her. By my count, thousands. One reader, Mary Bottum, said that she plays piano each week at a religious service at the county jail, and that she has asked the inmates to pray for Posh.
So there's that.
Margie and Armando of San Diego wrote to say that we are now part of their novena to our Mother of Perpetual Help. Another reader, Shirley Eshbaugh, says she would be willing to have the seminarians at St. Lawrence Seminary in Wisconsin pray for Posh every day for one year.
I don't know what that costs, but that's a lot of kneeling.
You can scoff at almost everything, as I do. But what I've learned from all this is that you should never be surprised at the power of prayer. Because no matter where you worship, or what you believe, prayers represent everlasting hope in the face of challenges we can't even fathom.
It's been that way for thousands of years, and will be for thousands to come. If you've found a better way to make God wink, go for it — and be sure to ping me (and the L.A. Clippers).
As a footnote, the baby hummingbird we adopted — another frail and beautiful patient — signed the guest book and took off the other day after four days in the shoe box on our porch.
Like a church sneeze, we held her as long as we possibly could. And then she soared.