My Sneeze Is No Gentle Breeze

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It has been days (or has it been years) since I have enjoyed a sneeze free day. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage told me it is simply that time of the year and I should learn to deal with it. “After all,” she opined, “you’re not going to die.”

That news was not quite encouraging, because it was the hope of dying keeping me alive so far. If my brain was functioning anywhere half-decent, (and I can’t remember a time it has) I probably could remember when I felt worse. However, it does not matter how I have felt in the past it is how I’m feeling right now that really matters.

I have gone through a million boxes of tissues this past week.

I would not mind an occasional sneeze every now and then. For example I could live with a simple “aah-choo,” and be done with it. But, oh no, my nose has different ideas about the whole thing.

It is what I call the unholy Trinity. It goes something like this.

Aaaaah Choooooooooooo.
Aaaaaah Choooooooooooooo.
Aaaaaaaah Choooooooooooooooo.

Each sneeze tries to outdo the previous one. I can never sneeze one time, it always has to be in multiples of three.

Of course, sometimes my nose tries to outsmart me. For example, when a sneeze comes I gear up for three in a row. Then my nose will sneeze two times and I am ready for the third one and it does not come. It will do this several times in a row, then it will sneeze twice, there is a small pause, and I think it is over and the third thunders forth.

Notwithstanding, this has made certain inconveniences in the life I once enjoyed. For example, in the middle of the night when nature calls I try to be as careful in getting out of bed and going as I possibly can. I never open my eyes so as not to become fully awakened in the middle of the night. Once awake I find it difficult to go back to sleep.

Just the other night I was responding to nature’s call as I normally do and was just about ready to get back into bed when my nose realized what was happening and called forth three mighty sneezes.

Not only did it bring me to full awake status, but also the lady sleeping in my bed was aroused to full alertness, and yelled, “What happened?”

I live by one basic rule. Never wake up grouchy.

I’ve learned one thing about what not to do when you have this condition. That is simply never brush your teeth during this condition. My mirror in my bathroom will be shiny bright and never have a cavity, guaranteed.

I have noticed when you are sick and people find out about it they feel obligated to share with you their medical expertise on the situation at hand.

One person said to me, “What you need is plenty of vitamin C. I recommend you drink as much orange juice as you possibly can. That’ll take care of it for sure.”

I don’t know who is worse. The one giving advice or the one taking it.

Being in such desperate straits, I decided to take the orange juice regimen. For one whole day, I drank as much OJ as I possibly could get down. For a while, it seemed to work, but then the inevitable raised its ugly head. Everybody knows when you drink as much OJ as I have been drinking there comes the necessity to go to the bathroom.

I got to the bathroom, just in time, and in midstream, I had a ferocious attack of the sneezes. When the storm subsided, the bathroom looked like the aftermath of Hurricane Charley. I tried explaining this to my wife but she only crossed her arms, looked at me and raised her eyebrows in a way I knew she did not buy what I was saying.

While I was still in this sniffling-sneezy-stuffy condition, I ran into a friend of mine. It is hard to hide your condition when all you are doing is sneezing and sniffling. He understood, of course, and then offered me his expert medical advice.

“I have found the perfect cure for your condition.”

You would think by this time I would have learned my lesson, but I was feeling so down I was grasping at straws.

“When I get what you have I always take a laxative regimen.”

Had I been in my right mind and had my mind been clear I would have considered this as stupid advice. However, being in the condition I was in it somehow it sounded plausible.

“This laxative regimen,” he explained, “flushes all the poison contributing to your condition out of your system.”

Either, my friend had never tried the remedy himself or, he had forgot to warn me about a very serious side effect. One sneeze can trigger a flush. Don’t ask me how I know.

In the midst of all of this nonsense, my bleary, teary eyes rested on an old familiar friend. It is found in Psalms 103:1 (KJV), “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”

I discovered one good thing about sneezing in public. People are always kind enough to say, “God bless you.”

Ah, it’s a wonderful world…Aaaah Chooo!

“God bless you.”

Thank you.

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About James Snyder

The Reverend James L. Snyder is an award winning author whose writings have appeared in more than eighty periodicals including GUIDEPOSTS. In Pursuit of God: The Life of A. W. Tozer, Snyder’s first book, won the Reader’s Choice Award in 1992 by Christianity Today. Snyder has authored and edited 22 books altogether. He has recently signed a six-book contract with Regal Books based on the preaching ministry of Dr. A. W. Tozer.

His weekly humor column, “Out To Pastor,” is syndicated to more than 100 weekly newspapers.

Through thirty-35 years of ministry, he and his wife Martha have been involved in three church-planting projects prior to their current ministry at the Family of God Fellowship in Ocala, Florida. The Snyders have three children and nine grandchildren.

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