"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Body

Having married off all three of my children within a year and a half, the last couple of years of my life have been nothing short of, well... active. Add all the “normal” stuff in there and I can say with much assurance that life has been full, emotionally if nothing else, and that God has been very faithful. But over the last several months, I’ve been saying, “If I can just make it to January." "If I can just make it to January.” Well, January arrived; the adrenaline stopped pumping, the body felt the effects – and I fell apart.

For several decades, I have suffered from a degenerative disk in my lower back as well as very tight shoulder and neck muscles (due to years of sitting at the piano). I've heard it said that stress will attack the weakest part of the body, and for me, it’s definitely my back and neck. And attack it did. It began with a stiffness in my lower back and slowly began working its way down my legs, into my feet, and then up my spine and into my shoulders. It has indeed been one of the strangest things I’ve ever experienced as I’ve been almost totally out of commission for about 3 weeks now. I even gave up my gym membership to my son-in-law and turned my trainer over to another. I spend a majority of my time these days at the chiropractor’s, at Sapp’s Physical Therapy, getting massages, and laying on ice.

But I’ve learned something through all this. Something about the body. You see, in the beginning, only my lower back hurt – my 5th Lumbar to be exact. But through the swelling, it began affecting the part of the body next to it, and so it went, until every part of my body was touched in one way or another by the inflammation of that particular disk. I’m talking toes, fingers, and even my jaws. Not all at one time, just gravitating from place to place.

Paul writes to the Corinthians and tells them that they are the body of Christ – that each one is a part of it, and that if one part suffers, every part suffers (1 Cor. 12:26-27). I’ve always viewed that verse as a “when you hurt, I hurt” kind of thing. But this back ailment has put a little different angle on it for me. I’ve been thinking about attitudes. For example, if I determine to have a bitter attitude or negative emotion, in other words, if I swell up about something, that thing is not safe just with me. It’s going to affect the person next to me. And then it’s going to affect the next person, and the next, until that things travels all throughout the body bringing inflammation.

The irony is that my lower back is almost completely back to normal, but my neck, hands, and even fingers are still feeling the affect of that initial swelling in my lower disk. I may think my attitude – my anger, my bitterness, my self-righteousness, my unwillingness to forgive – might be hurting no one but me, but according to Scripture, every part of the body will suffer. That’s something to think about the next time I get an inkling to "swell up".

Just an ordinary moment…

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