Then Jesus said, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." - John 5:8
It's not easy. Not when you are recovering from surgery, illness or fall off your bike, like I did last year. I learned it's one thing for Jesus to say, "Pick up your mat" and another thing to do it.
Now I was one of those people talking about my aches, pains and doctor appointments.
I learned about giving in to hours of extra sleep at night. And a new meaning for "going slow," "taking it easy."
Sometimes I stayed "positive"; sometimes I didn't. Found it easy to define my life as "I can't." Learned about finding new ways to say, "I can". Discovered that getting back into the routines of life is sometimes one big "OW!" Everything hurts and not where it did before.
Yes, a bit about having to put down being so darn "willful" and giving into being a bit more "willing." Not just willfully charging through the day, but willing to listen, accept, this season today.
Which is all to say, accepting something I had been successful in ignoring pretty well: I am vulnerable. "Mortal," another word for it. This body of mine is not indestructible. This vessel I am will not last forever.
I give thanks today I am back on my bike again. And though I am not convinced I am ready to bike home up that huge hill again, I at least made it this far today. And for that, I know nothing but thanks.
Spirit of the Living God, help me keep at this slow work of healing in body, mind and spirit until I am ready to pick up my mat and "get back at it" again.
Peter Ilgenfritz is a Minister and Member of the Leadership Staff at University Congregational United Church of Christ, Seattle, Washington.