Joy and Nausea


God works in mysterious—and sometimes icky—ways.

Some years back I was booked as a guest speaker for a “Halloween Alternative” celebration on San Juan island, the largest of Washington state’s 400 isle San Juan group. Co-sponsored by churches on several of the bigger islands, it promised to be the youth event of the week.

I flew into Seattle, picked up a rental car and headed north. A two-and-a-half hour drive and a one-hour ferry ride later, I arrived feeling as brisk as the October breeze!

As the opening band finished their sound check, youth pastor Dave arrive with our dinner: greasy fries and big, drippy cheeseburgers! Shortly thereafter, for some mysterious reason, I felt a mite queasy. So I lay down on a cot backstage.

By the time Dave roused me the auditorium was packed! And so was my abdominal tract. I was green in the face and roiling like a tsunami. Still, the show—and the message—must go on.

The band finished. The costumed crowd cheered. I’d been asked to “be funny” before segueing into the serious closing. So I told my Fat Cat and Toby the Turtle stories, while silently praying, Please, God, I don’t think You brought me here to hurl regurgitated French fries at teenage zombies and princesses!

They laughed, never dreaming I was fighting back a rising tide of grease and bile. As I moved into the message, and a heartfelt invitation to commit or recommit their lives to serving God and others, my nausea reached its peak. Lord, I don’t care what happens to me, just don’t let me spew while talking about You!

Suddenly, a wave of warmth came over me—the nausea was gone! I invited everyone to join me in a love song to our Savior. As I strummed the guitar Dave had loaned me, grateful for the relief and for the hundred or so teenagers who’d come forward with joyful faces, that warmth began to make its way down my legs.

It was one of the weirder things I’ve done, leading kids in singing while warm brown liquid oozed down the back of my pants and pooled in my shoes. As the song ended, I backed offstage, smiling innocently.

Fortunately, the backstage bathroom had a shower. Church leaders were still praying with kids when I returned and joined them—wearing a fresh set of clothes.

We sometimes learn later why things happened the way they did. Other times we don’t. This was one of those other times. Someday I’ll know. In the meantime, I smile, taking the bile with the sweet, and remember those teenagers’ faces.

“In this world you shall have tribulation. But be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.” ~John 16:33

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Joy and Nausea

  1. disturbedteacher says:

    Good post, great scripture. Thanks for the laugh.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Pam Webb says:

    Answered prayer: you didn’t spew. Instead you experienced a “ew”…

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Alive And Well says:

    Thank you for the uncomfortable laugh!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. smzang says:

    “In the meantime, I smile, taking the bile with the sweet, ….”
    a great close!!

    Sitting here wrapped in a quilt and shivering
    to the tune of all the glories of a winter bug,
    I have great appreciation for how you must
    have felt. Even with great fortitude, it would
    have been near impossible to stay on your feet
    if His hand at not been on your shoulder…It all
    speaks well of His sense of humor and of yours.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. hcmorris77 says:

    There’s nothing worse…I don’t think. And you experienced it onstage!
    I once had to drop my pants and “go” in the driveway, or rather in the trees alongside the driveway! Luckily, I live in the country and no one saw what I did!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. numrhood says:

    john 41:08 fear not
    have you flew into miami

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Agent X says:

    If it’s been a while since your last visit, please accept this invitation. Thanx for your attention.

    Agent X

    Oh.. . and btw… eew!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Ha! Well done! I wasn’t expecting that at all. Also, you are quite the professional. Performing under those conditions takes some genuine courage and resolve. I am thoroughly impressed. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Erika Kind says:

    This must have been more than a stressful situation which of course, can have increased the symptoms. And once you let go, things began to readjust… thank God in a not so visible way… It is a clear proof of your dedication to what your “mission” was about. You set your priorities and focused on what mattered and not what bothered you. An awesome example of dedication, Mitch!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. lprslr says:

    Life is usually bile with sweet. Perfect!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Ann Coleman says:

    I admire your tenacity! And hey, you stayed focused on what really mattered, and that’s all that counts in the end. Sometimes faith is messy…..quite literally!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Lynn says:

    Poor, valiant you!!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. revruss1220 says:

    What in the world were they thinking… serving that kind of crap to the keynote speaker!!?? Thanks for that great example of divine deliverance. My wife and I had one of our most memorable vacations in a VRBO house on San Juan Island a few years ago. Beautiful place. Also – oddly enough – we discovered it is north of the Canadian border.

    Liked by 3 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Honestly, I think it was just a harried youth pastor trying to pull things together in a hurry. It’s also possible I picked up a 24 hour flu. Or that the locals were all immune to the particular brand of bacteria the local burger stand served, like locals in foreign countries (like Canada, eh?).


    • When I headed up a Christian Women’s Club, I noticed a guest singer pass up lunch, saying she never ate before singing. (She probably thought BURPING would be disastrous. 😉 )

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Other than providing a great story (My male middle school students would have loved it.), I’m sure it taught you some humility – and showed you that “the worst that can happen” can’t stop God from doing what HE wanted. Which is either reassuring, or unsettling… :/

    Liked by 3 people

  15. TEP336 says:

    I never thought there would be a situation where diarrhea would somehow be preferable to the alternative. 🤣

    Liked by 2 people

  16. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    God keeps us together through those times when the body goes a little south. Run a good race, without the runs.

    In Christ,


    Liked by 4 people

  17. Wow, what an interesting story, and definitely something that makes me think about the word joy straight away. That feeling you have shared is so powerful! I have just published an article on my blog about the wonder of joy. If you have time, it would be great if you could check it out and let me know your thoughts! Thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Wow. Laughed so hard. “A warmth spread over me”.


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