Easy solutions

Terry has had during the night some terrible leg cramps in recent years. I was certain that he must be in terrible pain to let out those yelps as he awoke and tried to get himself out of bed and walk them off. I was sure of that pain because, of course, he would always awake me from a sound sleep. I was scared to death the first few times, not knowing what was going on. After a while, the fright subsided and while I did feel for his pain, I have to admit to a bit of self-centered pity at being awakened so abruptly.

Well, they say what goes around comes around. I started getting leg cramps and toe cramps and ankle cramps. Serves me right for being perturbed with my husband.

I started putting two and two together and determined that my cramps were probably brought on by dehydration. I’ve been working really hard around the house and really sweating. I wasn’t drinking enough water, that’s for certain. So I started a more delineated regimen of water intake.


That’s Mickey Mouse’s head with bubbles surrounding it. The soap came from one of our many stays at a Walt Disney World resort. [Gretchen Lord Anderson photo]

About that same time, however, I read on the internet (where else?) about a cure for nighttime leg cramps. I’ve been tempted to call it an old wives’ tale, but since I’ve probably secured my spot in time as an old wife, I’ll prefer to call it a home remedy.

The idea is to put a bar of soap between the mattress pad and the bottom or fitted sheet on the bed. That’s it. Just slide that hummer in there and leg cramps were supposed to disappear into the night.

Well, what the heck. It was worth a try, I figured. Not wanting to put a big lumpy bar of Dove soap into the bed, I opened the drawer where I keep a stash of Walt Disney World resort soaps that have accumulated from our many stays there. They come in two sizes: a smaller one for the face and one slightly larger for the bath. Both are round and less than one-half inch thick. I opted for the slightly larger one. And I had two, so I figured I would put one on either side of our bed. An outline of Mickey Mouse’s head and bubbles floating around it gave me some comfort even if I didn’t have much faith in the cure.

That first night I had to locate the soap I had stashed in the bed and have Terry put his hand on the sheet under which it was placed. I doubt he would have known it was there had I not told him. Then I told him why it was there.

I got the old eye-roll routine. Over 35 years of marriage, I’ve noticed that the old eye-roll has increased in appearance much more frequently. It has become one of my husband’s most reliable indications of vexation with me. More often than not I just ignore it. It seldom irritates me. I figure if I vex him, it’s his problem. And, I have to admit, this soap under the sheet idea seemed a little far-fetched to me too but what’s the harm in trying?

That was a month ago.

There have been no leg cramps, ankle cramps, toe cramps, thigh cramps, or other general discomfort since the two bars of Mickey Mouse soap went into each side of the bed. I do notice when I make the bed in the morning that the bars have slipped around in the night, but it’s just a matter of finding them by feel and moving them back into place – at about the spot where our calves hit the bed.

Last Sunday, our preacher told the Old or First Testament story of Naaman the leper. It’s found in 2 Kings, chapter 5. The Reader’s Digest version is that Naaman was a powerful general in a powerful king’s Aramean army. But this leprosy thing was getting in the way of his life. No one wanted to hang with him and there was always that bugaboo about fingers dropping off. He was desperate for a cure. There was an unnamed slave girl who said she knew of a prophet in her home of Samaria in Israel and she was pretty sure this guy would have an answer. So the Syrian king ripped off a note to the less powerful Israeli king and sent it along with a bunch of gifts for Naaman to explore a potential cure.

Well, the Israeli king thought the Aramean king was trying to pick a fight with him and didn’t quite know what to do, but Elisha the prophet stepped up and said he would take a stab at it. He told Naaman to go wash seven times in the Jordan River. That’s it. That’s all.

Naaman was really ticked off. He didn’t feel well in the first place and had made this uncomfortable trip just to be told to take seven baths in a dirty old river? He just about didn’t do it, but his unnamed lowly servants suggested that had he been given something really difficult to do, he probably would have done it, so why not give the Jordan River thing a go?

He did. His leprosy was cured and his skin found the fountain of youth.

And it all came about because of an unnamed slave girl and unnamed lowly servants.

It’s really a story of faith and of healing.

I couldn’t resist. I leaned over to Terry and whispered, “Soap in the bed,” reminding him of the apparent “cure” I had found for his leg discomfitures.

He had to smile, but quickly rejoined, “I’m still waiting for it not to work.”

I don’t know why the soap has worked this past month. Maybe Terry is hydrating better as I have. But I kind of feel like Naaman the leper whose desperation to find an answer was found in throw-away people, people of little or no worth in the real world and in a taken-for-granted river of water where no one with a sane mind would seek a cure for anything.

Maybe Terry is right. Maybe that soap isn’t a cure and the leg cramps will return as quickly as they departed. It does sound like a Mickey Mouse idea and probably worth an eye-roll or two.

But how long will it take for us to have faith? Are we glass-half-empty kind of people, just waiting for something to go wrong in our lives? I can pretty well guarantee that something will go wrong.

In the meantime, we can take our half-full glasses and fill them to the brim while we enjoy whatever little miracles are brought to us by the most unsuspecting and unsuspected people and things. I’ve met a few of those lately at the homeless ministry. How blessed they have made my life and how full it has become!

Heck, Naaman didn’t even need our Mickey Mouse soap. He just used water.

Simple solutions.




Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 2 Kings 5:2-3


10 Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage. 13 But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean. – 2 Kings 5:10-14

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3 comments for “Easy solutions

  1. Barb
    July 6, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    I dated someone once who would occasionally get leg cramps. He asked me to run downstairs and get salt. He would get a teaspoon full of salt and swallow it. I watched it work! Maybe something to,do with the lack of hydration and not enough sodium in the muscle! In case Mickey Mouse doesn’t come to your aid next time, try the salt!!!! 😉

  2. Susan Norby
    July 7, 2016 at 8:12 am

    I was thoroughly enjoying your account with soap under the sheets since I’ve done that myself…with some positive results I might add…until I read “an answer was found in throw-away people”. My whole being was at attention at those words. How easy it is to overlook the ways God intervenes in our lives. I’m going to be more watchful thanks to your reminder.

  3. David Deutschl
    July 7, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Never underestimate the power of faith or placebo effect. Or soap.

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