Thorn in My Side

http://www.blacktoe.co.uk/pics/slippery%20ice.gifEarly last week, while running outside, I slipped on an icy patch and landed hard on my right side.  Unfortunately for my ribs, my elbow was caught underneath me, so instead of landing flat on the ground, all the impact was concentrated in one place on my side.  That day was extremely uncomfortable.  After a good night's sleep, the next few days were improved although still painful, but by Friday the area was still very irritated so I went to the doctor's. 

He felt everything in the area and concluded that there was no fracture or break, thankfully, but that I had just taken a really good blow to the area, that it was going to hurt for awhile, and that I should just rest it for a few weeks.  Already stir crazy about not being able to exercise, I asked him about stationary biking and he said yes, and I asked him about swimming and he said no. Of course, the next morning I tried to swim anyway, and my body wasn't having it. 

So exercise-wise I have been largely grounded, which has been a huge annoyance for me, given how much of my schedule and spirits are enhanced around my workout routine.  The pain itself isn't too bad, except that it hurts to cough or blow my nose, so I've developed a sore throat and need to be careful about not giving pneumonia room to creep into my life.  All of this because of a split second of not slowing down enough on my morning run. 

In the grand scheme of things, it's no big deal.  Amy has been annoyed at how much and how often I moan, as if I'm the only person in the history of mankind to have gotten injured.  If the life lesson here is that I should slow down and take it easy, I am failing that lesson miserably. Indeed, when I am stricken by illness or injury, I think of what David wrote in Psalm 119:71: "It was good that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes."  

This particular injury reminds me of another Bible verse, the thorn in Paul's side, which he talks about in 2 Corinthians 12:

7Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

At times, my rib pain feels like an actual thorn in my side, constantly jabbing me with discomfort.  It is my always-on reminder that I am not at full-strength, that I can't do my normal morning exercises and that I have to be careful sneezing, laughing, and moving.  I would like to say that it has also been my always-on reminder to have Paul's attitude, to revel in God's strength amidst my weakness.  But I think that very infrequently.  Much more frequently, I groan aloud, second-guess my not decelerating before the icy patch, or dread being incapacitated for yet another week. 

Over a week after my fall, I am still afflicted.  And I am still learning His statutes.
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