Today between jobs I decided to take a moment to think. I regret doing so.
You see, someone had suggested that this is – as Paul put it- the thorn in my side. I take exception to that. As a matter of fact I call it bullshit. I know- not super Christian of me… but it’s not like it’s just something that bothers me. It’s something that is consuming me. God doesn’t want me all wrapped up in sin… I can understand a little struggle… but dude… really? Fine, I’ll explore this thorn business… if this is a thorn… wait… not digging the terminology. If this is a SPEAR in my side, then it hit some internal organs, there’s bleeding… There’s pain- pain that isn’t even localized. It’s mind numbing pain. It’s the kind of pain that affects your hearing. It’s the kind of injury that sends you into shock. If THAT is what he meant by a thorn in his side… then sure. This is my freaking thorn.
Maybe it’s the mechanic/fixer in me… but if I have a thorn/spear/log/sliver whatever in me… I’m gonna dig it out. I’m willing to take some extreme extraction measures. This actually reminds me of a sermon Kati gave back in February. She talked about Aaron Ralston cutting off his arm when he was pinned by a boulder and the hand was dying. I can see myself in that position- pinned and dying. The question I have though, is what do I cut off? I can’t cut off my side- I mean… that’s where life happens. If this truly is the “thorn in my side”… that means that it’s in my core. It is who I am. I am pinned and dying. Does that mean that all I have to look forward to is pain and eventual death?
Yup, that’s what I thought about between shifts. So I was wicked depressed all day. I felt defeated. I thought that the battle won- that there was no longer a point to fighting because it didn’t matter, death is inevitable. This evening though, when I had some time to really sit and be alone with my thoughts I went back to my initial assessment – NO! I don’t believe this is a thorn in my side. That’s bogus. I cannot imagine God stroking His goatee (cuz clearly He has facial hair) and thinking “Hmmm… let’s give Marissa an unbeatable sin as her thorn- she’ll wind up miserable and defeated- such an excellent ambassador for my Kingdom”. Seriously… I mean, I understand that there are things that we may not get and will have to deal with… fine… but I can’t see this as one of those. Maybe that’s wishful thinking… but if I don’t have that… then all I’ve got is death. So… I’m choosing hope for once.
Going back to the idea of cutting off the dying limb – I do believe that there’s something I’ll have to cut off. I don’t know what that is yet, but I trust God will show me what it is and how to do it when the time comes. I know that it will be painful, possibly disfiguring, and more than likely, cause a handicap in someway (ie: missing arm). I’m willing though to take that risk, because without it, I’m going to die anyway. This is the call to action I heard so many months ago. I took a few steps towards it and thought it was good enough. Now I see that I just have to keep going and going and going.
Maybe I don’t regret my thought process this morning (possibly the timing/location- being a hot mess at work is never pleasant for anyone involved)- because without that initial train of thought, I wouldn’t have hope now. Too often I don’t take the next step. I’m glad I did tonight.