After my hospital stay, when I was recovering, my doctor prescribed some physical therapy for me. Mind you, physical therapy was a big part of my life . . . twenty years ago. I remember doing exciting and strenuous exercises like sitting up and balancing on a giant rubber ball and blowing cotton balls around a tabletop with a straw. But most of all I remember the stretches: stretching knees, ankles, and hips, mostly, and the amazing goniometer that would measure how far I could extend these joints. The PT would stretch my leg out as far as possible before I would wince or whine, and then just hold it there for a minute until the muscles behind my knees loosened up. I hated physical therapy. What would it look like now?
I had a really positive PT experience this month, and I learned some things that have helped me understand how muscles and neurons in my weak and messed up body works. Today, I was sitting in Kevan's room, going through my exercise routine, which is more just a stretching routine... which I realized is actually more of a "holding pattern" routine. This is how it works: I stretch my neck to one side and hold it for thirty seconds, then stretch to the other side and hold for thirty seconds, then repeat several more times. Then I wrap a big rubber band around something solid and pull it back toward me, and hold for a few seconds. Then I wrap it around the back of my neck and pull it down toward my lap, and... hold...
Notice a pattern? Well I did. A lot of holding... tension in waiting. This is apparently how muscles are built, strength is built. And this week in my spiritual life I feel it is true too. I've felt some tension as I wait on the Lord to see what he will do. Hanging on, keeping a grip on things, and waiting can be difficult, even painful, and it is. But as I pull and stretch and hang out in uncomfortable positions and circumstances, I'm wondering what is happening to the muscles of my soul and spirit in the mean time. Are they building up and getting stronger? The more I stretch and work out my faith, and the more I maintain my focus on what is true in the midst of trials, the more I feel the ache in places that haven't been challenged in a while, muscles that I've taken for granted and not really tested lately. But also, the more I learn and grow, and the more I feel like God is strengthening and preparing me for the next step in my journey with him, whatever that is.
Once again, God is using my weakness to make me more aware of his presence and more dependent on his strength.