Walking With A Limp
So many times in my life, I have been forced to come face-to-face with the fact that our actions have consequences and that sometimes even when we have the best intentions, we do and say things that can reverberate long after we've said or done them.
Each of us knows this instinctively, even though we may not be all that conscious of it. We've all been hurt before, and the hurts we feel have memory even when the initial pain subsides.
It's like how my knee remembers when I was sixteen and fell hard during a basketball game onto a hard wooden court. Some days, even in my 54th year of life, I feel the dull ache of that moment when I move my knee a certain way.
We might believe that we have made our peace with the past, but sometimes the wounds we suffered in days long gone resurface when we least expect them.
The trick to living with these painful memories is to allow yourself to be instructed by them rather than let them consume you. I'm not very good at that, to be honest.
Some days I walk with a limp.
And on those days, it's easy to feel sad and sorry and to let the fact that I'm limping consume my thoughts and inform my actions.
Far too often, I see myself as someone who limps and can't seem to move beyond the wounds, the poor decisions, the things that happened, and what I've done to cause myself to be unable to walk without pain.
We all do this to a certain extent. We're our own worst enemies in those moments.
Falling into self-pity and self-loathing isn't something that we plan, but it happens quickly when we can't shake the feeling that somehow we are to blame for why we're hurting in the first place.
Our inner monologue about our past wounds can quickly become a narrative of how we're unloveable, unworthy, and unwanted.
This is why we must be reminded of the truth about who we are.
You and I are much more than the wounds we've incurred over the years. We might live with the painful memories of what we've done or what has been done to us, but we are not defined by them.
There are days when I believe this so strongly that I feel like my heart may burst, but there are other days when that belief feels like it's built on a foundation of sand.
Belief is tenuous like that. In fact, our beliefs should be held loosely because they are often subject to the whims of our experience, the memory of past hurts, and the worries about what comes next.
I read this great quote in a blog post from Sofia Isabel Kavlin, an up-and-coming writer who focuses on spirituality and healthy detachment. She writes:
"Caminar preguntando, we must walk questioning our beliefs."
I have been thinking about that line for days and find a strange sort of comfort in it.
We should walk this journey of life questioning our beliefs because our beliefs can be given an inordinate amount of power over our lives and how we see ourselves, God, and others.
And often, they will change on a whim, get shattered in a moment, or keep us stuck in unhealthy spaces.
So today, I will do my best to practice trust instead of belief.
I will practice trusting that God has some greater purpose in mind for me as I limp along. I will trust that what God says about me is far more beautiful and life-giving than what I have come to believe about myself.
It could be that, like the patriarch Jacob in the book of Genesis, the limp we experience has come from wrestling with God, seeking a blessing, a new name, and a new way forward.
Maybe the limp we experience is simply a reminder that we don't emerge from those existential struggles without a reminder that we need to trust God to redeem and restore all the pain we've felt or caused.
May we keep walking then... questioning our beliefs, learning to trust, finding the lessons in our limping, and moving ever closer to salvation.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all, now and forever. Amen.