by Joanie Butman
If you thought the stump escapade was ‘Lucyesque,’ my most recent experience mirrored her Vitameatavegamin* episode. Those of a certain age will remember Lucy finagling her way onto a TV commercial touting the benefits of the vitamin supplement that promised to “spoon yourself to health.” Not knowing it contains alcohol, she gets drunk while practicing her spiel, which leads to hilarity as she attempts to pronounce the tongue-twisting name.
I didn’t have to trick anyone to garner my vitameatavegamin moment. My debut was more accidental. When introduced to a lovely couple at a party in May, I asked them about themselves. Neena is a chef by trade, but began talking about a project she and her husband were working on—a show called Straight Talk No Sugar Added, where she and her guests discuss faith, what their view is on Faith and what they have gone through to be where they are today. She asked whether I would consider being on the show. I responded with an enthusiastic “sure,” never thinking I’d actually have to follow through. She wasted no time following up, and I was scheduled for taping in July.
At the time I thought I was agreeing to be on a podcast, not a cable show, which was infinitely more intimidating. My brief TV appearance on the game show, Concentration, at 13 immediately came to mind. My childish delusions of being ‘discovered’ faded quickly when the show aired. Though I won a trip to Disneyworld, I didn’t want to leave the house for a week I was so embarrassed. There was no reason to think this foray would be any different. Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound. There was no backing out now.
I returned from Massachusetts on the appointed day and decided to squeeze in a dental appointment while in town. I thought it was just to check on my Invisalign retainers, but before I knew it, the dentist was shooting me full of Novocaine to repair a cracked tooth. Ordinarily this wouldn’t pose a problem, but with my bottom jaw entirely numb it wasn’t going to be easy appearing on a talk show. I’d be drooling my way through my faith testimony. I spent the next hour massaging and exercising my jaw trying in vain to regain usage. If Moses could stutter his way through rescuing the Israelites, I could mumble through a mere 60 minutes.
There was no need to be nervous. It was fun sitting with someone for an hour talking about faith – even with a sagging jaw. There were a couple of Ralph Kramden “Homina, homina”** moments when Neena asked questions about my early books. At 61 I have a hard time remembering what I had for breakfast, never mind something I wrote 15 years ago. I’m trusting that God is going to perform a miracle of editing to eliminate some of the worst bloopers. Or maybe He wants them highlighted to illustrate that when discussing matters of the heart, it’s our foibles that make it real. Any story of faith is perfect in its imperfections because it’s His story written with love on the pages of our life.
It’s because of my poor memory that I choose to write – to document the ways God works in my life. Why is that important? Because my faith journey is a series of peaks and valleys. During those times when it droops worse than my jaw and numbness sets in, I can look back and remind myself of God’s unwavering providence, presence, patience and love. And perhaps, if we are open to sharing them, our stories will lift up someone else when their own faith needs a boost. They are a vitamin supplement for the soul.
So…Are you tired, run-down, listless? Do you poop out at parties? Are you unpopular? The answer to all your problems…won’t be found in a bottle but in a book, guaranteed to lift your spirits and feed your spiritual hunger.
**This phrase was first coined by Ralph Kramden, as played by Jackie Gleason. When he had difficulties thinking what he should say next, he would resort to, "Homina, homina..." The phrase appeared in almost every episode of The Honeymooners.