We pray that God himself, the God of peace, will make you pure—belonging only to him. We pray that your whole self—spirit, soul, and body—will be kept safe and be blameless when our Lord Jesus Christ comes. The one who chose you will do that for you. You can trust him.1 Thessalonians 5:23-25
This whole Physical Therapy thing is an interesting exercise for me. I have taken my body for granted for so long, just expecting my limbs to move where I want them to, confident that the joints will bend the way I ask them to, and believing that every thought or intention in my head will translate into the exact action I had imagined.
All this without any kind of maintenance protocol other than eating, walking, and sleeping.
I should have know something like this was coming back when, on my 55th birthday, I met a dozen of my former Stetson University teammates for an alumni soccer reunion. It had been 15 years since I had played at all.
The next day, reaching for an item on the self at our local Publix grocery store, my left knee gave out and I crashed to the floor, along with a shelf full of food.
- “Are you all right?” a woman asked as I lay on the floor laughing at myself. “What happened?”
- “Long story,” I replied, smiling at the memory of the previous day; “but totally worth it!”
That pain only lasted a short while. But this time, eleven years later, I realize how naïve I have been to play so fast and loose with a resource as complex and irreplaceable as the human body.
My therapist, Kara, has been targeting particular muscle groups that carry specific responsibilities in terms of supporting and moving my hips and my knees. Apparently these muscles are so tight and tense they have been exacerbating any issues the joints themselves may have.
Putting all the information together – and there will be more after tomorrow’s MRIs – it is becoming apparent to me that I can’t just “coast” anymore on the advantages of a really well designed body.
As a teen I was the fastest under-18 sprinter and one of the best soccer players in Southeast England. I have always been healthy; I have never been hospitalized; anything requiring hand-eye coordination is fairly easy; and the only medication I take is the recent prescription of a statin (something to do with cheese, butter, and heavy cream!).
Just because it has always been easy I have simply assumed all I have to do is maintain a healthy weight and keep active.
But it turns out I’m a little rusty in places, gaskets worn through, lubrication not so good, infrastructure compromised.
Which points to my responsibility to follow through on my homework. Physical therapy is mostly about training me to do a better job of day-to-day maintenance. Deep tissue massage helps, the MRIs will point my doctor in the right direction as we look ahead. But what’s going to make the most difference, going forward, is how I respond to what I have learned.
It’s a lot like my life as a disciple, a follower of Jesus. I go to church for inspiration and teaching, and the critically important experience of community and encouragement. But today is where the rubber meets the road, and tomorrow, and every day I wake up as a child of God entrusted with not just this amazingly well designed body but this profoundly purposeful life.
I wasn’t created to coast. Neither were you. We were put here for a purpose, and to engage that we need to pull everything together, body, mind, and spirit.
The whole person.
Do you need a little physical therapy? A little mental tune up? A little spiritual inspiration? Sure you do. We all do – DEREK