I was in the grocery store carefully picking through packs of organic chicken legs. They were buy one get one free which made buying chicken that day a little like playing a card game such as Go Fish or Memory. It’s important to find a price match or it isn’t really a win. Wilson Phillips was singing Hold On (For One More Day) somewhere in the background completely oblivious to poultry-buying strategy. My brain was maxed out from using math and matching skills simultaneously, so I wasn’t paying attention to the lyrics of their song.
Then I heard the line, “Or are you comfortable with the pain?” I froze much like the shrink-wrapped chicken I was cataloging. I looked around trying to understand why this moment suddenly felt less mundane. Why a line from a song I have heard countless times stood out as significant.
Had I, the girl who carries a small pharmacy in my purse, somehow become comfortable with pain? It seemed like such a ridiculous notion amidst the Band-Aids, antibiotic ointment, and pain analgesics that I carry in bulk like a Red Cross volunteer ready for war. Of course, everyone experiences physical and emotional pain on occasion but accepting it as the norm seems as defeatist as throwing your hand in Go Fish or not taking the free chicken in the buy one get one deal. Who does that? Read more
I ran into a tree –with my face. When I mentioned this to my mother, she assumed it was with my car and I spent some time pondering whether that indicated she gave me too much credit or not enough.
I was walking down the sidewalk looking left because even though I’ve been told my entire life to watch where I am going, it seems as if all the interesting things are either to the left or right. To my left, a woman clothed in pajamas was begging a tow truck driver to remove the boot from her car. I was immersed in their interaction when the tree attacked me. The assault wasn’t like the one in the Poltergeist movie where the tree wrapped people in its python-like branches. It was a knock in the face so hard that my earring popped out and I had to sit on the sidewalk for a minute and say bad words while trying not to cry. Not sure which kind of tree attack is worse.
I have small cuts on my jaw and ear that can easily be covered with makeup and hair. It annoys me that they look so minor when hours later I can still feel the throb from the jarring hit. It seems like I should have an imprint of bark on my face or a dangling ear, but sadly, I look relatively normal. It made me think about the wounds we carry and how the ones that hurt the most are often unseen. This pulsating pain walks with us no matter which direction we are headed. Few know the extent of our injuries and sometimes we too ignore the ache of our wounds. We try to be tough. We try to move on. We think the heart heals as intuitively as our bodies do from injury or sickness. We assume healing will just happen without acknowledgment or effort the way bruises fade from darkness into nothingness. Yet our hearts were not made for darkness and nothingness. They were made for love and the consequences of that ability to stretch and surmount and pour out and let in — is a vulnerability to being hurt. Jesus knew this. He loved unequivocally and it motivated his willingness to suffer for us so that we could also know great love.