I’m walking a new path this week while on vacation with our little family in New England…finding my way down a dirt road …the grit of fine gravel kicking up into my shoes with every step.
It’s beautiful here. Quiet. Peaceful. Slow-paced and relaxing. Breathing in fresh air. Conversations with those I love. Knowing and known.
I want to keep walking and taking in the beauty around the lake. I don’t really want to stop and get rid of the irritating grit that found its way into my shoe and now is frustratingly rubbing against my skin. To stop would mean a slow down in the walking routine. Interrupted rhythm. Annoying stops to untie shoes. Dump sand. Re-tie. Restart. Repeat.
It seems my options are simple. Go through the stopping and starting OR get used to the gritty texture and keep walking.
I chose to keep walking.
And as options go, there are also at least two possible outcomes. The sand and fine gravel could be a catalyst for exfoliating my dry skin into soft and smooth– much like the irritating sand annoys the oyster enough to ultimately create a smooth, beautiful pearl– OR– the irritation could work its way around in uncomfortable ways to produce a painful blister that would annoy me for days to come.
Irritation seems to have the potential for pain or pearl.
Uncluttered time gives space to breathe in new perspective … reflect on past experiences of life …clear the fog and let the breeze blow truth through the maze of thoughts that have been going on in my head.
Sometimes I wish the answer was simple and always up to me. At times it is a simple choice to decide to let painful experiences be the sandpaper to soften and shine the rough edges in life into a radiant glow. At other times it seems the pain is like irritating grit in your shoe with no time to dump and restart. The path you’re on just seems to keep kicking up the grit — landing it wedged uncomfortably between the skin and your very own soul.
Even more unsettling are the times you feel that God is allowing the sand to do the polishing work as a rare and wonderful gem is being revealed while you tumble against the rough places. That’s the hard part …the part I don’t usually want.
We’re made to be different — to respond out of our own unique blend of personality traits. Sometimes those differences cause an irritation much like the sand in my shoe. The differences rub against our skin and we’re faced with the dilemma — the interruption of our normal rhythm or pressing through …letting the annoying differences derail us or gaining perspective and applying grace to heal.
And maybe it’s not an “either / or” at all. Maybe it’s praying through it all and trusting God to do the work that needs to be done whether through pain or pearl.
Truth is, everybody wants the pearl but that irritating blister will eventually heal over and be replaced with new, soft skin. God has a way of taking pain and pearl and making both a beautiful display of His splendor.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4, NLT)
“So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.” (II Peter 1:5-9 MSG)
And I walked again today with comfort in my soul. God’s work of giving texture to life.
Weekly Photo Challenge: Textures