Friday, October 16, 2009

That Sinking Feeling

My sister, Robbie works part-time for a contracting company in the marketing area. She was enjoying working at home for a spell, but a new assignment required her to return to working in the office again. When she showed up for the first day in her new office there were all the routine things she had to go through like getting new office supplies, having her computer set up, being trained on the new phone system and, of course, that all important office chair. 

Robbie has a bad back that can render her helpless without a moment’s notice at times. So having a really good office chair with lots of support for her back is very important to her. The chair she started with seemed to be perfectly suited for her needs and, after giving it the once over, she decided it was a keeper. 

The next day she showed up at the office for her first full day of actual work. As she sat in front of her computer she suddenly got a kind of “sinking feeling.” At first it wasn’t so noticeable, but as the day wore on she began to notice her keyboards were gradually getting higher and higher and her chair was sinking lower and lower. She turned her chair upside down, examined it thoroughly, but could find nothing wrong with it. She turned the chair upright again, sat down in it, pumped the lever that aligns the height of the chair until she again was sitting in a comfortable position for typing on her keyboard. 

About an hour passed, and Robbie, once again, started to experience that sinking feeling. Her keyboards were getting closer to her chin and she found herself looking up at her monitor instead of straight at it. Her chair had sunk again. Robbie decided she needed to call in professional help and asked the secretary to come into her office and examine the chair. The secretary turned the chair upside down, blew away some dust from the mechanical workings there and turned the chair right side up again. She pumped the chair back up as far as it would go.

“Try it now,” she announced as though she had performed some kind of miracle cure by blowing on it. 

Robbie sat down again, waited for a minute or so, and decided the chair was magically repaired. The secretary wiped her hands clean and continued back to her desk with a sense of pure satisfaction written across her face. I’m sure she was asking herself, what would they do without me around here?

About an hour later, Robbie began to notice she had again sank back down to the lowest level in her chair. Frustrated, she picked up the phone and requested another one. Soon a man came wheeling in another chair for Robbie and quickly whisked away the broken chair. Robbie sat down in the newer chair, rocking back and forth, pumping the lever to get it just in the right position. Finally, she sighed a sound of relief and started working again. However, in a few minutes the newer chair started to sink, little by little, smoothly sinking down below a comfortable level. Robbie found herself sitting in front of her desk with her hands up almost even with her chin as she tried to continue typing on her keyboard. 

Robbie could not believe this chair was malfunctioning as well. She was starting to get a real complex about her weight. Perhaps she shouldn’t have eaten the two cinnamon raisin biscuits for breakfast that morning. 

Robbie worked on the chair for a while, pumping it up, sitting in it and then sinking back down, over and over again. This chair was more like a carnival ride than an office chair. She once again picked up the phone and called for another chair. Later that day another chair was delivered from the warehouse. The same man who had delivered the other newer chair looked her up and down as if he was trying to figure out what the problem could be. After all, this would be her third chair. Robbie pretended not to notice and thanked the man for responding so quickly. He wheeled the old chair out of the office, looking back over his shoulder at Robbie and shaking his head. 

Robbie carefully sat down in the newest chair and waited to see if the chair would sink at all. It seemed to be perfect. After some adjustment she began to relax and get back into her work, but by now it was quitting time. Robbie decided to leave for home and test her newest chair the next day. 

The next morning Robbie arrived at the office bright and early, carrying her briefcase and coffee. She was humming a tune she had heard on the radio on the way into work. This is going to be a good day, Robbie thought to herself. She placed her coffee on her desk, turned on her computer and flopped down in her newest chair. As she went to sit down she misjudged the distance to the bottom of the chair and nearly fell over backwards. The chair had sunk over night to an all time low. 

“How can this be?” Robbie asked out loud to no one in particular. “Why am I the only one who can’t sit in a chair without sinking through the floor?” 

She just stood and stared at the chair for a moment with her hands on her hips. Of course, you never win a staring contest with a chair. Robbie grabbed the phone and called her boss. 

“Good morning,” said the boss. 

“Good morning? How can you say good morning?” Robbie asked. 

“I’m sorry,” he said. “Is this not a good morning for you?” 

“No, it’s not,” Robbie replied. “I have been through three office chairs and none of them seem to work. They’re all worthless. They just sink to the ground every time I sit down. I’ve tried everything. Now this last one seemed fine, but it sank overnight. This morning I nearly killed myself just trying to sit down at my desk. Something has to be done! I can’t work like this! Is this a chair conspiracy? Is someone playing a joke on me?” 

There was silence on the other end. Perhaps her boss was thinking of the right words to say without being too offensive.

“I’ll order you a brand new chair,” said the boss. “I’ll tell the warehouseman to get rid of all those chairs that we have on hand. Apparently, they are all malfunctioning. Don’t worry. You’ll have a new chair soon.”

“Oh, well, thank you very much,” said Robbie with a grateful tone. “I appreciate that. Sorry to yell at you first thing in the morning. I’m usually very calm and quiet in the morning, but this chair thing is making me crazy!” 

“Don’t worry, we’ll take care of it right away,” said her boss. “Now is there anything else you might be needing before I go to my meeting?” 

“Um, no, no, that’s all,” replied Robbie. “Enjoy your meeting. Goodbye.”

Robbie carefully sat down in her chair and peered over her desk to see her computer. Everyone else seemed to be working along and having a normal day. Robbie grabbed her pen and scribbled on her calendar for the next day, “Buy fruit. Throw out donuts.” 

Robbie eventually got her new chair and life returned to normal. Although she did find herself checking now again, anticipating that sinking feeling, it never came. Her new chair seemed to be in good working order and supported her in every way. Now she could focus on the job at hand instead of constantly stopping to readjust her position. 

Have you ever experienced that sinking feeling? Things look bleak and you’ve run out of hope and faith. You can’t see your way ahead and your heart sinks every morning as you get up to face the day ahead. No matter how hard you try to pump yourself up you still find yourself sinking to an all time low at the end of the day. You’re not the only person to experience this feeling and survive it. 

“at the bottom of the sea where the mountains take root, I was as far down as a body can go, and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever—Yet you pulled me up from the grave alive, O God, my God! When my life was slipping away, I remembered God, And my prayer got through to you, made it all the way to your Holy Temple.” Jonah 2:6-7 (The Message)

Jonah had been swallowed up by a great fish because he was disobedient to God, yet God still heard his prayer, spoke to the fish and it “vomited up Jonah on the seashore.” Sounds messy doesn’t it? The point is no matter how low we sink and no matter whether it’s because we’ve been disobedient or just because life has dealt us a swift blow, we can still cry out to God and our prayer will get through. Sometimes we reserve God as a last resort, but God loves us unconditionally and wants the very best for us. He wants us to call out to Him as our first plan of action. 

You can never sink so low that God can’t reach you. So the next time you feel that sinking feeling just cry out to God right from the beginning. There’s no need to sink any further. Your hope is in Him and He will always be there, reaching out His hand to pull you up and put your feet back on higher ground. He will make you the head and not the tail. He’s the boss. Align your position to a “vertical focus,” sink your faith in Him at all times and you can’t go wrong. 

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