Thank you for your patience as I catch up with myself! I’ve been gone for two weeks and I feel a little bit like one of those kid toys where the body tips over and the round bottom part rolls to catch up and keep balance. My legs (and email responses) are catching up with my brain as I return. Also, don’t be surprised if I use metaphors related to child’s play a lot in the days to come – I spent a week of vacation playing with a sweet toddler, my nephew Tom, whom many of you met at MPC@Tahoe last summer. He’s grown up a lot since then, and has learned a lot of new things.
Here’s a metaphor for you: a toddler generally has an uncanny ability to locate the ONE thing they are not allowed to do, and to fixate on wanting to do that. Tom saw me cooking on a very hot stove and was close to inconsolable with the desire to do THAT (no, not anything else, but exactly THAT). Both his aunties rushed to offer him a range of safer activities, and eventually he settled into ripping leaves of kale for a salad, but his desire to do the one thing we forbade was keen.
I’ll take that metaphor and expand it to myself. I have an injury right now. It’s golfer’s elbow, despite never having golfed. And if you’ve ever injured an elbow you know that these small parts of our bodies are very important… there are so many things I cannot do. Biking, rock climbing, quilting, and playing mandolin are all out. There are so many things I can do, though! I can walk, run, drive, and dance. I can snuggle a small-enough baby on my other arm (my niece not being 2 months old yet) and I can sling a good-sized toddler onto my hip one-handed. I can cook, sing, read stories, putter in the garden, and go hiking. Yet I literally found myself bemoaning the fact that I cannot golf! I was at table, yesterday at the Presbytery meeting, with pastors who golf, and I found myself feeling a little pouty because I couldn’t even angle for a golfing invitation with these cool people. In a flash I was able to see myself like Tom, keenly desiring the hot stove, the one thing we forbade him to touch.
If you ever find yourself in a situation like me, I commend to you the power of prayer. No, not the power of prayer to snappily heal my tendonitis overnight, but the power of prayer to create perspective by practicing gratitude. My prayer book asks me to thank God for “people who may have helped us” and “the miracle of being alive,” not to mention the food and drink and shelter I have, and the 99% of my body that is perfectly healthy. I thank God for the time and ability to visit my family, for the people I love, and for the leaves of kale I can rip and eat. And when I pray this way, I feel better. I pray that you may also have the ability to experience the healing power of gratitude.
PS – While my elbow convalesces, I’d like to take a play out of Rev. Melinda’s book, and offer “walking office hours.” I need to walk more, to stay in shape while I can’t bike! So, make an appointment or just drop by (mornings are generally best for drop-ins), and you and I can do a walk-and-talk meeting. Thanks!