There is no way around it, really. Either way, it's going to hurt! The only way forward is "into" pain. And, I don't know about you, but I don't particularly like pain...
In fact, I have perfected a few successful techniques in avoiding pain. I use those avoidance-strategies (i.e. Tylenol, a good book, sleep, a television show, a game, food,...etc.), for better or for worse, on a regular basis.
I find myself stuck at a crossroads or on a plank... and there is no way forward except through pain. And, this, in-and-of-itself ... is painful.
Choosing suffering is never easy, even if it can't be avoided.
...to walk off that plank, or into that lion's den...
I have a disease that has plagued my body since I can remember. Most of my early pre-teen memories include the distress of this disease... both in body and in mind. The disease I have is not life-threatening, in any way. For that, I am deeply thankful. But, the pain of this particular disease can be significantly debilitating and it doesn't have a cure. And, well, to put it plainly... that stinks!!
There is no way around it... it just stinks!!
In our house, we "fondly" (or not so fondly) refer to this disease as "Mamma's Mommy Pain". And, no one in the house wants to hear that Mamma is feelin' her Mommy Pain!
The nature of the disease is one in which... basically, I have an operation and the pain goes away (or at least in part) for a few years. And, then gradually it comes back... slowly at first and then like a tsunami it hits. This past year the waves, in size and frequency, have increased. Last month, I got knocked down more than once. So, "it's back".
In short, I find myself looking ahead at two roads, there is no way around it... pain road #1 (live with it as the waters of pain arise) and pain road #2 (surgery, AGAIN... which will definitely help, but not cure. And, is never fun and never easy).
My Father and I have had numerous conversations about this lately. This time around, I feel I have done a better job of lamenting, in worship, through the "why, Lord" emotional experience of it all. I thank God for preparing my heart through my current reading of Michael Card's, Sacred Sorrow.
I have just felt sad. Sad that I have this. And, fed-up... Done. Enough, already!? There has been some good lament going on in my soul. I am deeply thankful that my Heavenly Father is perfectly okay with lamentation!
Sunday, in the midst of silence and solitude, ...in the middle of an empty-heart-moment ... God, my Father, showed up like Light through His word to this tired heart.
I read these words: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:2
And, tonight, as I sit here unable to sleep and writing a blog post at 4 AM... I am reminded of the words that precede those sweet words. "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine." Isaiah 43:1
My kind, loving Father seems to be speaking Presence into my heart. And, Ownership. Something a bit like, "You belong to Me!" and "I will be with you".
Is this a taste of what Jesus might have been experiencing when it says, "For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross". I don't know. It doesn't answer the pain or solve the disease... but it does make the journey toward pain, the pathway to pain, a bit less daunting. More than that, it makes it bearable.
This pathway to pain, or through pain, is with him by me. In me. Over me.
So, onto the plank or turning back to the pirates... at least, I know that I don't walk alone.