Notes from Jan

A Shot in the Arm with a Dose of Hope

October 30, 2021

Thursday found me back at Toyota, jokes ready, should opportunity arrive. I entered the small waiting room where a masked woman sat in my favorite corner. She focused on her laptop and communicated without words,” Shh, I’m busy.”

Aside from some jokes I brought along, I needed an opportunity. We’re studying First Peter in Community Bible Study. So, I was primed to “give an answer for the hope that is within me.” Except I didn’t feel all that hopeful and she wasn’t asking. So I read the commentary for the week, then hauled out another puzzle.

While waiting, I thought about you and the “jokes” my brother sent me. They were T-shirts for seniors. I think the masked woman might have written the first two. “On your mark, Get set…Go away!” Or, “I’ve stopped listening. Why are you still talking?” And “If you’re happy and you know it, it’s your meds.” Or “Sorry I’m late…I didn’t want to come.” Then my daily temptation, “Everyone was thinking it, I just said it.”

We never exchanged even a nod. She left and I followed a couple of hours later, minus a few hundred dollars. My Prius hummed along the highway as I headed to CVS to get my flu shot. One fun adventure after another.

The shot giver ushered me to a small curtained area, where I sat and rolled up my sleeve. She wore a uniform of sorts, though I never checked her credentials. However, my prickles rose when she touched me gently, and spoke softly. I recognized that timidity. ME, when I had to give shots to Jud, for a few months. He’d give me that look and finally say, “Just do it!” I was as good a nurse as I was a dressmaker in home economics. I served only as a good example of what not to do. Come to think of it, both involved needles.

Back to CVS. When I get a shot, I prefer someone who speaks and grabs my arm with authority. I’m ready for the pinch and jab, followed by, “Done!” This, however, was happening in slow motion. While she dabbed alcohol to disinfect my arm, I thought of taking a swig of something, if she took much longer.

Next she shyly alerted me, that I could expect a slight prick. I did my don’t-giggle-in-church-pinch with my thumb and pointer finger and prepared for the “slight prick.” It didn’t come. While I pinched and waited, she contemplated. I felt like shrieking, “Just do it!”

Finally, I felt the needle touch my arm and s-l-o-w-l-y enter. In and in, it went. My turn to contemplate. “Is she drilling for oil or trying to come out the other side?” At last she removed the needle, and ever so gently placed a band-aid over the hole she’d excavated. While she exhaled slowly, I thanked her, rolled down my sleeve and hoped she wasn’t a mind reader.

As I hurried to my car, I shouted, “Done!” Later I wondered if I was her first patient? Her impatient patent. Is this just one of her jobs? What and who waits for her when she gets home? What if, God help me, she’d asked for the hope that was within me? I guess I’d have been left mumbling, “I hope I don’t get the flu.”

Hope matters. Especially the kind of hope that makes no sense without Jesus.

Laughter and good jokes matter, too. I’ll hunt some better ones, like “If you see me jogging, please trip the person chasing me.”

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  • Reply Dale October 30, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks for the much needed humor. If you see the woman who injected you working as a hostess at Chili’s next week you might want to try a doctor’s office next time. I do remember telling a nurse I felt nothing from the injection when she reminded me she had not done anything yet. She was fast to show me the comparison. My guess is you have smiled more today than most of the people who served you

    Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg October 30, 2021 at 8:42 pm

      Thanks, Dale, for the laugh. I laughed while I wrote some of this blog, recalling lessons learning while waiting for life to happen.

  • Reply Nancy October 30, 2021 at 7:12 pm

    Jan! You are a hoot!! I so enjoyed this blog filled with humor and truth!
    I had to laugh when you mentioned the thumb and pointer finger pinch! I do that very same thing when I get shot!!
    My granddaughter applied to Gordon College and every time she mentions it I think of you and your dear Jud. I’m so excited for her to have made it her college of choice!
    I hope you find your “next victim” to share the hope that is in you and win their hearts. And have some laughs!!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg October 30, 2021 at 8:45 pm

      Well, congratulations to your granddaughter. Making a choice is half the battle. Thanks for your encouragement, Nancy. Hope lives on.

  • Reply Toni Lovingood October 30, 2021 at 7:44 pm

    The “busy” lady at the dealership has no idea what a grand opportunity she missed to chat with you and be uplifted for days to come. I regret the times I have appeared “too busy” to take the time to give an encouraging word to someone else.
    Hope your arm is not too sore from the shot. I hate shots and am so glad when it is over with. May tomorrow be filled with people that will appreciate your witness and trick or treaters that can hear about Jesus when they receive their candy.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg October 30, 2021 at 8:53 pm

      Well, the shot’s history. I really don’t mind them, since I know they’re meant for good. As for kids coming to trick or treat, I plan to give them a treat and a smile, no words.. When sharing about “the hope within”, the trick is to wait until there’s a question. Most of us are too quick to push our agendas. I’d rather be remembered as the old lady who gave out big Snickers bars or full size Reese’s peanut butter cups than the one who passed out dental floss.

  • Reply Anne Kirby October 30, 2021 at 8:36 pm

    I laughed several times while reading this. Thank you, Jan.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg October 30, 2021 at 8:54 pm

      Mission accomplished No tricks, just a treat.

  • Reply Lynda Wheatley November 1, 2021 at 8:30 am

    Dear Jan,
    Your posts are really a sip of truth filled with hope, love and laughter. I love the idea of making senior citizen T-shirts with all of your hysterical jokes on them.
    Thanks for offering a glimpse into walking in this life with a Faithful smile. We may not always feel that way, but as I have read your blog, I hear you speaking to Christ as an old friend with love and respect- reverence!
    I sure would love to share a cup of tea with you. You are a blessing!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 1, 2021 at 8:06 pm

      Well, Lynda, I’d love to share a cup of tea with you someday. In the meantime, we can share words in this blog space. I must say, I feel like I’ve been enjoying so many visits with new and old friends during this season of writing a blog. It’s been a life-link for me during the pandemic. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond, Lynda.

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