"I got kicked out of the hockey game."
"Kicked out of the game? Whatever for? What did you do, Honey?"
#81- Heart Problems
A Character story about humility.
"Hi, Kids," Mrs. Jensen greeted as the twins arrived home one evening.
"Hi," Jason mumbled. Julie didn't respond.
"You don't sound very happy. How'd the hockey game go? Did you win?"
"You did? I thought you'd be glad. You said that was a tough team."
"I am happy about that. Well, I might as well tell you. You'll find out sooner or later." Jason plopped onto a chair and hung his head.
"Find out what?" Mrs. Jensen turned off the mixer and waited for Jason to speak.
"I got kicked out of the game."
"Kicked out of the game? Whatever for? What did you do, Honey?"
When Jason hesitated, Julie interrupted. "He slugged Karl Johnson. Just knocked him flat and-"
"Julia. I was talking with Jason. He is fully able to answer for himself. Jason, I thought Karl Johnson was on your team."
"He is. But he's such a pain in the neck," Jason barked. "He scored the first two goals and then started to brag to the other guys when we were on the bench. Finally I got sick of it and told him it was a team effort and quit bragging. He got mad and, when we got on the ice again, he purposely tripped me twice and stole the puck when I was about to score. When we got on the bench next time, I told him what I thought and he dared me to do something about it. He even stuck out his chin, daring me to hit him. So,... I-I did."
"And the coach saw what Jason did but not what Karl did so he only kicked Jason out," Julie interrupted again. "The other girls stared at me as if my brother was the biggest creep alive. I was so embarrassed!"
"Oh, Jason," Mrs. Jensen sighed. "I'm very sorry to hear that. I thought you were doing better in your attitude toward Karl."
"I was," Jason answered defensively. "But when the girls are around, he's got to show off all the time and I think most of the girls from school were there today. It makes me so mad! I don't know why I got kicked out and Karl doesn't even get balled out."
"Sounds to me like you didn't learn anything, Son. Why, I think you'd do it again if you had a chance." Jason hung his head again and said nothing. "So does this mean you won't be able to play in the tournament, either?"
"I don't know. Coach said he'd talk with me tomorrow."
"Well, take your things to your room. We'll eat supper about six."
Jason trudged up the stairs, dreading the thought of telling the whole story again to his father. He dropped his books on the desk and flopped onto the bed. That Karl makes me so mad, He thought to himself. How am I supposed to love someone like that. 'Love your enemies.' The Lord couldn't mean to love Karl!
After a few minutes his mom's words began to replace his first thoughts. I was doing really well in my attitude toward Karl. How did I fail so miserably all of a sudden? He stared at the ceiling a while longer. If Karl knows that I'm a Christian, I don't suppose he'll ever get saved now.
Jason opened his math book and tried to finish his homework until his door opened.
"Suppoo time." It was his little brother Joshua.
Jason shuffled down stairs where his dad was just hanging up the phone.
"How's your mother doing?" Mrs. Jensen asked.
"Oh, fair, I guess," her husband answered. "The heart attack was more severe than they originally thought. She's having to breathe oxygen all the time. But she seems to be improving, even if it's only a little."
After prayer, Julie asked, "Daddy, what causes a heart attack anyway? Do you think I might get one?"
"Anyone could, Sissy, but it isn't likely someone your age would. To put it simply, a heart attack is a damage to the myocardium, which is the lower left part of the heart. This is the part that pumps blood into the body. If a blood clot forms in the arteries, the heart is damaged because, when it pumps, it can't get the blood out into the body."
"I think I understand. Can the heart ever get well again if it's hurt like that?"
"Oh, yes, it can. Many people go on living many more years after a heart attack. They just must be careful not to strain their healing blood pump."
"Peez pass the jelly, Jason," Joshua said.
When Jason didn't respond, Mr. Jensen grabbed the jar. "Here you are, Josh. I'm just as close. Say, Jason, you're awfully quiet tonight. Something wrong?"
"Yeah. I got kicked out of the hockey game today," he mumbled, bracing for his father's reaction.
"Oh, yes, mother was telling me about that before the phone call. I was sorry to hear the cause, but, I know we all fail the Lord at one time or another. The great thing is that we don't have to stay down. He forgives us and gives us another chance. 'His mercies are new every morning,' it says in the Bible."
"Yah, but I was hoping to be a witness to Karl, and now I really blew it."
"Nonsense. You did wrong, but you know what to do to make it right, don't you?"
"But Dad, I couldn't go to Karl and ask forgiveness. He'd glote over that for a week and tell all the girls what a wimp I am."
"Does the Lord ask us to do right only if others respond right, or do right no matter how they react?" Jason just hung his head again. "Really, Son, you don't have a choice. If you don't ask his forgiveness, you too might have a heart attack."
"A heart attack?" Julie gasped. "Is that what causes a heart attack?"
"It sure can be. But I'm talking about a spiritual heart attack, mind you. You see, a heart attack is caused when the stuff in our heart cannot come out because of a block. The heart then is damaged, sometimes beyond repair. The 'stuff' in the heart of a Christian is supposed to be God's truth spoken in love. When there's a block, others will not know the truth, nor experience the love. Get what I mean?" Jason nodded once in silence. "It's up to you to 'clear the track' then, Son, so Karl is not offended and turned away from the Lord. I'll be praying for you as you get that taken care of first thing tomorrow."
The next night Jason was all smiles as the family met for supper. "I couldn't believe how the Lord helped me get the courage to ask Karl's forgiveness," he beamed. "And you know what Karl said?"
"No, what?" Mr. Jensen asked.
"He said, 'Man, you really pack a good left upper cut. I didn't think you had it in you. I thought you where a wimp. But I respect you more for saying you were wrong. I know I asked for it but I don't think I would have admitted it if you hadn't come.' We're going to be friends now and maybe, just maybe, he'll come to church Sunday. At least he said he'd think about it."
"Good for you, Jason. And what did the coach say?"
"Oh, yeah. He overheard us talking and said as long as we made up to each other, he'd just drop it."
"Hey, that's great. Looks like the doctor has given you a clear bill of health after all!"