Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Yesterday was absolutely beautiful. It was Labor Day, the last holiday of summer, and for those of us fortunate enough to be off work, the last day to enjoy doing nothing. (Labor Day, do nothing – is that an oxymoron??) My goal was to sit by the pool, soak up some rays, read a book and do nothing else remotely close to the word labor if possible. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but somewhere along the way of my doing nothing, I picked up a tiny splinter in my big toe. I remember thinking, “Ouch, that hurt” for just a minute and then went on doing my... nothing.
Now, here it is, hours later and I can’t sleep because of a throbbing pain in my big toe. I’ve felt all around this little body part and can find… nothing… that could be causing my pain. I’ve tried sticking my foot out of the covers and placing it in front of the open window that is letting a 45 degree breeze blow into the bedroom to cool it off but I can still feel every beat of my heart in my toe.
Have you ever tried to look at the bottom of your big toe? If you haven’t, just give it a try. We see little babies putting their toes in their mouth but, let me tell you, the older you get, the harder it is to get your failing eyesight close enough to the bottom of your toe to see anything. Also, for me there is also a lot more between the eye and the big toe than there used to be. I know I must look really silly in this Houdini contorted position only to find… nothing… there to be causing this pain. I’ve taken tweezers and poked around, scraped around and dug at this calloused appendage of my body and still found… nothing. I would think that I’ve gone mad except for the faint memory in the back of my mind that at one point over the past 24 hours I had an encounter with something that made me think “Ouch, that hurt.”
How many times have we experienced similar moments in our life? We’ve been invaded or even allowed something into our lives that is foreign to what we know to be the acceptable way of doing things. When it first happens our conscience tells us “This is what you should not do so let this be a lesson to you” yet we secretly invite it to come on in. We’re having fun and experiencing life so it’s nothing to worry with. It may be hours, days or even months, but eventually, it starts to affect the way we act and feel. It doesn’t bother us too much though so we continue on as if it isn’t there. Others don’t notice it so it’s no big deal, right? But our body has a natural way of eliminating anything foreign to it through a process called festering. It starts off as an irritation and then becomes red and enflamed. If left long enough, infection sets in and a much larger area of our body is now included and hurting. An area that was once impossible to find is now easily seen, yet still hard to get too. While the location of that intruder has not changed, our motive to remove is has become greater.
The good thing about festering is that, no matter how bad it hurts now, the cause of the problem is much easier to remove. The bad thing about festering is that the innocent area around that point of entry is now hurting too and the healing process for all involved will take time. Now a little healing ointment is needed to cleanse the wound and fight the infection. In most cases the whole body can be restored to the original state as if nothing had ever happened. But often we are left with scars that remind us for years to come of pain from the past.
If I had been wearing shoes my big toe would have been protected and at this very moment I would be sleeping instead of writing this blog but I wanted the freedom of stretching my toes and not being hindered or feeling strapped in. Life Lesson: We are given protection throughout our life. It’s when we want to exist outside those boundaries that Satan finds us vulnerable and an easy prey. He attacks us sometimes through little, unseen objects that easily pierce us only to grow into something that can become damaging to us. But we have a healing salve through Jesus Christ. He wants to cleanse and remove the infection and pain. Sometimes the healing powers of this ointment are new to us having never been called upon before. But many times it was there all along, sitting on the shelf, waiting to be used by us. Why do we wait so long before applying such a miraculous resource? Is it fear of how others will see us, worldly distractions, contentment, or even pride? We should let… nothing… get in our way.