Friday, March 2, 2012

Dependent on the belt

I've spent the last couple of weeks decades coping with a bad back. Yuck, I hate actually writing that sentence. A bad back. When I was hit by that car on Valentine's Day in 1963, my parents were told that I'd someday have a bad back. Apparently your hipbone isn't supposed to be pushed into your spine like that after all. But for many, many years my back didn't bother me at all. However, once those lowest vertebrae began protesting, it flares up with astonishing regularity. So, with my typically reluctant regularity (if that makes sense) I find myself at Physical Therapy every year or so. I always have a choice between that and chiropractics but...(well, I won't tell you the graphic, horrifiying reason I will never go to a chiropractor again, but let's just say I'm pretty sure it was at least misconduct and likely a crime--and not surprisingly, when I refused to pay my bill, it was not only NOT sent to a bill collector but 'forgiven').

So, physical therapy. And the relentless work necessary to tame the inflamed muscles which are hampered by the mass of scars pinching nerves, etc. Always teeth-clenching, grueling work. I'm never very good at following orders in the beginning and include repetitious working of already hurting parts of my frame. This time, however, with the spectre of surgery hanging over my head like the ghost of Scrooge's Christmas yet-to-be, I felt far more compelled than usual. So, I tried. Keeping my abs taut, I tried lifting my fiery, aching left leg two inches off the table, and couldn't do it without gasping in pain. So my physical therapist, whom I'm now calling 'the Genius', placed her hands just above each of my hips, squeezed tightly and asked me to try again. And wah la: leg up, no gasp! She left the room for a moment, came back in with a belt which does the same thing. Like a girdle it cinches in those flaring muscles, giving me the support I need to exercise.

I was shocked by the difference. This narrow belt will help me strengthen those muscles in a way I cannot do on my own. I'm not supposed to be dependent on the belt--it's not a crutch so that my own muscles don't do their own work, but it is an aid while I'm hurting.  And it's doing the job. When I went back yesterday, after just four days exercising with that belt, the Genius was encouraged at my progress. I am too. Completely encouraged. Living without it now, other than when I exercise, walk or stand for long periods. And what a HUGE relief. No surgery in sight (at least for now, she reminds me...but I'll take what I can get!)

As I was lying on the floor yesterday, pulling my knees up to my chest with that belt aiding and abetting me, I got to thinking about how like the body of Christ it is. I often think of the Holy Spirit as re-bar--the strong metal that keeps us firm and straight from inside, that holds up the whole foundation. If this is the case, the body of Christ, our fellow believers are like the belts or girdles we wear on the outside to help keep us strong and move our hurting muscles.  I think of all the people in my life who have been like this belt--who have cinched in tightly so that I can walk when I felt I might otherwise fall down. As Ephesians 6: 14 says, they have stood firm and are, in no small way, the belt of truth I fasten around my waist, speaking His truth to me, and speaking to Him of me when I had no words of my own. So though I might not want to grow dependent on that physical belt, I will always, always need the spiritual belt of the Body of Christ. Absolutely. Just as I'm dependent on the re-bar of His Spirit.

This is how it should be. Isn't it? Re-bar within that is Him. And belt on the outside that are also Him. It reminds me--as everything does, if I'm really paying attention--that, as 2 Corinthians 4:10 says, "...we always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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