Thanks to Sarita Fowler for sharing how God cares about the little stuff at work. This blog is part of the Finding God at Work series.
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At nine weeks pregnant I felt nauseated every morning. But when my agency asked me to interpret on stage for a 9:00 a.m. program, I thought, I can do this. After all, the assignment will only take an hour and I’ll get paid for two. No-brainer. I didn’t stop to consider that nearly every day my stomach began its lurching and heaving around that time.
The night before the assignment, I started preparing—deciding on my clothes had become a chore. I had started gaining weight and I didn’t fit into my go-to black slacks. I opted for another pair of pants that were a little too long and a little too snug. No worries. I’ll just wear heels, and I’ll suck in my stomach. I hadn’t worn heels or sucked in my stomach for over two months.
I arrived early for the assignment and saw the stage where I would interpret for the deaf audience. No chair. It doesn’t matter, I’ll only be interpreting for an hour.
While waiting for the program to start, I decided to ditch both my water bottle and remove the anti-nausea Seabands from my wrists. My water bottle would look unprofessional on the stage and although I typically wore Sea-Bands from sun up to sun down, I probably wouldn’t need them. My stomach, squashed into my tight pants, would be fine for an hour.
For the first forty-five minutes I felt fine. At 9:46, though, I became aware of my sore feet. Why had I worn heels? Then I noticed the bright spotlights. Had they always been that hot? My forehead started to sweat and everyone began to sound like they were talking into paper cups. I lost my peripheral vision. Warm saliva filled my mouth. Oh dear. This might not end well.
I tried bending my knees—channeling my middle school choir director’s advice—hoping that would prevent me from passing out. Why hadn’t I asked for a chair? I looked longingly at my cold water bottle at the bottom of the stage. I’m glad I didn’t bring it on stage. That would’ve been so unprofessional. It’ll be much more professional to pass out in front of all these people.
I started praying—praying that the Lord help my fingers make sense as they flew through words, that I wouldn’t fall over, and that I wouldn’t throw up. As I sent my desperate pleas upward, I realized that this was the first time I’d asked for God’s help with this assignment.
When 10:00 finally came, and the program ended, I was still standing. Breakfast was still in my stomach. Thank God.
I’d spent so much time focusing on how I would look on stage, I never considered that I might need the Lord’s help. But I need him daily, not only when I feel sick, and not just for difficult assignments, but every day. It’s easy to rely on my abilities—how fast my brain can turn sounds into hand motions—but I want to rely first and foremost, not on my skills, but on the one who gave me them to me. And not just when my stomach threatens to heave itself all over the stage.
Sarita Fowler works as an American Sign Language interpreter and a Spanish professor in Tallahassee, FL. She is a Nationally Certified Interpreter and has served in the Deaf community for over fifteen years. She and her husband Nathan are expecting their first baby (a boy!) in December. Read other articles by Sarita on sharing Christ with the Deaf community, getting involved with the Deaf, and her review of the book Public Faith.