I didn't get it. I really didn't. I mean it hurt. It really hurt. And I'm no baby, my friend. I can take pain. Ever have your grandmother set you up on a blind date? No? I have. That's blunt trauma, and I'm a survivor.
But this pain, this was different. It was perpetual, enigmatic, and enjoyed traveling about my body, hitching a ride here, taking a drive there, seeing the sights, snapping pictures. A total tourist pain, completely not at home inside me.
After a few weeks I started getting irritable. After a few months I started getting depressed.
I had thrown my back out. Yep, I did. Here's the warning that should be placed on all clandestine boxes, "Picking up and carrying on one's hip could cause disk misplacement and months of whining that even your mother won't want to hear. Check with your physician before lifting any and all boxes."
My chiropractor and I got very close. Although I'll admit, not meaning to be unfaithful, I had a love affair with the roller bed.
You'd think I could have a good sense of humor about such things. And I did. For a solid 20 minutes, I laughed this pain off. Then I started getting testy. And more so, scared.
What I didn't understand, what confounded me time and time again, was the fact God was simply not answering my prayer. No divine communicado. What good could possible come of this? Of all the things in my life swirling down the toilet, was this REALLY what I needed right now?
I could answer that. No. No, it was not. What I needed was to miraculously and spontaneously lose 12 percent more body fat, get a rebate check from my credit card for $15,000, open my front door to find a Cary Grant look-a-like lost and lonely.
This made no sense. None. And I was sick of it.
I HAD been in some of the best shape of my adult life. I had been pushing myself, working out hard, lifting weights, building my strength, pushing myself beyond what I thought possible. It felt good. Too good. So I kept at it. And at it. And at it. My usually three day/one-hour workout turned into six day/two-hour workout. And I wanted more. It made me feel powerful, in control, like I was the one piloting this life. The constant soreness was just weakness leaving my body (who ever made that stupid statement anyway?). And my constant exhaustion was simply lack of sleep. Nothing more. So I kept right on pushing.
Then, on a day I can only remember as rainy, it all stopped. Just like that. No more sweat. No more weights. No more control. I was injured and it wasn't healing.
So time went on. I slept with a pillow between my knees. I went to my chiropractor. I did my stretches. I waited and watched and held my breath hoping for improvement. Then I passed out because you should never hold your breath that long. Eventually, ever so tediously slow, the pain began to subside, I walked normally, I moved freely, and I still slept with a pillow between my knees.
I gave up understanding. God wasn't going to explain this. It was going down in my history book as one of those great question marks I'm suppose to remember post death to ask, though I know I won't. It had been completely pointless. Just bad luck. Just bad karma. Just life.
Months later, sitting in my doctor's office (it hasn't been a steller year), we reviewed the results of some tests I'd taken. I had some problems but nothing that couldn't be reversed with more sleep, supplements, and a whole-foods diet. Thankfully. However, BIG however, I was on the edge, just tittering on the brink of plunging further beyond the line of easy reversal. I was at that point someone named No Return.
And then my doctor said something rather profound, "Good thing your back went out."
Huh? Good thing? It's not like it just "went out" for dinner, "went out" for a smoke, "went out" with Cindy my hairstylist, it w-e-n-t o-u-t, as in, not in. "What do you mean?" I asked.
"Well, had you continued pushing yourself like you were, you'd be in a much worse situation than you are now. It's really a blessing you were forced to quit. Otherwise, you'd be pretty sick right now."
Oh, I thought. 'Oh,' I formed with my mouth. "Oh," I finally said out loud.
Who'd uh thunk it. The pain had a purpose afterall.
I sat across from my mother recently while she received some bad news. After months and months of praying, after disappointment upon disappointment, here she was to be disappointed again. I could see it on her face. Why? She was asking. And I couldn't help but think of my pain.
"Mom, we don't always know the reason for these trials. That doesn't mean there isn't one. We have to trust God knows what He's doing. We just have to trust...God."
I'm still doing my stretches, still seeing my chiropractor. The pain is minimal, though not gone. And there's just enough of a reminder to keep me from picking up any boxes. I don't understand everything in my life. In fact, I have a hard time understanding my cell bill. The mysteries of the world are certainly not frightened of me.
But perhaps that's the adventure. That's the thrill. The not knowing. That's part of what makes life so confounding, intriguing, irrational, yet fascinating. We don't know. We can't. But we've been invited to know Someone who does.