Can I stay home today?

“I don’t feel so good.”
“My stomach hurts.”
“I have a tempachure.”

Ahhh… I remember the ploys I used to TRY to NOT have to go to school. One time I held the thermometer (a brittle GLASS thermometer with toxic MERCURY inside it… I was a real man in the making)… I held the thermometer over a light bulb. It worked perfectly. “Look, Mom,” I announced somberly. “I have a raging fever of 110 degrees.” My mom nodded her head holding back a smile and said, “You can stay home.”


That was my most successful ploy. Usually, nothing worked. The only automatic stay at home card was throwing up at night. That was a guarantee of no school the next morning. It was almost worth it.

The next time I tried that, the thermometer burst open. I freaked out, worried that my little light bulb trick would get me not only sent to school, but also disciplined (my parents were lightweights in the discipline department, which explains so much about me, so I wasn’t super worried).

My panic subsided when I discovered that I could play with the little balls of mercury that had spilled onto the table. I carefully pushed away the broken glass. Then I shoved the little mercury droplets around with my finger. I pushed two droplets of mercury together and watched them merge. It was cool. Ohhh, the joys of playing with hazardous neurotoxins that my children will never know!

My hilarious wife says that the mercury episode explains a lot about me.

At his typical 5:45 wake up this morning, my four year old son announced, “Dad, my nose keeps getting full of snot.” What a way to start the day. You can’t buy comedy like that.

I truly sympathize with my daughter when she tries to con me into NOT taking her to kindergarten. “Why do I have to go to school?” she asks pitifully. “Because that’s your job. Relentlessly for the next 20 or so years. You will go to school. Every day. You will spend massive amounts of time doing homework. Now smile and start enjoying your life, little five year old!” I’m starting to come around to her way of thinking.

Tuesday is a pastor’s Monday. I mean, Monday is my day off. A day of recovery from the weekend. Today is my first day back into the office. I have the blues. My throat hurts. Josie was up coughing, J.D. was up last night trying to suck his nose (he refuses to blow; he only sucks his snot in). Margi and I didn’t sleep very well.

Can I stay home today?


In 1 Kings 19, a prophet named Elijah is emotionally drained and physically wiped out. He’s been faithful, but now he’s so weary he’s almost suicidal. Know what God does for him?

First, God lets him sleep in. “Elijah, you can stay home today.” Then he sends an angel to cook a great meal for Elijah. “Don’t get up yet. I’m making a special big breakfast for you.” Nothing spiritual here. No preaching. No Bible study. No lectures. [The painting is called Elijah in the Wilderness, by Washington Allston, 1779. Click to see it full sized].

What Elijah needs is uninterrupted sleep and great food that he doesn’t have to cook himself. It’s as if God said, You can stay home today.

I’m glad God is like that.

“For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.” Psalms 103:14, NAS95.

Grace: God’s faithfulness in remembering I am dust.


2 thoughts on “Can I stay home today?

  1. The story of the ravens and Elijah are my favorite in all OT. That painting (besides JD’s comment about his snot) was the greatest blessing. It’s exactly how I imagined that day to look… albeit with more sand. The land in the OT always seems sandy to me.

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