Shaking My Head
And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. Acts 29:9
Once, on a camping trip as a kid, I picked up a hatchet and began chopping a log. Because the log kept moving, I used my left hand to steady it. As my dad looked up, he attempted to intervene, but was too late. My swing landed perfectly on my left thumb. My father, being older and wiser, could see what I could not. When he saw my hand on the piece of wood, he knew what was going to happen. I was oblivious though. Through pain, I had to learn what he already knew.
As an adult, I’m now an addict in recovery who spends a fair amount of time working with other addicts. As such, it’s almost a daily experience to see someone else making horrible choices that I know will end in misery. I’d like to say that it’s because I’m so wise, but honestly, most of us are good at seeing the disastrous decisions of others. I may remain blind to my own terrible choices, but it’s easy to see when others are headed for destruction. Often, all I can do is shake my head.
Today’s passage tells of one such story. In the narrative, Paul preached in Philippi while one young man named Eutychus sat himself in the window of the third story room to listen. Paul droned on so long that Eutychus fell asleep, falling out the window to his death. The story does have a happy ending, as Paul simply went down and brought Eutychus back to life. In reading the story though, I must ask, How dumb can you be? I simply shake my head at Eutychus’ stupidity. It’s obvious to anyone reading that it’s a terrible idea to fall asleep while hanging out a window.
Unfortunately, I’ve been blind to a lot of similarly stupid things that others could see coming. The lesson now, in recovery, is to daily choose to be humble enough to listen to those around me. Just as I can easily see the poor choices others are making, my friends and family can often see mine. If I desire to avoid the pain of my obvious mistakes, I must listen to them. Otherwise, they will have to simply sit back and shake their collective heads as I learn yet another painful lesson.