Taking care of problems

By | February 8, 2019 5:59 am

Playl’s Ponderings – By Steve Playl

“Nahnee! We have a problem!”

From all the way across the room, I detected urgency. Sammie had answered her phone expecting to hear, in a syrupy drawl, “Hey Nahnee.” Instead she heard words that sounded like an astronaut radioing Houston.

“Oh my goodness, Katie Grace, what kind of problem?”

Before the question was finished, further explanation was popping out of the phone – in compelling tones.

“This is ‘O’ week at school, and I have to think of words that start with the letter ‘O’!”

Now this may not sound like such a big deal to you, but to a kindergartner that takes her assignments very seriously, this was crucial. “O” is not as difficult as “X” for the initial letter in a word, but it isn’t all that easy…besides, “X” is still a few weeks away.

“Daddy said I could use ‘oxygen,’ but nobody has even told me what that means.”

“Well,” the words came in her calming, Nahnee voice, “oxygen is very important. It’s what we breathe, and all of us have to have it to live…but maybe we can come up with some words that are easier. How about ‘on,’ ‘off,’ ‘owl,’ ‘orange’ or – ‘or’?”

Although she was 400 away, I could feel the calmness enshrouding her little being…so I decided to make some contributions, “How about ‘omniferous,’  or ‘omnicient’?”

“PAPA!” It came in stereo from K.G., plus her mother and grandmother.

“Okay,” I retreated, “how about ‘okay’ for a word?

I was trying not to think about another “O” word. Next day I was scheduled for minor surgery, and that fact swirled ominously through my mind. “Operation” was the word I wanted to forget. Short stay. Laparoscopic. Simple procedure. Great surgeon. None of those words completely relieved my concerns. I’m no Garfield; I was apprehensive about being put to sleep. Lots of folks have problems that dwarf my visit to the O.R., but, like K.G., I was a bit troubled by my little “problem.”

What I needed to do was heed the advice of the Psalmist, who wrote, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” After Sammie prayed for me in the prep room, that is what I did.

A few days after surgery, I was on the phone with K.G. again. This week is “P” week, and we talked about “princess,” “pink,” and “purple.”

“What about ‘peace’?”

“You mean like a piece of pie?” she giggled.

“No. I mean as in the song, ‘I’ve got peace like a river’.”

My hint was all it took, and K.G. crooned, “I’ve got peace like a river…I’ve got peace, love, and joy like an ocean in my soul…” and she certainly does.

Me, too, Katie Grace. Prayer brings peace.

Paul, the apostle, wrote to the Philippian Church, “…don’t be anxious about anything…in everything…through prayer…give God your request…and the peace of God…beyond comprehension…will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus…”

Problem solved!

Steve Playl, chaplain, columnist, college instructor and former pastor, playlsr@yahoo.com

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