Yep – that’s what I have. A pain in the neck.
Oh, not by any fault of my own, I assure you. I am completely innocent of cause to this pain. I am a victim. It’s all the doing of this nasty, unending winter that has accosted us this year with sub zero temperatures and weekly snow and ice storms. I’m just not used to such abuse in South Jersey. It has really tripped me up, you see, so – consequently . . .
I fell. SELAH
In February, as it happened. Gleefully returning home after a blessed two day show of my Cameo Impressions at the local marketplace where I exhibit my handcrafted and vintage wares each month, I was thanking the Lord that the snow and ice showers, active all afternoon, had stopped in time for me to load up and drive home. The roads were clear and I was basking in a successful weekend, thanking God for His multiplied blessings and looking forward to a cozy close of the day with hot soup and husband.
So, you will forgive me if I didn’t notice the black ice that had coated our wooden deck as I stepped onto it with my stylish white boots. Truly – they looked smashing with what I was wearing that day. I’d chosen them in the morning when there was sunshine and not the hint of snow. I didn’t believe the forecast for scattered afternoon sleet showers. The sun was shining and my white boots were the perfect choice for my “look” that day.
They were stylish – but owned not an ounce of traction on the sole. SELAH
A mere six feet from the sliding glass door – time slowed. In a nano-second I was conscious of being in the air – my feet swept up in front, floating in a completely flat position.
Amazing how an instant can be an eternity – or at least feel like it – as my mind was fully aware that I was in the process of falling. Like my life flashing before me – a checklist of rational thought flooded me:
- Relax. Do not fight to break the fall. Go with it or you risk a fractured limb.
- Keep your head up. Don’t let it hit the deck or you risk a concussion.
- Call on Jesus to protect and undergird you.
Spread-eagled in the air, I suddenly saw in my mind that I might look akin to the image of falling backward into the snow to make snow angels – or relaxing one’s body to float on water in the ocean. I even chuckled at the comedy of the pratfall.
Then – I hit the deck!
Largely on the left side of my body – on my bum. My arms and legs were spread out like a star. My head was raised in accordance with #2 above because I had the presence of mind to tighten my neck and shoulder muscles so it would not hit. I was shaken – but not stirred. A sense of peace had engulfed me in the traumatic instant, like an angel swooping beneath me to cushion my fall. SELAH
Collecting myself a second later, I shouted out for my husband to rescue me. In a trice, my knight in shining armor was at my side and helped me into the house to recover. For the next two days, I was sore all over – even after an immediate chiropractic adjustment. The pain abated mid-week, till more soreness set by weekend. Then after seven days – overnight, it seemed – the full body soreness settled thoroughly in the left shoulder and neck region.
My friend – a massage therapist – worked the region for about a fifteen minute chair massage and was aghast at the knot in the muscles there. My tensing of neck and shoulders was a tradeoff. I forfeited a concussion for severe muscle strain. This would take some time to heal. But, her magic fingers gave almost immediate relief, working out the toxins that had been attacking and causing the pain.
For a whole week I was pain free!
I thought I was mended and getting back to normal. But, a week to the day of the chair massage, the pain returned with a vengeance! Unfortunately, my friend was unavailable to me for another few days as I fought the stabs and jabs in my neck and shoulders with salves and heat and rest. Another massage treatment took the edge slightly off, but working for two days in a performance program brought the fullness back.
I was miserable with my pain in the neck. It felt as though someone was sitting on my shoulders digging their foot into the left side of my neck. A monkey on my back causing no end of aggravation.
Pain and misery – whine and moan? To some degree – in my frail humanity – yes.
However, lest you think I am spilling all this out as complaint – I must assure you to the contrary. I only detail this current affliction of mine to make the point – I am no victim and this is no pity-party. It is a real life consequence to my own negligence to take the weather forecast seriously, and dress for fashion rather than truth. I’m eating my just desserts for not wearing traction on my soles or taking care to notice an ice slicked surface when I’m walking on one. SELAH
Working Out the Metaphor
How often do we do this in other aspects of our life? We don’t heed warning signs. We opt out of wise choices for risk. We rewrite the truth of a situation and then wonder why the scene ends up not playing out the way we’d thought – the characters cast played it to its original end rather than our re-fabrication. Painful consequences ensue – and we have yet another choice before us.
Will we learn the lesson? Will we humble ourselves and own our error? Will we allow God to turn tragedy to triumph and fine tune our character so He can add traction to our soul to live with a better grip and stability in this slippery slope of a world?
So, this morning I reflect on a very uncomfortable week:
- The physical exhaustion this pain in the neck causes.
- The backlogged duties staring at me all over my house because I have half the energy or muscle power to attend to them.
- The sudden winces of pain that keep my forehead furrowed – constantly aware that it’s there.
People notice that, you know. Tough to smile through it sometimes. Pain is like that.
But – it is also cleansing, if one allows it to be so. Pain, you see, brings opportunity for healing. And, healing is where God thrives!
- Healing the soul when sin has destroyed it.
- Healing the spirit when angst attacks.
- Healing the heart when offense has happened.
- Healing the body when the rigors of an earthly existence take their toll.
- Healing the mind when confusion of worldviews and perspectives collide.
- Healing intelligence when wisdom is gained at the forfeit of ignorance.
- Healing anger when forgiveness trumps bitterness.
- Healing the prison of the mindless treadmill with the retreating balm of God’s Secret Place, setting the prisoner free.
How many more might you add to this list when your pain in the neck becomes more than you can bear over an extended period of time?
For me, my soul is resolved to shod my feet today with traction! It’s a classic fashion statement, gripping tight to the truth and integrity of God’s Word no matter the weather and consequences thereof. It’s not the weather’s fault. It’s not the ice-slicked deck that is in error. Wrong as it may be – such dangers, toils and snares are a given in a sin-soaked world environment. I know that. I should have taken better care navigating it – preparing for it in advance. I did have warning, you know.
A blessed trial.
Closer my God to me.
Goodness and beauty – this pain in the neck.
So much to be thankful for.
An opportunity to slow . . .
To that end, I am stylishly clad with my soul shod and firmly gripped in the fashionable confidence of God’s goodness towards me in any weather:
All great things are birthed through pain. What wonders of greatness is the Lord birthing in me through this physically painful season? What wonders of greatness is the Lord birthing in YOU in whatever pain you might be enduring at present?
When I survey my years walking with the Lord, I note that I have gained more through loss, prospered more through pain, and grown best via worst. Add to it, that upon reflection, I cannot think of a time, in any inclement weather, when the Lord was not there with angels swooping down to undergird me when I would trip, slip and fall. Never has He failed me – even in the darkest, coldest places.
The ice was a culprit, to be sure – but, I own to have known better walking on treacherous ground. In the instant of my need – God was vigilant to give me the force of mind to know HOW to fall for the least amount of damage. To be sure – I might have sustained far worse injuries than a nagging pain in the neck.
In that light – I am newly energized seeing my plight of pain through the facet of God’s Grace – in my moment of trauma and need – He is there! Surely – I will enjoy this opportunity for God to thrive in healing me for birthing greatness.
And, truly, after these three weeks of pain and discomfort, coming to these conclusions this morning is greatness and growth, indeed – ample proof of Grace – at work in an unconventional place.
Sharing A Pain in the Neck this week with:
Judith at Wholehearted Wednesday
Jennifer Dukes Lee at Tell His Story Link-up
Jenifer at Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesdays
Thought Provoking Thursday at 3D Life Lessons
Laura on Faith Filled Friday at Missional Women
Fellowship Fridays at Christian Mommy Blogger
Still Saturday with Sandra Heska King
Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays