Brian and the Mysterious Stomach Ache

 photo-6The studio was quiet and the flourescent lights were making that noise that Brian hated.  Mrs. Leary came out to greet Brian and his Mom,  “Hi Brian.”  “Hi Mrs. Leary”, he said.    All of the sudden Brian cried out, “Oh Mommy, I can’t go in there.  I am going to throw up.  Mommy, please take me to the bathroom now.”  Brian’s mother looked wearily at Mrs. Leary and said, “I’m sorry Mrs. Leary.  I realize this is the second time this has happened this month.  I’m not sure what’s wrong.  I better just take him to the Dr. right now.”  As Mrs. Leary glared from Brian to his mother she said, “Are you going to put up with that?  A stomach ache?  I’m not sure he’s ready for the commitment it takes to be a great pianist.  He better be ready next week, or I’m not sure we have a place for him at Piano Contest next year.  I’ve spent so much time grooming him.”  Sternly, she continued, “You know Brian, I am concerned about you.  I hope you are better next week.  Now go home and get some rest.  Practice every day and remember those chords.  I told you that they have to be perfect.”  Brian looked up at her with tears in his big, blue, eight year old eyes and quietly, in almost a whisper, said, “Yes Mam.”

After an hour of waiting at Dr. Well’s office, they were finally called in.  Brian explained to the Dr., “It feels like knots and it burns too,  sometimes it comes up through my throat”.  “Mmm,” said Dr. Well, “It could be ulcers, or it might be acid reflux.”  Brian’s Mom looked up at the Dr. with worried eyes and said, “He seems awfully young for an ulcer, don’t you think?”  In a very friendly tone that Brian liked, Dr. Well replied, “I’ll give you a prescription for something that will take care of either of those things and we’ll have to wait and see.  In the mean time, take your medicine Brian.”   Brian said, “I will Dr. Well.  That’s a cool name for a Dr.”  Dr. Well smiled, “Why thanks, Brian,  I like your name too.”

That night while Brian slept he dreamed and awoke suddenly in a cold sweat.  In his dreams, he replayed the scenario that happened over a month ago with Mrs. Leary.  When Brian was at his lesson and it was time to play his F# chord, he mis-fingered the last part of the chord.  When he did, Mrs. Leary screamed at him and actually pinched his pinky finger as hard as she could.  She then told him that he would embarrass her if he played that way for contest.  In his dream, he was able to tell his Mom about it and she took care of it, but in reality, he was afraid to tell his Mom.  He was afraid because he knew in his heart that he hadn’t practiced as much as he should have at home before he went to practice that day, and some other days too, so in his mind he felt that he deserved the pinch.  Then, he told himself a great, big lie, “God is punishing me.”

His stomach didn’t get any better.  In fact, it grew worse and he eventually gave up piano.  Then, he heard that Mrs. Leary had passed away.  He felt like such a loser and couldn’t get those words about being an embarrassment to her out of his head.  As he approached his teenage years, Brian lost interest in any kind of activity that required performance.  His parents were worried about him.  He developed an attachment to super heroes.  In his imagination, he was a super hero.  He always conquered the enemy and he found himself a bit anxious whenever he didn’t get to watch his nightly super hero movie.  His mother was concerned, but allowed him this liberty because she wanted him to have a passion about something in his life, even though super heroes were just fantasy.

Eventually, Brian grew up, got an associate degree, and got a job as a physician’s assistant.  He felt good when he could help people.  This is where he met Liz.  Liz  was a nurse practitioner and was good for Brain.  She encouraged him in his job and got him to go back to college and finish up his bachelor’s degree.  Brian felt that all was right in the world when he was with her.  She was his anchor.  After eight years of marriage, they had Dexter.  Their love for him was immeasurable.

As Dexter grew up, he developed a love for music and although Brian couldn’t explain why, he hated the idea of Dexter being a musician.  In fact, he discouraged him.  It seemed that as much as he discouraged it, the more that Dexter wanted to do it.  Dexter didn’t even like super heroes.  So, Brian relented and let Dexter take piano lessons.  Liz found him a great teacher.  After a few years, Dexter began to pursue piano in a competitive way and his drive was fierce.  He never had to be prodded to practice.  This really bothered Brian and he began to tell Liz that he thought that Dexter was obsessed with piano.  Liz, who never knew about Brian’s piano “experience” said to her husband, “Brian, he’s just different from you.  He’s driven.”  Looking at her with hurt in his eyes Brian said, “What do you mean Liz?  I’m lazy.  Is that what you think?”  “I never said that Brian.  You just don’t understand someone who has a real passion for something.”  Little did she know, that he fully understood, but it was buried deep.  You see, Brian was gifted as a musician.

As time went on, Dexter gained more and more competence in piano.  Brian didn’t know why, but jealousy was building inside him against his son.  His anger would flash at Dexter and then he would feel guilty for his words and apologize. This time, it was more than Liz could take and she lashed out at Brian.  “What is wrong with you?  Why do you do this to him?  He loves the piano.  Why can’t you be happy for him?  He’s very good and his teacher is so sweet and very patient with him.”   Defensively, Brian replied, “Well, there you go, she’s probably just filling his head with nonsense.  If she’s sweet and patient and a music teacher, it just doesn’t make sense.  A good teacher is strict.  A good teacher that can take you all the way doesn’t put up with tired kids, kids that like to play, and kids that move around.  A good teacher would tell him the truth Liz.”  With her brown eyes flashing with anger and tears, Liz said, “What’s the truth Brian?”  Brian, now yelling at her said, “I don’t know, my stomach is bothering me Liz.  Where is my medicine? My ulcers are killing me.  Remember, I have a Dr.’s appointment in the morning.  I’m going to bed. ”  When Liz came to bed, he wasn’t asleep, but he was playing with a new iPhone game about “super heroes” that he got from a friend at work.  “I thought you were going to sleep Brian, it’s late.”  Brian just mumbled something under his breath and continued playing until he fell asleep.

What a sad story, don’t you think?  As I look at that story, I see a lot of other things going on.  Did you notice that Brian’s good experience with the Dr. influenced his career path?  As well, instead of continuing on to medical school, he settled for a four-year program as a Physician’s Assistant.  Nothing wrong with that, but Brian is smart and knew in his heart that he was meant to be a Dr.   As well, his stomach is still a mess.  There’s still a lot of communication issues going on with his parents.  There’s also a disconnect with his wife because there is a part of him that he is keeping from her that he keeps locked and hidden from the world.  His only release from his prison of guilt is “fantasy”.  There’s no judgement there because he can always try again and he eventually wins.  So, what should Brian do?

One thing I forgot to tell you is that Brian is a Christian and God is very sad that Brian never learned how to use the power that Jesus gave him when Brian accepted him as his Savior.   To break through the “false guilt” Brian must let the truth of the Word of God penetrate into his life.  He must use the “truth”  to replace the “lie of unforgiveness” that he has told himself.  Much like one of Brian’s super heroes, the Holy spirit working through his life can change him from the inside out.  Brian will be able to break the strongholds in his life and become victorious with his new-found strength.

In Cindy Trimm’s book,The Rules of Engagement for Overcoming Your Past, Cindy says, “In order to walk in the fullness of who God created you to be, you must reclaim the authority you’ve been given and see yourself the way God sees you.  This will require the rewiring of your mind. The apostle Paul refers to this in Ephesians 4:23 as being “renewed in the spirit of your mind”.    (pg. 13).  How does God see Brian?  God sees Brian saved by “grace” and forgiven.  In John 3:16  it says, “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” So, if Brian had felt God’s forgiveness in his heart for lying to his Mom about practicing the piano, then he would have been able to confess his sin to his mother.  But, he was a child when this happened.  As an adult now, what is Brian’s responsibility to God?  1 Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child and I reasoned like a child, but when I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me”.   As a man, Brian is called  to put away his childhood and “grow up in Christ”.  God tells us in Ephesians 4:13-16 “…till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head Christ.”  With these first steps, Brian will be on his way to a new life that will produce fruit for Christ in the life of his wife and his son and in those around him.  He will understand his failures and be able to accept them and he will be able to try again.  As for his health,  because his stress will be reduced greatly, his stomach aches will probably dissipate altogether.  Because he now finds comfort in the Lord, Brian can now find the strength to break his gaming addiction to spend more time with his wife and son.

In our lives, we have all experienced parts of Brian’s story.  God provides the answers to everyone’s story.  If you are ready to become more aware of God’s truth in your personal life, I challenge you to be a part of an established discipleship Bible study called “Pathway to Wholeness (PTW), written by Dale Fletcher of Faith and Health Connections.  PTW introduces the Christian to the truth of the Word of God and helps you apply it to overcome physical, mental and emotional challenges in your life.  Through this study, we uncover the areas in our lives that we want to change and we let God begin to heal our mind, body  and spirit.  When we are aligned with him, He is able to work in and through us to accomplish His will for our lives.  If we are in his will, we will bear everlasting fruit that will bring us joy and peace within.  If you are interested in this study and you live in the Atlanta, GA area, please contact me at stephatnomorebandaids@gmail.com.   Our next class will begin August  22, 2014.  Write to me and I will write you back promptly!

 

 

 

 

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