Monday, January 22, 2007

What's Going on Behind my Forehead


I had the worst headache today. I woke from a dream about a headache to find that there was an ache behind my forehead which insisted on being the most important thing in my life.

I argued with it, to no avail.

I began grumbling like a grizzly awakened too soon and my sweet wife brought me three Advils. (Men can be such big babies!)

I fought with that headache all day.

6:00 a.m., in my classroom, still there.

7:00 a.m. in a meeting about a grant we have won, still there (I then took two more Advils).

It was there during my preparation period, while I was waiting for a web consultant at 1:00.

At 2:30 a colleague gave me some Midol. Which took it down a notch or two.

Now it is 6:00 p.m. and I am tapping away at this keyboard and that pain is rising up again.

It simply will not leave me alone.

Persistent.

As usual, my quirky mind drew some analogies from this little wrestling match. An internal struggle, a hopeless eternal struggle to shove something that will not move. Like my new year's resolution to be obedient to my Lord.

While I was waiting for that 1:00 meeting my mind did another little nasty trick.

A tv commercial about a new horror movie came to mind and the images of that tv spot came up. Mentally I shied away from it, but then another horror movie came to mind and those images reigned for a few minutes.

Now it may be that this was partly due to the headache... but I was taken by how persistent my mind can be. I do not like to watch such films. Yet here I was allowing such ideas to flow through my mind.

I used to have better control over my thoughts.

For a year or so in the 70s I was living in an ashram and I was able to focus my mind on a single thought for hours. I could sit unmoving for three hours at a stretch.

I don’t know if this is because I am getting older, but I tend to let my mind wander around a bit. I suppose I would say that I tend to contemplate nowadays when I used to meditate.

Which is all fine if I keep the reins firmly in hand, but today I didn't. U
sually I am able to guide that contemplation much better.

So I was thinking of these disgusting images of human suffering, and I found myself disgusted not at the makers of such films but at myself.

A few posts back I wrote about my new year’s resolution... to be obedient.

I know it’s an impossible resolution... but I am resolving to do my best impression of Sisyphus nonetheless.

Owning up to my sins is a tricky thing. I want to avoid it. But confessing to myself, confessing to God, even confessing to my brothers in Christ, is just a part of it.

The trickier part is recognizing sins that I did not think as sin before.

Such as these thoughts.

The scenes I caught on the tv commercial of the movie “The Hitcher” or fragments of films I have somehow caught on tv of Hannibal Lector float about in my mind and seek to pull me to a place that I know is not of God.

I have them in my mind, but that does not mean I need play with them consciously. I can maintain better control of this tool, my mind, than that.

There are two parts to dealing with this.

First, I should be able to pull my mind to where I want it to be and hold it firmly in place:

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. --James 4:7-8

Secondly, I should be careful what I put in there to begin with...

I am a middle school teacher. I am charged with placing particular ideas, thoughts, even patterns of thinking into the minds of my students. In dealing with my young clients I am keenly aware of how knowledge affects them.

With each addition of knowledge some innocence is lost.

That is worth repeating.

Every time a child, or anyone for that matter, learns something new, they are forever changed. They cannot go back. They are no longer innocent of those facts.

I am diligent about the quality of the information I give my charges.

My Lord said something like this once.

"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” --Matthew 18:5-6

(I keep wondering if He was referring to pedophiles.)

Though I am no longer considered a child by anyone except my Lord, it is still true for me.
Once something is learned, we are no longer the same.

So while I waited for that appointment I let my mind wander, and the unruly beast within my skull dwelt a little too long in an unhealthy place. I am looking at it straight on, confessing it to myself, my Lord, and even to this online journal.

I can blame it on my headache. I can blame it on film makers.

But the blame is mine.

I wish to maintain a better control over my mind. If there is knowledge in there that is not healthy, then I can at least refrain from turning it over in my mind. It's what my Lord wishes me to do.

--------------------


It occurs to me that there are undoubtedly readers out there who enjoy horror movies. Some of them are thinking I am being a big weenie, or too strict, or just plain weird.

My friends... this little wandering of mine today is just that... a wandering of mine. What you watch, what you enjoy is entirely up to you and truly, I am not addressing you at all. This is simply a conviction of my own heart.

And since this online journal is a place for me to place my own little ideas, please do not take offense. This is a self-directed post.

Indeed, this post is a little strange because I really am writing just for myself today.

Maybe I’m in a weird mood... or maybe this headache is just throwing me off my usual approach.

I think I’ll go lay down and put a damp rag on my forehead...

God bless.

30 comments:

Terry said...

Dear Curious Servant..Just read your posting now...three o'clock in the morning![just got up for a drink].

It reminds me so much of what a good preacher Mr. G. P. Taylor used to tell us..."Things are going so well with a believer and he is all on fire for the Lord and encouraging others and witnessing to the unsaved...Everything is so good but...."THEN cometh the devil!"
Mr. T. used so many different examples from God's word but at THIS time of the night or should I say the morning, I can't think too fast!
I am going to have to make another study of it!
Try to find the lost fragments and gather them together again..

Well Curious Servant, you have been giving us such good spiritual food lately and you know that old Satan just does NOT like it!!
I am not saying that he brought on this headache but he is using it for his own advantage and for all it is worth to get you down!

Fight on dear brother.."Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!"!

Yeh! A damp rag on your forehead and a good dose of God's Word in your mind! ....From Terry


Praying for you that you will have some relief from your headache...

Midol?? Ha!...You make me laugh sometimes Curious Servant..
My husband and the cat are going to wonder what I am chuckling about!...Three fifteen in the night morning yet!

wilsonian said...

A note on the headache and the Midol (which, btw, I'm very impressed that you would take)... if the Midol helped it's probably because there are muscle relaxants in it. If you are stressed, and your back/shoulder muscles are tensed, that can transmit up into a headache.

Just a thought, but sometimes when I think I've dealt with tension, or given my issues to God, I've really just internalized it in an odd physical way.

Moral of the story. Never refuse Midol if offered :)

Anonymous said...

I am having all types of trouble commenting. This will be the fourth time I have tried.

Sue is having headache issues as well, so I can empathize.

I pray that they will be able to diagnos what is wrong. At our end...we have been unable to find a cause. It is bad when you want to find something bad, at least you know why a person is getting the headaches. In our case..we are still searching. But Sue is a trooper, she works and cleans and does all the things that she does not have to do... She doesn't victimize herself. She really is a treasure.

Anonymous said...

Even if there were nothing inherently wrong with the contents of horror movies (I personally believe they are terribly wrong). The fact that they distract you from your focus on God make them wrong.

I should probably take some time to consider what distracts me from God.

curious servant said...

Good morning folks...

I'm not up to replying to each comment today. I still have the headache and I need to get ready for work.

I tried to get some extra sleep and It is now 5:30... I should be almost ready to go,but I'm not.

Thank you for your concerns, support, prayers, and prayer requests.

God bless.

jel said...

CS, hope you get to feeling better!

Anonymous said...

Dear Curious Servant, I came back once again to feast on the wonderful platter of words, you've put forth. I like it.
I am not fond of scary movies myself.I loved the way you rendered, so clearly what happens in my mind too. Many a times, scenes from some movie, some ad, or something on the TV keeps springing back and forth in my mind too. To me its rather strange the "time" they choose to pop-up.(now i'm really wondering if "they" really choose or its me-I don't know).
Anyways, I hope you feel better soon. I also appreciate your determination in providing the best foundation to the young minds under your mentorship.
I myself had an opportunity to teach some toddlers about 4yrs ago and in the process of helping them learn the A's to Z's, I unlearned certain things I realised I didn't need, which had been forced down on me, through time and people.That work was and ,in my heart, still is, the best job I ever did.

God Bless and take care.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this and may your headache flee to the hinterlands to never return...

Ame said...

Dear God, thank You for the Helmet of Salvation. Please place on our head the helmet of salvation to protect our minds, thoughts, dreams, daydreams, brains, fantasies, eyes and what we see, ears and what we hear, nose and what we smell, mouth and what we taste, eat and speak. Please protect CS's head in a fierce way as he battles through this unrelenting headache. Thank You; I love You, God, Ame

curious servant said...

Quick update...

Slept in a little this morning (it's 5:30).

Headache persisted through another day yesterday. This morning, it has lost its intensity but is still there. Hopefully it will not return to full strength later but will disappear.

Weird. Never had a headache last more than a few hours before.

jel said...

you take care CS!

Anonymous said...

Will,

DUCK....'cause I'm throwing in my two cents.

Increased caffeine consumption can do it. Just one extra cup of coffee or soda makes a huge difference. Also, beware of the medicine you take for your headache. Many of them contain caffeine, so that just compounds the problem (if caffeine is the source). If not, then the caffeine would help the headache.

Another guess would be your eyeglass prescription. With all the writing and typing you do as a teacher and on your blog, if your prescription is a little off, the added eye strain would cause a mean headache.

Anything like that lasting more than a day or two needs attention though (nudge-nudge).

Take care and be well my friend.

Justin

curious servant said...

I'm pretty sure it isn't the eye glasses. I got a new prescription last summer (trifocals!).

But, ouch, it may be the coffee. I posted about the sins of the mind and what I put inn it, but I should write one about my diet.

As an educator I am heavily addicted to coffee.

I'll try cutting back.

I still have the headache, but it isn't nearly what it was.

Thanks all!

Carol said...

After reading my uncle's bathroom full of "True Detective" magazines -- I figure if something spooked me off from entering a dark church in the daytime for 20 years, it surely wasn't innocuous. Horror movies are fabricated, too, but none of this is innocuous. It is the pornography of violence. We do well to avoid them, too.

You were not writing this for yourself, tho'.. surprisingly, you have provided me with an answer to the mystery of me, at least one mystery. With each bit of new knowledge comes a new loss of innocence; it is changed forever. Just as my husband hates to adulterate his wondrous beef gravy with my stretching suggestion of some water/flour..I don't like my innocence (or knowledge of God) adulterated with earthly knowledge. I can do with less gravy.

And how I stink at analogies, lol, but I do clearly, I hope, thank you for revealing something hugely important.. hugely important because it impacts upon our little ones indeed. Keep them from horror - including the nightly news. They will live without that slanted teaching weighing down their hearts.

Get your headache checked out.. no more guessing. Call a nurse, at least, and see if you should go in. Meanwhile, prayers. For you, and for the kids.

ukok said...

God Bless you CS, as a chronic daily headache sufferer I sympathise with the persistamt pain you have been experiencing.

As always, I found much more than i bargained for when I visited this time, there's always a new and interesting perspective you give me, and I thank you for it.

Terry said...

Dear Curious Servant..So glad that your headache seems to be subsiding
It may be that Sarah Louise's well wishes will become true!!.....From Terry

Anonymous said...

"Lord, I have a problem!"
"What's the problem, Eve?"
"Lord, I know you've created me and have provided this beautiful garden and all of these wonderful animals and that hilarious comedy snake, but I'm just not happy."
"Why is that, Eve?" came the reply from above.
"Lord, I am lonely. And I'm sick to death of apples." "Well, Eve, in that case, I have a solution. I shall create a man for you."
"What's a 'man,' Lord?"
"This man will be a flawed creature, with aggressive tendencies, an enormous ego and an inability to empathize or listen to you properly, he'll basically give you a hard time. He'll be bigger, faster, and more muscular than you. He'll be really good at fighting and kicking a ball about and hunting fleet-footed ruminants, But, he'll be pretty good in the sack."
"I can put up with that," says Eve, with an ironically raised eyebrow.
"Yeah well, he's better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick. But, there is one condition."
"What's that, Lord?"
"You'll have to let him believe that I made him first."
:D :D :D

Anonymous said...

Dear Curious Servant,
a man in the old pentacost congregation prayed for his wife, saying: "God bless my wife's headache." We laughed back then, ignorant teenagers we were. I think your headacheblog was one of the most omportant you'vewritten.
In our home we only have three TV channels (my veto against more), and they're all overflooded by English and American crime, especially around bed time.
We're so getting used to all varieties of malice, horror, abuse and murder through television, that we've stopped reacting adequately when it happens in real life.
Adverticers pay big money for a few minutes attention trying to get us
buy their products.
Who's interested in putting much more time and money making us indifferent to crime???

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