I have been stuffing that old nasty rag in my mouth lately…
Ya know the one?
The one that is drenched in the toxic waste of discouragement and defeat, hopelessness, and frustration.
It tastes awful.
I hate when things don’t go my way.
But life is a lot about things that simply don’t go our way.
Dreams dying. Finances flailing. Relationships breaking. Health plummeting. Careers crashing. Marriages crumbling. Situations swirling all around us, swooping in for the kill…
Pick your poison.
Life doesn’t go our way- often.
So that old rag…
It’s soiled in the weight of life’s disappointments and oh, how they smell of rotting despair. That rancid rag can choke us if we choose to shove it further down so deep it reaches and takes hold of our hearts. It can suffocate the very life out of us if we let it.
I can thankfully still breathe, but I am chewing on some mighty tarnished threads these days.
So while gnawing ferociously on one giant bite of this rag, I head off to get an MRI on my ankle. I sprained it earlier this summer, and it never healed. How do you ask?
While visiting my sister’s beautiful home, we played a good ol’ game of t-ball out on her front lawn. It was the perfect summer day for a game and the perfect players chosen for such a thing… us and our kids. I carefully plotted around all the divots in the yard using an assortment of orange cones so I wouldn’t sprain my ankle and as I was running into first base off a great hit (I can’t really remember the hit, but I need some kind of redeeming grace here) my foot caught one of the undetected divots and I went down.
Well played, irony.
So, after months of sharp pains, pulsating aches, and lingering pinches I finally went to the doctor who wanted to assess the damage, hence the MRI.
While driving to this inconvenient and irritating medical appointment, that would incur an expense we didn’t have the funds to pay, I was officially gagging on that rag after receiving more really bad news.
Getting comfy on the cold, hard, unforgiving MRI bed, I put my headphones on to listen to my chosen playlist they nicely offered me to drown out the blasting sound and distract me from the discomfort of this entire situation.
I chose Worship Music, thinking Lord knows I need it.
And as the thundering assault of drums began and the waves of reverberation startled my heavy heart, something entirely profound gripped my rag and tore it out- leaving me to gasp and inhale freshly formed air…
My mind flashed through the last MRI I had, the one checking for cancer. Then came the flood of thoughts of people I know and the ones I don’t, who have been beaten and buried by the monster. I flashed through so many more poor souls who endure the grueling onslaught of treatments and pain and countless MRIs listening to these bombs go off as they lay still wondering what the images will find. I thought of the countless sick children, who must be terrified of this experience in a world where they never have a choice.
And then the praise and worship music started, with the rhythmic pulsating beats going off competing for my ears, barely allowing the song to be heard.
But I listened. Carefully. Intently.
Something awoke in me.
And my eyes began to water.
And I knew.
It’s a gift.
Even the bad parts. The things that don’t go our way.
If we are here, even sucking on bitter sour rags- Moaning and groaning about our circumstances and our pain…
We are indeed blessed.
Living through all the low-lying valleys and the highest mountaintops, and each climb or fall in between.
Cherish it all. This life is to be savored.
Even the crappy parts that leave us choking on our dirty rags.