Friday, April 15, 2011

Rocks in my Shoe

I fell in love in 1989...with the show Doogie Howser, MD. 

While I loved the idea of a child genius doctor living in an adult world, what I really fell in love with was (cue music) "the wrap up". 

Whatever challenging obstacles, unresolved antics, or ridiculous twists that TV life threw Doogie's way, I always knew that in 28 minutes, the music would cue...he'd sit down at his computer...and begin 'the wrap up'. With each reflective word, he'd bring closure and rest to the chaos of his life, and end with whatever life lessons he learned through it. 

How quickly I learned that in life, more often than not, there is no wrap up.

No one is following me (or you) around with a boom box, cued and ready to go with such the perfect melody that would cause you to look longingly out of a window, while you smile to yourself, realizing whatever you had just gone through was worth the lesson. 

I learned that closure doesn't always happen 28 minutes into life throwing it's curve balls. 

Oh, how I wish it were so, at times. 

Sometimes life's lessons are so unclear, that it will take a lifetime to ponder the "why's?". 

Why hard things happen?
Why there is suffering in the world?
Why we have to go through painful things in life?

Yesterday, I ran 9 miles. With the exception of about 8 minutes in the middle, all in all, it was about 2 hours of pain. 

During the run, I almost got hit by a car once, spit on myself twice and my podcast froze, forcing me to look longingly out the proverbial window of life as I ran and began to ponder these 'why's'.

And then I got a rock in my shoe.

It happened around mile 4. It was so irritating I had to stop and take it out. What I thought had to be the size of a marble was only the size of a little candy Nerd. 

"There", I thought, "much better."

I continued on running, thinking, praying, and trying to 'push past the pain'.

Between mile 7 and 8 I got another rock in my shoe. 

It was just as irritating, but for some reason I decided not to stop and take it out.

Not because I didn't want to lose time on my impressive (read: sarcasm) pace.
Not because I didn't want to slow my running partner, Noemi, down.
Not even because I was 'in the zone' and could no longer feel the rock.

But, because, when I noticed the rock, I had been praying. 

Praying for a friend who is battling cancer. 
Praying for my very close uncle who is in the hospital. 
Praying for a young friend who was recently widowed.
Praying for the pain of poverty so many of my City College students are coming from. 
Praying for the poverty of my own soul.

Though I felt the pain of the rock in my shoe, I was also aware of the pain in the rest of my body. 

Running is painful. Taking the rock out would alleviate a little bit of the pain, but it's not like it would transform my body to feel though it were floating from cloud to cloud in a ethereal, angelic state. 

Nope. Running would still be painful. Hard. Frustrating. Exhausting.

There is nothing I can do, short of changing the laws of gravity, to make running any less painful. I can only become stronger. 

If the biggest pain in my life right now is a little rock in my shoe, I'm okay with that. 

I realized that mine was the least of battles being fought on this day. I let that pain fuel my prayers. 

I used that rock to remind me that in this season of my life, the best thing I can do is not numb myself to the pain around me. Not escape it with another episode of 30 Rock. Not wish it away with 'happy thoughts' or positive thinking. 

The best thing I can do, right now, is to bring these rocks of life, to the foot of the cross. So I do.  

And as I do, I notice that there, at the foot of the cross, are drips of blood. Jesus' blood. Drips of His passion. His suffering. 

Running with my eyes glued to the ground, I emotionally kneel before Jesus. Humbled, desperate, with a lump in my throat. Afraid that if I sat still long enough to wonder where He is in all this pain and suffering around me, I might find out He isn't there. 

Before I fall into that rabbit hole of hopelessness, something compels me to look up.

That's when I see...that Jesus is here. In the pain. In the suffering. On the cross. 

That HE, of all, can relate. 

And with that, I spend the last mile and a half, praying for my friends and family. Praying for hope and miracles. Praying for peace. Thanking Him for this season of intercession, for the ability to feel the wind on my face as I run, for the rocks in my shoe (and my life), and the tears they cause.

For, these tears teach me more than any television show wrap up can.


Teri said...

"In life, more often than not, there is no wrap-up." And "Praying for the poverty of my own soul." And "HE, of all, can relate." -- I loved all these lines, even though I choked up reading each of them. Thanks for your comment on my blog, and especially for your prayers. I will pray for the intentions you mentioned above: your uncle, your friend, the students... and I know we're praying for the same friend with cancer.
Layla, I'm praising God for the wonderful heart God has given you. For that rock in your shoe and the saintly way you dealt with it. And that you write, because I LOVE reading your blog.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully Written! Thanks for praying for my Dad. Love you Layla, you are a worderful person.


Suzy said...

Beautifully written. Love ya,and remember you are prayed for as well.

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