By all accounts, Goliath was a pretty bad dude.
The champion of the Philistine army stood nearly 10 feet tall and walked around in armor that weighed almost 170 pounds. The armies of Israel rightly trembled in his wake and no man would step forward to fight him, according to Biblical lore.
All except a boy with a sling and a stone.
That boy, David, would step forward to face the Philistine giant on the field of battle and, as recounted in 1 Samuel 17:49-50, “Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.”
There’s really two lessons to be taken from this. The most obvious, of course, is that with enough faith, no obstacle — no matter how large — is insurmountable. The other lesson to be learned, however, is that tiny stones can do a heck of a lot of damage.
I’ve spent the past two weeks learning all about the latter.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving, I awoke in the middle of the night with the most incredible pain I have ever felt in my entire life in my lower back — even worse than the pain I feel when my wife puts her cold feet on my back in the winter.
Now granted, I’m not known for being a particularly tough person — I’ve been known to cry when getting blood drawn — but this was a pain unlike any I had ever known before in my entire life. The pain was so incredible and so intense that I asked my wife — you know, the one with the cold feet — to drive me to the hospital that morning after a few hours of rolling around on the ground in blinding agony.
I went to the hospital knowing there was a good chance I would miss that day’s Ohio State vs. Michigan football game. Think about that for a second. I was in so much pain and in such dire need of relief that I was willing to risk missing one of the two most important football games of the year (Troy vs. Piqua being the other one).
And so, with my innards feeling as if they were going to spill out of my lower back and onto the ground at any moment, I hobbled into the emergency room at the hospital. Soon after receiving medical attention, I was diagnosed with a kidney stone. This was my first (and I’m praying to all things holy, my last) kidney stone, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
After doing a CAT scan, they determined my kidney stone to be roughly 4 millimeters in size. Four millimeters certainly didn’t sound that big and I figured my lack of toughness and tendency toward the dramatic is what had cut me down to size that day. I found it hard to believe something so small could be causing my quite so much pain.
The medical professionals assured me, however, that my reaction was quite normal and that little stone inside my body was absolutely capable of causing that much pain. One nurse even told me that passing a kidney stone was the male version of giving birth.
I immediately looked over at my wife — who I swear had a smug look of satisfaction on her face — and remembered being in the room when she gave birth to our two children. While I might have felt like someone was jabbing a bayonet into my back at the time, I still felt pretty certain it was nothing like giving birth.
It did, in fact, hurt.
The good news is that thanks to modern pharmaceutical science, the good folks at Upper Valley Medical Center were able to put an end to my misery and get me home in time for the opening kickoff. The bad news, however, is that I still haven’t managed to get the kidney stone out of my body the natural way — and if I don’t soon, I’m going to have to have it removed through a medical procedure that sounds an awful lot like what happened to Mel Gibson at the end of that “Braveheart” movie.
I’ve still got a few more days before it comes to that, however, so I’ll keep drinking water and praying everything comes to pass on its own.
Because if it doesn’t, I might be the second oversized guy in history to be felled by a simple stone.
David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefongReach