Of Kids and PDL Classes
As I have already mentioned, K9 is not feeling well right now. My parents insisted that I take him to see this doctor they recommended. He is really a very nice person and, I am sure, a terrific doctor. It’s just that K9 was probably the first kid to ever walk into his office. I figured that out when I asked the doctor to write a note for K9’s school, and he pulled out a form letter titled “Note of Absence From Work”, looked at me and said: “So what do I write in here?”
Anyway, last weekend, this doctor tried to perform a certain medical procedure on K9’s foot. It wasn’t a big deal, but it was going to hurt. The doctor decided not to give K9 any painkiller meds, shots etc. because he figured K9 would be afraid of the shots. Well the procedure went well for about ten minutes, after which K9 lost it and started crying and screaming and cussing and praying and begging the doctor to please cut his foot off. This went on for an hour and a half and we have to come back next week because the doctor had quit halfway. K9 had been screaming so loud he scared the doctor and all his patients. I am ashamed to say that towards the end, all three adults present – the doctor, my Dad, and myself – got so disconnected from reality, we started actually reprimanding K9 for crying from pain, and telling him to be quiet. I die of shame each time I think of it. After the whole ordeal, K9 was pretty much unable to walk for the rest of the weekend (he can hobble around pretty fast now).
That was Saturday morning, and on Saturday night I had the most amazing conversation with K9:
K9, all of a sudden: Grandpa was so good to me this morning at the doctor's office. He was helping me and talking to me.
Me: Was I helping?
K9: Oh yes, you were! You were right by my side the whole time.
Me: And the doctor? What about him?
K9, enthusiastically: The doctor did the most of us all! He was helping me, and treating me, and trying to make me feel better.
I was speechless. Here we were, the three adults that had let a nine-year-old kid down by putting him through an hour and a half of pain and then telling him not to cry. And here was that kid thanking us for helping him! If I were him, I know I’d be mad at the stupid grown-ups that screwed me up so badly. But he wasn’t mad! He was the exact opposite of mad! This is just so amazing. I wish I could be like K9.
Don’t get me wrong. Most of the time K9 is just like any ordinary kid, driving his parents up the wall. He takes forever to get up in the morning, and then I get threatening letters from school because he’s been late to class again. He talks in class, and I get more threatening letters. He likes Eminem and Wendy’s meals (both of which, to me, are in pretty much the same category, quality-wise). He acts like a spoiled brat and makes me shake my head and wonder how he’ll ever be able to survive in life. And then, right when I’m in the middle of shaking my head and wondering, he says and does things that make me stare in amazement and, I confess, admiration. Because, on some level, K9 is a much better person than I will ever be. There is a part of him that makes me understand why the Bible tells us to be like children – the innocent, trusting, caring part. The part that never fails to humble me and wonder how a cynical woman like me has managed to raise a little saint like K9. The part that teaches me to have a positive outlook on life and see the best in everybody.
I’m glad that I can learn from my son.
By now, you’re probably wondering why the “PDL classes” in the title. Here’s why. We have a class in church that started last Wednesday, and I have signed up. Well, last Wednesday was exactly when K9 got worse, and he still needs my attention this week, and will definitely need it next week as he’s scheduled to have minor surgery on Monday. This means I won’t be able to take the class. I had my doubts because I’m not really a PDL fan, but I had signed up for the class anyway, just because I felt I probably had to. I believe this is divine intervention. I think it was God telling me, “You don’t really *have to* go to this class, you know?” Things like that always make me go, "WOW. You really *are* up there".
I’m not sure why I didn’t like the book. Everyone else around me loved it – and that includes people I deeply respect and look up to. When I mentioned it to a woman in our church, she didn’t believe what I was saying, literally – I had to repeat it several times: “I didn’t like the book” – “What, PDL?” – “Yes, PDL” – “You didn’t like it?” – “No, I didn’t”. I sure did feel like an odd person out!
I honestly tried to make myself like the PDL, but I have to break down and confess – no matter how hard I tried, it irritated me to no end! I cannot even put my finger on what irritated me, except of course that the book is written in this dead-serious tone. It takes itself too seriously. And no, jokes like “Christians are like snowflakes, when they get together, they can stop traffic” do not count, because, um, they are not funny. That, and the requirements that we volunteer only in church, donate only to church, be friends only with believers, talk to unbelievers only to convert them… did I miss anything? Oh, and the unexplicable resentment the author seems to have towards secular jobs and retirement funds. What’s that all about? Does he see them as some sort of competition? I don't want to sound disrespectful, but that's exactly how it sounds!
I have never before seen a book that said all the right things - mind you, I agree with 90% of what PDL says, - and said them in such an incredibly annoying, irritating way. At least that’s the way I felt about the book and there’s no way I can get around it. And if I can’t, then I probably shouldn’t be taking the class. Which is what God has been trying to tell me all along. I feel so much better now that I actually, physically, cannot make it to the class.
Pretty weird huh?