Monday, June 1, 2015

Walking In Pain

It's been a long dry spell. The earth is cracked and hard. The streams that once flowed unendingly (so it seemed) have trickled down to nothing. As far as the eye can see, there is no moisture. Sometimes there are waves of hot mirages in the distance, but up close, nothing is there

That's how if feels when I sit down to write these days. It isn't that I haven't tried. It isn't that my hands haven't hovered over this keyboard, but nothing comes from nothing, as the song from "Sound of Music" goes. And somehow, there isn't enough inside to make the words come.

I'm not afraid of drought spiritually. Drought in the material world is a whole different story. My sister lives in southern California. She can tell you a thing or two about drought. Even if it rains for the rest of the year (which it won't), that won't be enough to stem the problem for long.
But spiritually, I understand that it doesn't matter whether I am able to write, whether the cup within is overflowing. He is faithful. He loves me. I stake my life on this.

But here are some alongside realities that have made life difficult for me in the last month:
I've been struggling with ongoing debilitating back pain, on top of the chronic leg pain I've lived with for a dozen years. I don't say this to illicit sympathy but to explain something that I realized the other day. Because I am LOATHE to have another surgery, I've been doing intensive Physical Therapy for the last six weeks. And I realized something just last week. One of the ways I've 'coped' with my physical pain for these many years is to say, "So what?" to not allow it to have control over me. Sure, it limits my life, but it DOESN'T limit my brain or my heart or my relationships--with God or anyone else. I am NOT my physical pain. However, what the PTs (and I have two of them) have been asking is that I focus on my body, that I actually pay attention to it, NOT to separate myself from it, NOT to look at this body as merely the place in which I dwell, but a wholly integrated part of me. And, as I've tried to do that, so I can work on strengthening muscles that may or may not be able to be strengthened (the PT jury's still out about that), it's like I've become one with all this chronic pain again. Not separate, NOT above it, but fully IN it.

And I have to say, it's not very fun. It's hard, sweaty work. Pain isn't easy. Finding joy IN the pain isn't easy. Concentrating ON the pain is the most excruciating work I've ever been asked to do.

It has brought me to a desert place, a place where I am more dry and empty than overflowing.
I do not write this as a complaint (and hopefully it won't sound that way to you) but simply to explain. In truth, I want to be like the Psalmists who ended all their hard Psalms with words of praise. When I'm in a desert place, when I walking on cracked and dry ground, He is working as truly and completely as He is when I'm being showered with His presence. And I trust that my obedience in this will result in His glory, one way or another.

I have learned the secret of being content, whether in plenty or in want...I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

1 comment:

Pamela M. Steiner said...

I've been missing you and realized that I haven't seen any posts in quite a while. Now I understand why. I am praying that God will provide a way for you to be freed from the pain, and that He will give you the strength you need for each and every day...and that the pain will not debilitate you physically OR mentally OR spiritually. I know you are strong in the Lord...and that His presence is with you and in you...and that He will direct your paths to find the peace and comfort that you need. I commit you into His capable healing hands. Amen.