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The Real Art Of The Deal, By Lorie Sheffer

There’s certainly a possibility that Jeff and I may be kind of weird. We grew up well within 5 miles of one another. We both know what it feels like for the floor to rumble under our feet from blasts at a limestone quarry. We know that rotted egg, sulphur smell of a paper mill contrasted with the amazing smell that is emitted from a potato chip factory. We had some of the same teachers and all of the same graduating class. Chances are pretty high that there may have been something in our environment that made us a bit goofy, but probably not. I think that we are part of a huge number of dealmakers.

Jeff and I share not only the same basic childhood environment, but also an affinity for making a deal. There are some promises we have made that, come Hell or high water, we aim to keep. Jeff talks to God way more than I do. He is certain that God is listening, I wonder sometimes if I am just talking to myself. I suppose you could label me a Deist. And yet, when times get tough I feel that in case I am wrong about my beliefs, I want to cover my bases.

Jeff and I have made promises that we have no intention of breaking. Those promises are for our loved ones. “God, please keep my child safe, please keep this disease from harming them. Please heal them. I promise that I will………” And there you have it.

When my daughter was less than a year old, it was discovered that she had a problem with her kidneys that would either resolve on its own over the years, or would require surgery. It caused kidney infections that would make her temperature soar to as high as 106 degrees, at which times she would have febrile seizures. Over time the problem did resolve, but it was later discovered that the infections left her with a kidney that doesn’t function much, if at all. Good thing we have two kidneys and only need one.

I made a deal for my husband, after his stroke. “God, if you let him live I will do whatever it takes to help him recover.” As I said to Jeff the other day, “What?! You think I have only missed 2 physical therapy appointments in 15 years because I think they’re fun?” I made a promise just last year, when my father wasn’t expected to live. Sitting at his bedside every day all summer long, clipping toenails and dressing an abdominal wound is not my idea of an exciting way to spend a year of my life. But a deal’s a deal. I bargained for my brother, I have bargained for my friends, I’ve even tried to strike up deals for my pets. I have very good reason to believe that Jeff and I are not the only gamblers when the going gets tough.

Do I really think these late night, desperate deals work? To be honest, I don’t think that God works that way in so far as Him saving the folks who have the most sincere prayers said for them or who have someone willing to work for Him in exchange for a save. However, I do think that the deals work in another way. Those deals involve us giving extra help, support and love. Recovery can certainly be helped along if there is someone fighting the fight with you. I don’t think I have the power to persuade God to change the course of events. But I do think I have the power to put my own needs aside and reach out to help pull someone through. Even if that person doesn’t recover, at least I am left knowing that I did all I could do, and I can take that experience to try to find a way to help others who may be faced with the same. Maybe that is how God’s grace works.