Monday, 9 April 2012

Of Broken Legs, Limps & Such

A couple of years ago one of my brothers came to Europe to visit with me and during his visit he taught me some things I will never forget. One thing he said to me was “your entire world rests on two things, your feet.” We laughed so hard, but you know, he’s right. And each morning he would wake up and massage his feet for 15 minutes. That’s a total of 30 minutes. I have made it to 7.5 minutes per foot, at least three days a week, so I’m doing pretty good and my feet are loving it. J I am grateful for these lessons he taught me. I also give my feet a good salt soak at least once a week. I would like to do that more often too, but for now they are still grateful.

How you take care of your feet says a lot about you, or at least some things about you. One, you care about the seemingly mundane things of life for you realize that life is made up of highs and lows, fast and slows, thens and nows (that one did not rhyme), whens and hows. J Manicures for pretty toes are not the most important aspect of taking care of your feet either because you can walk well without nail polish and fake claws hanging off the ends of your feet. The most important parts of your feet are the parts which support you, keep you standing upright and walking straight. The heel, in-step, sole (you’ve got sole!), the ball of the foot, and yes the toes themselves. I recall years ago one of our Virginia Bishops making a point about how important the least of these i.e. the least of we are in the scheme of things. He talked about the pinky toe, and of course we laughed. At first. He said, if you lose your pinky toe, all is not lost, but however you will have to learn how to walk again, for this toe is a supporter toe. Hmmm. Have you ever tried to walk without your pinky toe? Maybe not, but perhaps you have stumped it against a chair or table as you were walking in the dark and misjudged your distance. I have done that numerous times and my pinky toes have not been the same since. After such incidents I’d always walk with a limp for a while.

They are easy to break and if yours like mine have lost their flexibility it’s probably because in one of those in-the-dark accidents you broke it, and it had to heal on its own into a straight not-bendingable state. J Oh the pain lasted for . . . Anyhoooo, living in this far-away (Shrek)-from-home place where I am and which I now for the moment call “home” I have to walk a lot. No walking from the door to the car and from the car to the door. Nada. No. Nope. It’s walk from the door down the 2-7 flights of stairs (if you have no elevators, and we don’t), walk to the bus stop just to learn your bus won’t come for another 15 minutes and get you to the train station in 10 minutes, which is a total trajectory of 30 minutes for the first leg of your trip. Or you could walk the 7-10 minutes to the other bus stop and hope that the bus does not pass you along the way as you’re trying to get there. So best case scenario is you hope you arrive and the bus comes shortly thereafter between 3-8 minutes, otherwise you could have waited the full 15 minutes at the first bus stop. So continuing with the best case scenario, bus #2 arrives and gets you to the train station in 5 minutes as long as there are no angry passengers causing delays etc. and no accidents along the way. You have to walk down the stairs and through the tunnel and back up the stairs to stand and wait for the train which you hope will come within 15 minutes. In the winter time you don’t want to sit down outside to wait even if there were enough seats for everyone, for it’s just tooooo cold. So you stand and walk around and prance to keep as warm as you may. All on your same too, I mean two feet.

Then the train arrives and depending on the time of day, maybe you will and maybe you won’t get a seat. Hmmm, worst case scenario, you don’t get a seat and at each stop more and more people get on when there’s no space for anyone else to get on and everyone is squeezed against each other rocking and rolling with the moving of the train, stepping on your feet, or worse yet, you’re so off balance that your feet hurt and you can do nothing about it. So the rest of the body hurts too all the way up the calves, the knees, the thighs, the hips, the back, the shoulders, the neck, and finally your head. Just pain. Then you finally arrive and you get off the train, but maybe, just maybe you have to catch another train (or bus) or maybe not. Nevertheless, you still have to walk a few more miles from the train station to your destination, over cobble stones and other uneven pavements which work into the soles of your shoes. You can actually FEEL the earth moving under your feet. Or not. Maybe that was just the pain. LOL! Anyhoooo, I think I’ve drawn a clear enough picture for you to see how important your feet are, and how we tend to expect everything from them, and expect for them to deliver us day in and day out – how maybe we take them for granted; assuming that they will always be there for us. Maybe they will. Hopefully they will, and will be forgiving too.

I’m reminded of some other scenarios this evening in which the feet are indirectly involved but yet are more involved than we may give them credit for. I read about a wrestling match in which one of the guys walked away with a limp. His hip was knocked out of joint and there was nothing he could do about it. He walked with a limp for the rest of his life. When he returned to his family they all knew something was “wrong” because he was now limping, but he wasn’t doing that the day before. What happened to him? He got into a fight. With God. But that’s not all that happened to him. He got his name changed and he got a new destiny too. Yet to remember the incident, he was given the souvenir of a limp. He never walked the same way again on his two feet. But they were there for and with him.

Then my mind wanders out into the fields where the shepherds lay keeping their flocks by night and by day. One of the sheep decides to go astray, out there on the hill where the shepherds lay. J Shepherd Buford Clay from where I could never say, knows he must leave the other sheep black, white and gray, and go search for the little lost sheep on this balmy Monday. He walks long on his feet whistling with the blue jay, how tired he must be he will never say, for he must search and find and with no delay, his one lost sheep on this balmy Monday. Hour after hour passes as the sun descends, when finally he turns round the bend when he can hear just yonder in the thickets, a snap crackle, pop, oh was that a cricket? But no, lo and behold what did his eyes see, stuck in the sticks but his little lost sheep. Sticks and stones had not broken her bones, but something sure did hurt her for she was bleeding and scratched and open wounded. Nevertheless with much care and caress he removed her, and her wounds he lovingly bounded. He took the oil from inside his sack and smoothed it all over her face and back. This made her feel good you can be sure of that, and he hugged her until she completely relaxed. Then he did something to her, yours and my surprise, he broke her legs with tears in His eyes. For He could not afford to lose her again, for this wandering and getting lost little sheep just has to end. She cried and cried for she could not understand, if He loved her so much why would He break her strength. He rubbed her broken legs with oil from His sack, then He wrapped them up in swaddling cloths that, would do the job He needed to be done, to keep little sheep from being able to run. Then He smiled at her ever so gently, so she would know that He still loved her then He, put her up around His neck, where she could always see His face and feel his breath. This is all I have to say about that balmy Mon-day, when sheep got lost ‘cause she went astray: Thank you Good Shepherd for breaking my legs.

Jesus Christ calls Himself the Good Shepherd and He gives His life for the sheep. (John 10:1-18) That would be you and me. Hmmm, the first story is about a man named Jacob who had an encounter with God which left him forever changed. Jacob had a strength that God admired, but also it was his downfall too for he would misuse it to take from others, when he did not have to. And the problem with it is ‘we reap what we sow’. Jacob stole his brother’s birthright by trickery ONE time, but he in turn experienced trickery from his father-in-law ten times related to his job, and one time related to when he was trying to marry the younger sister. So Jacob reaped trickery, but in a larger sum than he had sown. This is one of the main reasons God speaks to us to be careful concerning the deeds we do and the words we say because they are just seeds for sure, but they will give birth to trees one day. Another reason is because it is not His nature, and if we are the sons and daughters of God, emulating our Father, then we cannot be called “liars, cheats, tricksters, and thieves.” So in due time, when God is ready for us to start walking in the direction of our destiny, He will orchestrate a face-to-face encounter with us (for those of us who finally come to the end of ourselves and really want a change in life) where He will “clip” us. God will disable us in our strongest places so we will not continue using our strengths against ourselves thinking we’re really doing something good for ourselves; but when in essence we are our own worst enemies.

And for those of us who have wandering feet, who can’t seem to wait for the Shepherd to lead us to where we need to be so we can be all we can and desire to be (which He put inside of us to be in the first place) He will “break our legs” because a limp is just not enough for us. We need to be broken in those places which cause us to “stray away” to do things our own way. We need to be brought to that place where the only one we can see and hear and depend upon is the Good Shepherd. So He gives us the best seat in the house: He carries us on His shoulders until our legs heal. By that time we will have become so used to being so close to Him we won’t want to ever leave His side again once He puts us down on the ground to walk on our own. Everything we do will be done in and with Him FIRST before we ever do it because we will never trust our own selves again. Jesus said of Himself that He does nothing except what He sees the Father doing. And also that He can do nothing in and of Himself. He can do nothing without the Father. If the Savior of the world had to live this way, what does that say about you and me, if we’re going to fulfill our destiny?

So how do you know if you’re a limper or one whose legs have been broken? Well, you are one who prays to God about everything and then waits for Him to answer, no matter how long it takes. Also, when others ask you about your dreams, goals, projects, when will they happen, when will you complete them, you honestly don’t know, because you realize they come from God and He has to give you the PROvision for the vision He has given you. You may even answer “I don’t know because it’s not mine anyway. It belongs to the Lord. Whenever He allows me to do it, that’s when I will do it.” No matter how impatient you may feel at times, chomping at the bit like a racehorse waiting for the doors to slam open, you always land back at the realization that God’s timing is best and He has everything under control even if He never allows you to see or know what’s going on.

You know that your legs have been broken, or you’ve been clipped by God when everyone around you seems to be going forward and you are going nowhere. At least to the eyes untrained-in-the-heart-of-God you appear to be sitting still. But hay LOL! What do they know? If your legs have been clipped and your hip knocked out of joint, dance as hard and as long as you can because you have had a face-to-face encounter with God and won!! It means He has changed your name (given you back your identity from before you were ever born) and He has awakened in you your destiny so you will realize your purpose on this earth, in this life. “. . . What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed].” I Corinthians 2:9 Amplified Bible. I have an extra crutch if anyone needs one. J