As I sat in the doctor's office this week - with my clothes in a pile - awaiting my annual physical, I could think of only one thing.

What could she possibly do for the horrendous pain in my butt?

Only the day before, I had fallen in a gallant attempt to safeguard my grandchild, who was teetering close to the stairs.

Oh don't worry, he's fine, but let's just say I'm not spending as much time in the writer's chair as I'd like to this week.

"Bruised tailbone" was the doctor's prognosis, for which she prescribed a shot of anti-inflammatory.

How, I wondered, was a painful shot in the rear supposed to make my backside feel better?

Nevertheless, the risk I took and the pain I endured to do the right thing was more than worth it.

The whole incident has served as kind of reminder of the metaphorical kick in the butt I'd already received this month. It, too, was a painful blow that inspired me in the right direction.

This past month our chaplain department faced the news that we would have to lay off a chaplain. No worries, I thought, I was not the last person hired. My job was safe.

The last person hired is an excellent chaplain. We can't afford to lose her, nor can she afford to lose us. She's a new mother, and her husband is a full-time student.

The thought of losing this chaplain saddened me, and I began to balance it with the dream of writing full time. In this economy, the thought of going out on my own gave me an additional pain in the rear.

No, it's just not a good idea.

But it was a good idea. It seemed to me that the threat of layoffs was the kind of cosmic butt-kicking I needed, to do what I know is in me to do.

So, after discussion with "Mrs. Chaplain," whose teaching income would largely support this happy journey, I surprised my boss and colleagues by volunteering to be laid off.

March 13 is my last day in this hospital, and my new journey of writing will unfold.

Cosmic butt-kickings don't come as often as we probably need. Most of the time, God is the kind and loving God we encounter in the famous poem, "Footprints in the Sand."

The poem describes the promise of God to "never leave you."

There is also a less-known parody of the poem, which I respectfully offer in closing today's column, called "Buttprints in the Sand."

One night I had a wondrous dream,
One set of footprints there was seen,
The footprints of my precious Lord,
But mine were not along the shore.
But then some strange prints appeared,
And I asked the Lord, "What have we here?"
Those prints are large and round and neat,
"But Lord, they are too big for feet."
"My child," He said in somber tones,
"For miles I carried you along.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
But you refused and made me wait."
"You disobeyed, you would not grow,
The walk of faith, you would not know,
So I got tired, I got fed up,
And there I dropped you on your butt."
"Because in life, there comes a time,
When one must fight, and one must climb,
When one must rise and take a stand,
Or leave their buttprints in the sand."
- Author unknown
Powered By: Norris Burkes is a civilian hospital chaplain and an Air Force Guard chaplain.

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