Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I Need a Thrill

My friends beg me NOT to pray for them. This may seem like a bizarre statement, unless you know my history with prayers. You see, God tends to answer my prayers. However, not exactly in the way I expected.

Before knowing about my gift of praying for results, a friend and Bible study teacher, asked me to pray that God’s voice would be heard in the class the following day. So, I prayed for God’s voice, not hers, be heard. She showed up for class with laryngitis.

At a challenging time in my life when I had to make a decision about my job situation, I begged God to give me a sign as to whether I should stay or go. Less than an hour later, a neighbor banged on my door to wake me as flames engulfed my apartment. It burned to the ground.

Of course, I can’t forget the Christmas I met my husband. Feeling lonely and incomplete as a single woman in a world of professional actors and musicians, with little hope of finding a man who preferred a woman, I prayed to meet someone before the end of the year to give me hope that I would eventually find a man to marry. On December 27th, a member of my church choir guilted me into attending her Christmas party. I didn’t want to attend because the hostess was one of those people who just grates on your every nerve until you think you will either run screaming from the room or kill her. Since I didn’t want to become a participant in a Christmas murder mystery, I attempted to find an excuse not to attend. Then, my best friend begged me to go with her to the party. Normally, I would say “no way.” This day, however, I relented because my friend had just learned that her brother committed suicide on Christmas day. She needed me. At the party, I met my future husband. Now, this can be construed as a good answer to prayer or a bizarre and twisted answer to prayer. I’ll stop there.

This trend continues to this day. I have to be extremely careful how I pray. Just a couple of years ago, I was reminded of the power of prayer. Stormy skies reflected my mood that day. I needed sunshine. 

I settled for a drive in the mountains near Chattanooga, where I lived at the time. Sighing, I prayed, “Lord, I really need a thrill to get me out of this mood. Please give me a thrill.” Less than one minute later, as I meandered with an expansive river on one side and the mountain on the other side, a tree snapped and fell on top of my new van. Fear, trepidation, anxiety all exploded in my body. I maneuvered myself out of the crushed car and inspected the damage. Thankfully, the event left me without injury. The car was not so lucky. I realized, as I sobbed and waved cars around me, I did it again. Why did I have to say “thrill?” Why didn’t I say “pleasant, happy experience?”

So, if you want some excitement in your life, ask me to pray for you. If you need a specific prayer answered, write it down in clear, concise language that leaves no room for surprises, and I will pray that for you. Anybody feeling lucky and want a thrill today?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Turkey on the Set

That sensation of pressure on the back of my throat, sudden over-salivation,
and nausea forced me to give an urgent wave to the producer, “Christo. I think I’m going to throw up. Actually, I know I’m going to throw up. Can you unhook my earbud and get a trashcan?”

Christo approached with a dazed expression and said in his gorgeous South African accent, “Are you alright? Do you need help? I’ll get a trashcan for you.”

I knew I shouldn’t have eaten turkey in the green room. Since my lap-band surgery five years ago, I have always had issues with poultry. But, I thought I could handle it. Big mistake. I knew I was in trouble as soon as I swallowed it and had to run to the bathroom. Usually, one trip is sufficient, the offending food eliminates itself from my system, and I am fine. Not tonight.

I was not scheduled to appear on HLN’s legal program, After Dark, today. However, Christo called me at four o’clock asking me to fill in for another juror. Of course, I said yes, changed into solid colored clothes to make the cameras happy, and battled Atlanta traffic to the CNN studios. This would be my tenth appearance.

Then, I ate the turkey. The turkey rebelled during the entire hour of taping. Each time we finished a block, I unhooked my earbud and rushed behind the “JURY” sign, and puked into a trashcan. I reentered the jury box with, “I’m fine. Don’t worry. No problem.” I truly believed each time it was the final release of the offending fowl. But, no. I struggled to hold on long enough between blocks to make it behind the sign. Three times, I had hiccups. One time I had a coughing frenzy and thought I would lose a load right there in front of the camera.

To make matters more challenging, there was a show going on around me. And who do you think they asked the first question tonight? Of course, they asked ME what I thought. Take into consideration that this trial is not one of the cut-and-dry situations. The panel and jury heated up as we discussed the Florida versus Zimmerman case, which is overflowing with racial overtones. One of my comments caused the Defense and Prosecution sides to duke it out, referring to my statement. It’s times like this I am thankful for all my acting experience.

By the third trip to the trashcan, the producers, Christo and Allison, were in a tizzy. I think they thought I was going to pass out--or worse. I tried to explain that I felt fine and that it is just a side effect of lap-band surgery when you eat a food that irritates the first-level stomach. It’s not like having a stomach virus or food poisoning. Thankfully, it doesn’t have an odor, either. Thankfully, especially tonight because, as I sat there waiting for the final “It’s a wrap,” I knew it was coming again. The director cut the camera and I threw up all over me and into the floor. I felt terrible that my fellow cast had to experience it with me.

The producer appeared immediately with heaps of paper towels and the crew dismantled the set around me. I turned to Christo and whined, “I promise I will never eat turkey here again—ever! Please let me come back to the show.”

The drive home was not fast enough for the remnants of turkey in my little stomach. I threw up twice more as I drove up I-75. This time the trashcan was a little pink job I carry in my car.

At ten o’clock, I turned on HLN and watched myself. I was amazed. Even I couldn’t tell what distress my body experienced tonight. Guess it’s time to send a little note to Christo and Allison and let them know I’m just fine—and ready to come back. I promise I won't eat any fowl before taping.