Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Little pieces of broken glass, part one

I had the craziest fluke of an accident while traveling to teach. I stepped on something in my hotel room and it went through my "sleeper socks" and imbedded itself deep into the heel of my right foot! Now when you consider that some of the thickest skin on the human body is found on the hands and feet, it's not exactly an easy area to penetrate. The fact that I didn't see anything on the floor meant that I stepped down with full force, walking normally until I felt the sharp object penetrating my sock and my skin in one quick shot!

"Aaaaeeeeeee!" I screamed at great-day-in-the morning! I felt sort of sorry for any floor mates on either side of my room, because my scream would have made a scary alarm clock! Skin has nerve endings that tell us when we've been touched. My skin had been more than touched; it had been pierced, and I found out that morning that a little invisible sharp object can really, really cause a lot of pain!

Enter the tough girl: I got out my travel first aid kit and went to work. I propped my heel up backwards against the sink, then turned and awkwardly tried to fish around in the bloody little hole with a safety pin dipped in antibacterial ointment. No go. When I stepped down from my crude attempt at surgery, I could still feel the sharp pain of "something in there." End of tough girl routine. Time to pray.

I sat on the edge of the hotel bed and reminded the Lord that I was scheduled to teach five times, that I already had a terrible cold, and now this. And He reminded me that I was going to have a fantastic trip because I was weakened by these complaints. "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (II Cor. 12:9)

And it was a great conference! I had such a wonderful time teaching, blowing my nose, coughing, and walking on the ball of my right foot! I'm not joking! It was a powerful time, as I experienced God's strength which was indeed made "perfect in weakness." Sometimes, we all need a fresh dose of weakness to really experience God's grace and strength. When was the last time you "gloried" in your infirmity?

The down side to this story is that I didn't get the foot checked out right away when I got home. In fact, I didn't even tell the dear people at the ladies’ retreat that I had this unidentified object in my foot. I didn't want it to be a distraction (on top of the head cold that I couldn’t hide). Once I got home, I had several reasons for delaying a trip to the doctor's office, including the fact that I thought it might "work its way out" over the next several days (skin does continue to grow and shed, you know). Since I had mastered walking with one heel slightly elevated inside my shoe, I thought I could tough this out until the skin layer with the "thing" in it worked its way  down and out...I hoped.

Well, this couldn't last. I walk fast and I am forgetful, too. So I was at the grocery store and forgot to keep my heel up. I stepped down normally and felt a strong jab in my foot, and that's when I realized that I'd better get this checked out after all. An x-ray at the podiatrist's office confirmed that I had either glass or metal deep in my heel, and surgery would be the only way to remove it. A week later, I as I was being hooked up to an IV while waiting for surgery, I said to my Norman, "A little thing has sure become a big deal, hasn't it?"

And that's the second parallel to this story: When we allow harmful little things to go unchecked, they may cause more damage over time.  "Little pieces of broken glass" continues in part two later this week...

"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts." (Prov. 21:2)

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