The Parable of the Chicken Bone
This past Friday night I got to spend some time making friends with a couple nurses and an ER doctor who recently moved to Nashville.
All week, my wife’s coworkers had been raving about some fried chicken, and she suggested having it Friday for dinner. I didn’t object because well, who am I to stand between deep fried poultry and getting it in my mouth?
About four bites in to this tasty treat, I take too big of a bite, and I begin to choke. I hit myself on the back of the neck, a chunk of food comes out, but I can definitely tell something is wrong. There is a bone, and it’s stuck in my throat. After establishing I can still breathe, I get on the computer and google home remedies – because Google is the new WebMD, and I have a bone stabbing me in the esophagus.
A quick glance through the top google hits, and I am either going to be dead in the next 6 – 8 minutes, or I should try the following:
- Eat bread
- Eat a banana
- Drink lots of water
- Gargle vinegar
- Swallow a spoonful of olive oil
- Keep trying vinegar to break down the bone, but pair it with some more bread.
- Go to ER
Let’s skip steps 1 through 3 and just say they didn’t help at all. Still stuck, still hurting, we decide to gargle vinegar, which if you aren’t too sure, is akin to chewing on a skunk’s tail.
Problem number one: I apparently don’t know how to gargle. We discovered this when I took a big swig of vinegar (gross) and started reenacting every mouthwash commercial I have ever seen. Remember, this is nasty. Allison charades how to gargle and I start to do that, only to find problem number two: when you gargle vinegar (after swishing it around), the smell and taste of vinegar will make you throw up. Loudly.
After 3 or 4 more rounds of this – gargling, vomiting, throat still hurting – we ran out of vinegar. On to step 5, we switched to olive oil (extra virgin, duh). Quick, guess what the outcome of swallowing a shot of olive oil is… you are correct. More vomit.
So we switch to step 6, but are out of vinegar, and consequently, bread. In an effort to put off the ER as long as possible, we go to the store. This round of gargling vinegar/throwing up took place in the Walgreens parking lot, much to the joy of that guy who witnessed all this on his smoke break. It still was hurting pretty bad, so we decided to pull the trigger on Step 7.
We showed up and explained the situation to the ER nurse, who very bravely tried to fight back her laughter. When they admitted me to the back, and was getting my information, the nurse responded, “It’s okay, we see this sort of thing a lot. Mostly with patients under the age of 8.” The rest of the night is an amusing study in ER people-watching, amusing text messages, friend making, and a snarky doctor making “buzzard choking on bone” jokes. And since I know you all care, the bone was dislodged by throwing up (thanks vinegar!) but on it’s way out, the bone really cut my esophagus pretty bad (no thanks, vinegar!), thus the pain.
While this is humorous and turned out ok, I am not surprised this happened to me. Not because I usually get too excited around fried chicken, but because I can be such an impatient person.
When I look back on my story, I tend to think of it as different volumes, as separate works instead of chapters contributing to one single narrative. I tend to want to rush the storyline, to skip the hunger part and get to the satisfaction, to know the outcome and skip the tension.
Chicken bones are a reminder to slow down, to trust the tension.
Living in tension is valuable, and I needed to be reminded to be faithful enough to taking the next step, rather than attempting to triple jump the messy parts.
So here’s what I am going to do: take smaller bites.
But also, I am going to embrace the tension of the now, to hold firm to the One who is calling me, to trust His timing and turn over my insecurities that show themselves through impatience.
What about you? What reminder do you need this week (just don’t get all choked up about it)?