Left-face! Right-face! About-face!” Our drill sergeant was always in our faces telling us troops what to do. And this wasn’t even the real deal.
The Medical Cadet Corps was Adventist education’s way of helping young men prepare to serve their country as medics. This was back in the days when qualified males were “drafted” into military service, which meant they either accepted the invitation to join or accepted meals of bread and water through a prison cell door.
“Now, as you know,” Sergeant Cooper announced one night following a marching drill, “a good medic must be able to respond to any challenge that presents itself.”
I envisioned struggling under fire up a hill to heroically rescue my fallen band of brothers.
“That includes childbirth,” said the good sergeant.
Wait a minute. I was willing to do a lot for my fellow human beings, but having a baby seemed a little over the top.
“At some time you may come across a civilian female requiring an emergency delivery.”
Emergency delivery? Did this have something to do with the U.S. Postal Service?
“And to ensure that each of you knows how to deliver a baby in an emergency situation, I have a film to show you,” Sergeant Cooper explained. “Let’s turn the lights out.”
No, this can’t be happening! I thought. I wasn’t scared of the dark, but I was horrified at the prospect of seeing a blood-’n’-guts-covered kid arrive on the big screen.
Suddenly I grew queasy. Shifting in my seat, I tried to come up with a reasonable excuse for missing out on the childbirthing film. But if the truth got out, two things might result. First, my fellow troops would miss out on the honor of actual military service because of the severe physical damage that would result from being doubled-over laughing at me for an entire week. Second, a major motion picture might be made about me and titled Faintheart.
Unlike the infant now sliding toward daylight down the birth canal, I was stuck. I put my head down, hoping nobody would notice that something was wrong with me.
“Is something wrong with you?” my buddy Tom “Tomahawk” Stiles whispered.
“Have you ever stopped to think about all the work that went into making this concrete floor?” I said.
Tomahawk just gave me a strange look, then turned back to the action on the screen.
Some 2o minutes later the proud mother was handed her new baby boy. I was confident that her ordeal had been much less taxing than mine. (Note: Any mother reading this previous statement may require being taken to the closest emergency room to have her eyes rolled back down into their proper position, so be prepared.)
As the lights came back on, Sergeant Cooper spoke. “Now you all know how to act should this emergency ever present itself to you.” I smiled and nodded in agreement. Yes, I did indeed know exactly how I’d handle such a crisis, as I had just demonstrated.
As it turned out, I eventually became directly involved in helping to deliver three babies, all little boys. That’s because I was (and still am) their dad. A father can display uncanny courage when his own child is involved. Nobody showed that more clearly than Jesus, who was God the Father in human form. He risked everything to make a new, spiritual birth possible for all.
The Medical Cadet Corps helped me to become the man I am today. If you ever need someone to evaluate the quality of the concrete floor in your basement (or anywhere else, for that matter), just give me a call. Thanks to the corps, I have plenty of experience.