C.S. Lewis wrote frequently on the question of pain, suffering and the role of both in our spiritual lives. “Pain is God’s megaphone,” is the long and short of it. I came across that quote a short time ago, and puzzled with what it hinted at.
Friends, I no longer wonder.
Let’s go back a few weeks ago. A work trip sent me to southwestern Texas, the part of the country suffering from an unrelenting heatwave. But I lived in the southwest for a number of years and figured, heat, pah! “It’s only early June, I’m used to this stuff!”
To Texas I went, with places to see and friends to hang out with. Images of cabanas and margaritas filled my head on the plane, and as soon as I landed I began making plans. The next morning, I went off to sightsee, armed only with a teeny bottle of water. You may see where this is going . . . I planned on skipping an afternoon tour but all my friends were going. Too rushed to eat a proper lunch, I headed out, elated to be free (for once!) of toddlers and obligations.
Fast forward 5 hours later. I’m in a hotel room after being ESCORTED from the tour with bottles of ice water affixed to my head. 24 hours later, I miraculously emerged from my hotel room after copious amounts of Gatorade and room service. Feeling starved, light headed and weak, I changed my ticket to come home early. At the Dallas airport, I ate McDonald’s.
For those who know me, this little detail hints at just how awful I felt. I write this now nearly two weeks after the fact. This incident got my attention in ways I could not have foreseen. I haven’t been taking care of myself. Healthy bodies don’t need two weeks to recover from heat exhaustion. I haven’t been eating enough and of the right things. Since I returned, I informed everyone of my new quest–to fill my body with good things and to feel better. I’m nearly two weeks into it, and I can tell you the difference is marked.
God shows us where to turn. The internal compass is the holy spirit, guiding you along the path. But if you won’t listen? I don’t think of it as punishment. I don’t view God as a stern school-marm or angry patriarch. But I do know God loves us so much, that he allows us to choose. Free will can be a dangerous thing, this I learned the hard way.
The best lesson from all of this is the value of learning. I’m not mad about what happened, I don’t blame anyone, not even myself. I know why it happened and I know what changes I need to make to get my weight up to where it needs to be. More importantly, I realize how precious health and wellness are, and how easy it is to take them for granted. Sitting in that hotel room, unable to muster the energy to shower, I knew how weak we are. But I also know God’s healing grace. Join me in celebrating that.