Each year at the beginning of summer, I begin my search for fall footwear. When I do, I find that the stores are aggressively trying to offload the previous years' fall line, and the items are presented to me (the consumer) at deeply discounted prices.
This year I struck gold. For the longest time, I'd been wanting a pair of calf-high-black-leather Chucks. Macy's had one pair left. Just my size. 70 percent off.
The footwear-gods had smiled on me and I received of their bounty.
For the remainder of the summer I anticipated the fall, looking forward to wearing my new shoes, walking down Madison Avenue to work, the envy of all size 11's who would pass my by.
Fall finally arrived- I put the shoes on- and I walked out the door. Glorious!
After walking about a mile, a searing pain began to grip the backs of my ankles. The shoes were so stiff that they were cutting into my ankles. I tried to keep up the facade, but eventually I began to limp, defeated, descending into the subway to take the train the rest of the way to work.
Putting on brand new shoes to walk such a long distance was clearly a mistake. My excitement had gotten the best of me. Though the shoes looked great on the outside, they were actually very painful to wear.
(insert two weeks here).
I kept getting up each morning, putting on the shoes and walking a little further each day. The pain was still there each day, but it became considerably less as each day passed. I'm not sure if my ankles were becoming calloused or the shoes were getting more broken-in. It didn't really matter, I suppose. The pain subsided through the process of time, the acceptance of reality, and perseverance.
The shoes are (now) wonderful, as I'd originally hoped for them to be - comfortable as any pair I've ever owned- but there were pains that needed dealt with first. If I'd have just stopped wearing them because of the pain, I'd have never gotten what I really wanted.
MIRACLES IN PROCESS
The human race has long had a fascination with miracles. In every culture, we find human beings seeking healing from the divine. It's interesting to me what causes us to want such things. Sometimes it is fear masking itself as faith. Other times it's selfishness masking itself as charity. And yes, there are still those rare, strange occurrences that are impossible to understand, where someone is a recipient of the truly miraculous.
I've always secretly wished to be one of those recipients, but alas, I have never been.
Miracles, at least for me, have only ever come through my dealings with pain. Pain comes, and I writhe and complain and ask, "Why God? Why?" and I receive no answer. I get up the next day and go through it all over again. Sometimes this goes on for months. Other times it goes on for years.
When I look back at these times of affliction in my life, I do see a miracle, but it never comes about as I want it to. It comes about as I need it to.
- Begging God to heal slipped discs in my back- through time, and terrible pain, are healed daily, as I've learned to ask people in my life for help in lifting things (both physical and emotional).
- Migraines subsided when I went through the pain of eating properly and resting properly- things I thought of as a trivial nuisance at the time.
- High blood pressure, with which I'm learning that God is healing me with steady internal "reminders" to be aware of my thoughts, and to be more disciplined with them when they cross the boundary into "stress inducing."
I've never had an angelic visitation. I've never been enveloped by a spiritual cloud. No- healing has always come to me through defeat, surrender, character development, and being open to the process that God is orchestrating around me and within me.
BACK TO THE CHUCKS
So what do we do when we are just going about our lives, pursuing the the things that we want, only to find that they are causing us terrible pain?
We commit to the long walk. We ask God to guide the walk. We ask for courage to persevere, and to be willing to "own" temporary defeat for infinite self-realization.
We get up each day. We keep walking, and we allow God to be in charge of the destination.
The destination isn't usually where we were thinking it would be, but once we arrive, we find that what we were seeking at the beginning of the walk has (strangely) become a reality.