By Curtis Shelburne
Phooey! Pfui! Rats! I think I’m getting a cold.
It’s still early in the experience, and I hope that maybe I just sucked up enough dust working on sheet rock last night that the dust is to blame for what feels like the beginnings of a cold. Maybe it’s not a bug at all. But I doubt it. I know the signs.
Wednesday night at our Praise Team practice, I noticed that my high notes weren’t there. I’m a bass-singer. I’m the son of a bass. I’m the father of four basses. But because we need a tenor on the Praise Team at church, I’m pretending to be one.
(We try not to steal sheep, but if you’re a really good tenor or alto, give me a call and the Praise Team and I will make you an offer!)
I don’t mind singing tenor. But, for me, the first sign of a cold is that my high notes go AWOL.
Then I notice my nose getting stuffy.
Here come the sneezes and coughs and a bit of a sore throat and then …
Then I don’t need the Center for Disease Control to tell me I’m infected and infectious.
I’m still hoping it’s sheet rock dust. But I’m shooting up a cold remedy just in case.
I guess it could be worse. I’ve sort of been expecting to get sick. Isn’t that weird?
I’ve been a little like old Florian Krepsbach down at Krepsbach Chevrolet on Main Street in Garrison Keillor’s fictional Lake Wobegon, Minn. Ever since the day he got distracted and accidentally left his wife Myrtle at a truck stop on the Interstate (they’re back together and doing fine now, thanks), he’d sort of been expecting something bad to happen to him. When a few days later the Karlsson boy was riding his bicycle down the sidewalk and accidentally hit Eomer, the old man thought it really could have been worse. He’d been expecting something a LOT worse.
I guess I have, too.
Isn’t it crazy to be so busy? Isn’t it even crazier to know that you know that you’re so busy and moving so fast that the wheels are about to come off somewhere and you’re headed for a crash?
It’s crazier still not to slow down before the crash that you know is probably coming. Will it be medical, emotional, financial, or … You don’t know. But you know people can’t move this fast and not hit something. But you still do. Move too fast. And crash.
I’m glad it’s just a cold. (I’m tempted to say, “so far.” But that would be pessimistic.)
I’d sort of been hoping for the flu. Just a light case. No high fever. Just enough to call for a little bed rest, some hot tea, and a good book.
Ah, everybody’s too busy, they say. No, they’re not. Not everybody. Not this busy. But way too many of us are. And the kicker is that we’re busy with good stuff. Just way too much good stuff and not always the most important good stuff.
Dear God, help us to slow down. But, gently, please.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at