Splat. Contact is made, glass shatters, contents spill over onto freshly mopped floors. One compounding frustration after another and this is the icing on the cake. Boom. Full gallon-sized jar of sauerkraut freshly opened, one month fermenting and hours spent preparing, out of my hands and onto the floor; an incredible mess of a situation right at my feet. Already on edge from a thousand little annoyances that shouldn’t elicit reaction and I feel the energy rise within me; that demon I’ve long stifled gritting its teeth and ready to surface at any moment, a bubbling caldron waiting to erupt. But no, not yet. I’ve conquered you, you ugly fiend called anger. I’ve better ways to deal with this string of irritations.
I lace up my shoes, layer up, and lock the door behind me. A walk won’t do tonight. I have energy I need to release. So I make for the forest and run. Or more like try to run. Thing is, I haven’t been able to run for the past two and a half edging on three years due to multiple Lyme-induced limitations: a coinfection called Bartonella which causes plantar fasciatis type symptoms and damage, past knee injuries, that constant pain and a spine which is more brittle than sound, not to mention chronic fatigue which makes it feel like you’re wearing a suit of armor 10 sizes too large. But tonight, I put all that aside and resort to what in the past had always been my first route of release. I’m breathing harder than I should, and yet not ready to relent. I stop dead in my tracks, bent over, redoubling now. Perfect silence and stillness surround me. This is where everything is made better, where my world is turned right side up once again. In the stillness of the forest floor and smell of pine underneath my nostrils. This is where I feel I belong, where God must have hewn me before my time began.
I start up once again and I feel the endorphins rush in, remembering what it was like to be the master of my body, the outer display of my inner fortitude. There’s still pride in me, this I know. I’m still flesh, and often swayed by my primitive nature. It rises up and roars from within. The music reaches crescendo and I pick up my tempo, or at least try to. A physical act in an effort to give Lyme the middle finger. I voice it in my head, there again fighting the urges of my flesh nature.
But just as I think I have the upper hand, this shifty disease is putting me in my place by mile 1. “Ok, ok, you win–but just this battle.” I know my limits. Even in my pride, I know when to fight and when to surrender. I’ve learned this much through sickness.
So I am content to walk when I want to run.
So I am willing to wave the white flag with my held still held high. To wring out the towel when I want to rip it to shreds. To mop up the mess and start over when I’d rather pick up the pieces. Sometimes a breaking is necessary. Sometimes things have to shatter into a million pieces to get us to leave what’s best left unmended alone. To start anew even when we wish we could just paste those little bits of shard and glass back into what we prior beheld. But sometimes that’s not the plan that God has in mind, and even though what was lost might have been something good and seemingly worthy of saving, what can be remade might be even better. The rub is, you just have to try. So try I might. Tomorrow is a new day, and I can start afresh. I can knead my hands once again into that salty mixture and make something better. I can allow my life to splatter every once in awhile knowing that God is revealing the parts of me best swept away, these little bits and pieces that are still too much of me and less of Him. I can allow this process, though laborious and frustrating at times, because it’s part of my growth and sanctification. Part of what will rebuild me into better. So I rebuild and remake and next time will know which ingredients to include and which to leave out, which things to handle with care, and which things to let God take control of; to let Him do the mending, the breaking, and the putting back together if necessary. To know that what the world calls failure is not always defeat. He breaks to bless, tears down to remake, and shines His light to reveal and restore. This is what my Maker does and what He’s doing with me, even in the smallest things. Even in the shattered pieces of my life.