Yesterday I was lying on a bed at my physical therapist’s office. She takes over an hour with me every time I visit. She finds me in the waiting room; she watches me stand; she watches me walk; she leads me to a room, then watches me sit. She asks me how I am — what are my presenting symptoms. She listens. She types what I say on her computer, compiling a record of my health and my progress. As I stand again, she assesses my posture and my spinal alignment. As I lie down, she feels my pulses and checks the position of my joints. For over an hour her hands are on me. She applies pressure to my skull, to my vertebrae, to my ribs, to my organs, to my back, to my hip. And the whole while that her hands are on me, we are talking. We talk about family, about faith, about health, and about the body. We’ve been doing this since November. More than any other practitioner I’ve ever met, this woman knows me.
Since the very first appointment with her, I have felt very comfortable in her presence. I feel like my body is being cared for, and even ministered to, every time I am on that table. What’s more, is that my spirit seems to be ministered to as well. Marcy, when she places her hands on me, says that she is ‘listening’ to my body. I believe, after many hours on that table, that God uses that physical connection to forge a spiritual connection. And through that spiritual connection, He often impresses His truth upon me. I have written about this before (here, here, here). Perhaps because I am still for a complete hour, perhaps because Marcy creates an atmosphere of ‘listening’, or perhaps because I am so open and receptive to the possibility of healing, I receive from Him while I am lying on that table.
Yesterday, less than a week into my experiment of living without NSAIDs, I bundled up and drove thirty minutes across snow-covered roads because I believed that Marcy’s touch would be helpful. I wasn’t wrong.
Somewhere during that hour on the bed, I was sharing with Marcy about some students I had been working with this week, and I heard myself saying, “You know, I feel like I do a lot of complaining about my pain, but the truth is, I wouldn’t have any of the opportunities I have right now, if I wasn’t in this current physical state.” Right at that moment I remembered the words, “my power is made perfect in weakness.” Marcy didn’t say those words. I didn’t say those words. I just remembered them.
Later yesterday, as I was driving home in my car, I remembered those words again, “my power is made perfect in weakness,” and I began to think of my low batt. analogy. I love it when I am fully charged — I feel like I can conquer the world. I charge through life in my power shoes, kicking butts and taking names. In fact, try not to laugh, when I was in my prime, I jokingly told my students to refer to me as “the great and powerful Rathje”. Ok, laugh. We always did.
I don’t love being at low batt. I don’t feel like I can conquer the world. I have to sit down a lot. I move slowly — very slowly this week. I cannot kick any butts or even remember many names. Yet in this posture — this posture of sitting, lying, walking — I am able to see the opportunities that God is placing in front of me. They aren’t glamorous. They aren’t highly visible. But they are life-changing.
This morning, I searched Biblegateway for the verse that had been on my mind all day yesterday. I found it in this context:
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I’ve been praying, pleading with God, way more than “three times,” that He would heal me, but I find myself saying, “Lord, please heal my body, but more importantly, change me. Don’t let me go back to my soldiering ways. I would love to be free of pain, but only if I have fully learned everything that you want to teach me.” The pain sucks, kids. It really does. Especially this week. But living a life that fully relies on me sucks even more.
I’ll be over here on the couch, icing, and being thankful that God’s power is made perfect in my weakness.