Hold the Bowl


By Mary Muirhead

I don’t remember hearing the ambulance arrive; I had heard my daughter phone, but the next thing I remember, through the fog, was somebody yelling, “Mary, hold your arm straight!” As it turned out I was attempting to guide the stretcher around to the side door, but I don’t remember.

Apparently, I continued to ‘assist’, and furthermore looked as if I might be sick. So the attendant grabbed a bowl which he gave me and told me to hold. I held on for dear life; I didn’t even want to surrender it when it was pried out of my hands. My motivation was the instruction of the ET, “Mary, Hold the bowl! Your job is to hold the bowl”.

My memory is very unclear. I was in the process of burning up with fever, but I could still on some level cooperate with those trying to help me. And I had a job to do: to keep out of the way so that others could do theirs!

And since I tend to see life as metaphor, I take delight in this story. You see, quite often the best thing one can do in any circumstance is to get out of the way and let someone else do the job they are trained to do.

A few minutes earlier I had been lying in bed shaking with fever, asking God for help. Help came in the form of a daughter, an ambulance, and a seemingly useless task – which I did!

Andrea, my daughter, tells me that I was also told to cross my arms across my chest. I recognize that advice; it’s what we used to tell kids to do during a fire drill. It has a calming effect and keeps kids from getting in each other’s way.

But my job then and there was to hold the bowl! That’s all I needed to do, and things turned out very well for me, with a strong life lesson thrown in.

Hey! I don’t need to fuss or even attempt to help in every situation. Sometimes I just need to stay out of the way. Whadaya know!

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