Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 226 Stretching for Gain on the Pilgrim Road

Dear friends,

This is Sweet Sandy, Stephen's occupational therapist. She has been working with him since January, and gets all sorts of gold stars for the range of motion Smitty has in his right arm. If you recall, I describe her as "a pit bull with a smile". She is one of the dearest, most pleasant folks you will ever meet, but watch out if you are a stuck shoulder or a stiff elbow. She works those bad boys for all they're worth. Sandy has been a gift from God, committed to Stephen's best, pushing him a little further all the time. She only applies pressure for the purpose of gain. Do you feel an analogy coming on?....

I was on The Rabbit Room website today, and one of the contributors was writing about the value of resistance in the life of the spirit. Hard places, tight places, difficult places are the laboratories of faith building. The blogger points out that when a parent keeps his child from all discipline and trouble, he grows up to be weak and unprepared. It's the same in the spiritual life. Without the trials and troubles on the pilgrim road our walk with God can get mushy, lacking purpose and meat. No one has to look for problems. They come with being alive. But when they come, it's no good to run and hide (I've done that), and it's no good to trade one trouble for another with some addiction (I've done that too). The thing is to hit the trial head on, (yikes!), not to try to go around the mountain, but to finally face it and do the hard work of going over. Here's the thing: God only applies the pressure for the purpose of gain. He's not in the business of torturing those He loves. God forbid we should even think such a thing of such a gracious Father. No, He's like Sandy, right there with us, monitoring how much we can take for the greatest value to our soul. Our problem is perspective. "Now, we see through a glass darkly. Then we shall see face to face. Now we know in part. Then we shall know fully, even as we are fully known."

Smitty has been using this cool stretchy stuff (I'm sure it has a real name) on his elbow scar, and it really has helped it fade! He still looks like a He-man, but with a little less He. Don't worry, the skin graft makes up for any lost ugliness on the arm. These Sunnyview folks have tricks up all their therapeutic sleeves. That hospital is some place of life! I'll ever be grateful for the people there who were with us in some of our darkest hours.

I'll have to roll out the big hello with photos of our new feline family member tomorrow. Tonite she's too busy hiding behind the pillows, and I don't want to freak the little darling out any more than she already is. But wait til you see her. Kittens. They can't be anything but cute. Unlike skin grafts.

If you are being stretched, well, I wish you weren't. But I'm not in charge of the Universe (for which you are grateful), and only the Great One knows your ultimate best. I still wish you weren't. But the One doing the stretching is even kinder than Sandy. And that's saying alot!

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


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