I am reminded these days of how much I take for granted.
I am reminded, when I wake in the morning, to stop and savor that first full, deep, expansive breath, perhaps accompanied by a slight coolness if drawn quickly enough. To enjoy the stretch of one’s chest, bowing out as the lungs coax the ribs’ widening. Or the ability to interact freely with one’s environment—stooping to examine the low, craning to view the obscured, straining to grasp the out-of-reach. These simple joys may differ from person to person, and are so numerous that it is difficult to maintain awareness amidst the blur of the day; at best, when my senses are most attuned, I am sure I recall only a fraction of them.
Recently, the summation of some two months of radiating nerve pain (properly: radiculopathy) arrived in a diagnosis of a herniated disc in my lower back. After some weeks of physical therapy, I’ve finally started to return to normalcy.
When we experience a bad cut, deep bruise, or any of the wounds that we can actually watch as they heal—the cut coagulating and sealing itself, the bruise darkening, yellowing, shrinking—its easy to become used to the rapidity and visibility of those processes. But in those injuries that manifest themselves internally, those that slowly creep upon a person until some (or several) aspect(s) of their lifestyle must be discarded or rearranged, patience and resolve become far less attainable. Such has been the case for me, but despite the despair that occasionally worms into my consciousness, these months of slight suffering have invited me to consider, for the first real time in my life, how extraordinary God’s construction of our flesh really is.
Consider the staggering number of provisions with which our Lord outfitted our bodies for healing. The fact that our physical existences can be so compromised and eventually return to a state of equilibrium is astounding, especially considering how highly we regard medical professionals today. Now, in no way do I mean to discount or critique modern medicine. Instead, I seek only to marvel anew at our regenerative capability, which, in all its intricacy, is but a grain of sand in comparison to the other infinite traits of our Creator.
Certainly, there are those maladies from which such recovery is not possible. Romans 6:23 reminds us that “the wages of sin is death,” and with sin an inescapable reality while on this Earth, we all meet an end eventually. We are, being time-bound for the present, destined to wither away in some respect until a timeless kingdom becomes our eternal inheritance. While we Christians look forward to that ultimate gift of our spiritual bodies, I think it’s still important to value the less grand but still significant gift of our mortal selves. There are those whose human ‘walk’ is not a walk at all, but a limp, a crawl, or even a life of immobility. Rejoice in knowing that one day, God’s children will be freed from those hindrances, and be thankful for the moments you live without them. Perhaps the silver lining of what I’ve experienced is that each time I enjoy a run through a park, an afternoon on a tennis court, or a swim in a lake, I will enjoy it in a way that might have remained unavailable to me, had I not sustained this injury. I hope that these words, in part, make that kind of joy available (or nearer to available) for you.
B. L. Homuth
Lying on my couch, in the dawn of a muggy morning
August 4, 2014
Oil on Canvas - 1900