Fire Drill

Picture this:

It’s 5 o’clock on a Monday, and I just found out that I have three major assignments due before the end of the week. There’s no telling how long it’s been since my hair has been washed, laundry is piling up, and I’m teaching my very first lesson to a group of kindergarteners tomorrow morning. On top of all that, I’m taking 18 hours of classes, working 25 hours in the Writing Center, and I haven’t gone to bed before two-thirty a.m. on a single night in over a week and a half. To say that I’m stressed is an understatement and a huge one at that.

So, in all of my infinite wisdom, I decide to take things on one at a time. I decide to prioritize the tasks at hand and do the most important things first. I naturally decide to watch The Office.

Okay, so maybe this wasn’t the wisest decision, but hear me out before you judge. On that very cloudy, very crummy, completely overwhelming Monday, The Office taught me something I’ll never forget. But, before I get ahead of myself, let me set the scene.

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Season Five, Episode Fourteen.

Dwight Schrute, Assistant to the Regional Manager, decides it’s time to have a fire drill. Since nobody paid attention to the fire safety presentation he gave last week, Dwight decides to make the drill a little more creative. What better way to do that than to jam all of the doors leading to the exterior of the building, to scorch the door handles with a torch, and to start an actual fire in the office? When his co-workers finally notice the smoke, havoc is wreaked, and they quickly try to evacuate the building. As they sprint around the room, screaming, pushing, and burning their hands on door handles, Dwight calmly announces fire safety procedures in the midst of all chaos. Ignoring his existence entirely, Dunder Mifflin’s finest staff completely lose their cool. Oscar climbs through the rafters to retrieve help, Angela fears for the life of the cat she’s hiding in the filing cabinet, and Jim attempts to bust down the door by slamming the copy machine against it. In the meantime, Michael throws a projector through his second-story window, and Kevin prepares for his last meal by shattering the glass of the vending machine. Commotion continues, and all the while, Dwight never ceases to provide safety instruction for his coworkers, yet, engulfed by the intensity of the stressful situation, his colleagues fail to utilize his guidance.

Now, let’s stop there.

I don’t know about you, but this scene, though I had seen it twenty times prior to this particular viewing, held more value to me on that day than it had ever before. There they were, my closest friends in Scranton, living through what might have been the most stressful experience of their lives; here I was, a poor and struggling college student still pining for her future husband, John Krasinski, living through what definitely is the most stressful chapter of her life. And yet, neither they nor I decided to look to the only One in charge of situations at hand that day. Instead we looked to people. We looked to our possessions and food and things of this earth. We looked to ourselves, hoping that we could conquer the stresses of our lives on our own. We did all of these things and chose to ignore the ones in charge. I failed to ignore the One in charge.

We, as Christians, tend to think that we have complete control of our lives. We exhaust ourselves daily by trying to keep up with the demands of the world on our own, and all the while, the Lord calls to us, yearning for us to submit our worries unto Him. Why is it that we are so slow to turn to Christ for guidance? The truth is, He already knew if those three major assignments were going to be completed, when they were going to be completed, and how well I was going to complete them. He already knew that a restful weekend would come at the end of the week, that my mom would help me do my laundry, and that my kindergarten lesson would be a success. He already knew the outcomes of every task I was stressing over, and all He was asking me to do was to turn to Him, having faith that He would give me the strength to make it though.

Today, I encourage you to look to Him. When finals start and presentations begin, turn to Him for the wisdom and strength. Don’t flounder in your own fire drill, but turn to Him.

Written by Haley

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Image credits: Header image, Everybody Stay Calm .gif

My Daddy’s Hands

As a child, I hardly noticed it: how hard he worked and the gradual toll it was taking on his health. For the longest time, I thought men were born with hands as worn and callused as his. I loved his hands, though rough and dry, and as I grew, I began to examine them more closely.

“Daddy, where’d you get these scratches from?” I’d ask, holding his tired hands in mine while sitting in his lap. “Oh, I got those from a box cutter. I’ve been crawling through an attic all day installing air ducts.” It seemed like every day his hands could tell a completely different story. “Daddy, why is your thumb nail blue? Did you paint it?” I’d ask, smiling. “No, sweetie,” he’d reply with a grin, “That’s not paint. I smashed it at work today and it bruised. It’ll only be like that for a little while.”

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I loved hearing my daddy’s work stories and asking him questions about his scars and scrapes and bruises. He was the epitome of Superman, and at times, I thought he was invincible. To this day, I continue to ask him questions about his hands, arms, and legs, yet I no longer find the same amusement in his responses.

“Daddy, why are you limping tonight?” I ask, for it is becoming a common occurrence. “My knees just start giving out around this time. They’ll be better in the morning.” “Dad, why are you dragging your arm like that?” I question. I’ve noticed he’s been favoring it lately. “Oh, don’t worry about it. The doctor thinks I’ve torn my rotator cuff. I might need surgery, but it’ll be back to normal in no time.” This is the most recent response I’ve received, and my stomach churns because of it.

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My dad has worked the same job for my entire life. He’s worked days, nights, and many weekends for as long as I can remember. Why? Because he wants nothing more than to provide anything his family needs or desires. My dad works circles around his coworkers. People from cities and states across the nation wait days for service because they would rather have my dad’s hands working on their houses than anyone else’s. My dad is known, not only for his hard work and dedication, but for his honesty and loyalty to his customers. My dad loves his family more than anything else in the world, even when we fail to appreciate him for everything he does for our well-being.

Tears fill my eyes as I write these things about my daddy. He is one of my strongest role models, and I don’t do enough to show him how much he means to me. However, this alone is not the sole reason for my remorse. My heart is even more contrite by the lack of appreciation shown for my other dad: my Heavenly Father.

Like my dad, my Heavenly Father has worked the same job for my entire life. He’s been there by day, night, and every single weekend. Why? Because He wants nothing more than to provide for the needs and desires of His children. My Father works circles around all others. People from many cities, states, and countries around the world call upon Him daily because they desire my Father’s hands to work and move in their hearts and households. My Father is known, not only for His love, diligence, and dedication, but for His honesty and loyalty to those who rely on Him. My Father loves me more than anything else in the world, even when I fail to appreciate Him for everything He does for my well-being.

I can’t even imagine what our Father’s hands must look like. I wonder if they’re as worn and coarse as my daddy’s. Unlike my dad’s, His work never ceases. He is constantly building and creating and working for our good. He takes no breaks. He receives no vacations. Yet, I’m sure that His hands remain as strong as the love He has for us. Wouldn’t you think?

This Father’s Day, I encourage you to talk to your dad. I’m not talking about a simple “thank you” or “I love you.” Tell him how much he truly means to you. Take a long, hard look at his hands and recognize how much he might be sacrificing for you. But don’t stop there. Take even more time to talk to your Heavenly Father, and continue to do so as long as His breath is in your lungs.

Happy Father’s Day!

Written by Haley

Image credits: Haley Briggs