Owwwwwww….my hip hurts like heck!
I've been hip-natized.
Hurts to lay in bed. Hurts to sit on the couch. Hurts to drive. Hurts to walk. I can't move without limping. Can't put weight on that side at all. And it's extremely tender. I have to move really slow. Sara likes it, because when we were at the mall yesterday, she got to go at her pace (usually I rush her like we're in a Formula 500). I am aware of everything in my path, from rock to twig to the slightest incline or decline.
Last week I was about 14 days into a weigh-lifting - you probably know where this is going - when I attempted lunges with 50lb dumbbells. Normally I would ease into it more, but I was feeling SO great! Next day as I'm walking out of my bedroom I feel a slight twang-sensation in my right hip. Within two days, I can't walk. My massage therapist says the tendons around my hip area have been, well, slightly mistreated. I thought it was out of joint for sure - the pain! But no, just a little sprained hip tendon.
"Go for a walk" he says.
Ya, after I buy a cane (which I did the next day).
"...the socket of Jacob's hip was touched near the tendon." Genesis 32:32
It has to be one of the most unsual God-encounters in the Bible. It's the middle of the night, and God confronts Jacob for a round of wrestling. Jacob's good, and the Man has His hands full. Jacob, realizing he has God Himself in the ring, refuses to let up until he receives a blessing. I mean, it's God right. If you have the Genie, you want your three wishes whatever the cost.
God smiles and reaches out a benevolent hand of blessing.
And wrenches Jacob's hip out of the socket.
The match is over. God wins. And Jacob's left feeling strangely unblessed as he screams in agonizing pain. Remember the song? "He touched me, and O the joy that floods my soul…” Seriously?? There’s almost nothing more painful than a dislocated hip. It usually takes being hit by a vehicle to get them out of joint.
And that’s what I’m thinking when I can hardly walk from the pain in my hip. Nice blessing God. Where’s the warm fuzzies?! Is this a touch from Jesus? Maybe it is? :)
If it were a God-ordained injury, like Jacob's, here’s what I would infer from the experience:
1) God wants me to move slower.
It's been a theme in my life for the past 6 months, and this week it's gone even deeper. I can't rush. In fact, I got a cane so I could walk a little faster. Now I move like my 87 year old Grandpa. Jacob's speed of travel would have ground to almost an absolute halt. He's a mover and a shaker. He's the guy that travels all night to get to Disneyland faster, no bathroom breaks. Now he's ambling along with a limp.
2) God is inviting me into awareness.
Sara and I are currently at a retreat centre with beautiful grounds. We went for a walk. I saw it like I never would have before. From hidden greenery in the decay of a passing fall, to a paper thin layer of ice on a pond, to the wet chil of the morning air. We had to sit a few times and just wait for the throbbing to subside. I was just there, in the moment. Sweet bliss (and dull pain).
3) God is marking me.
This hip injury has literally made it impossible to bend my right leg and put weight on it. So I walk with that leg completely straight. It makes for a horrible, jolting lurch more akin to the walking dead then anything else. I've never noticed how easy people walk with good hips. I watch them saunter by with envy. Jacob's "touch from God" would have put made his legs differ in length, giving him a lifelong zombie-like lurch.
Me at Luke's College, walking with cane.
4) God must care less for my physical comfort (and sleep) than I do .
Try sleeping with an aching hip joint. Not fun. I can’t imagine Jacob trying to with no soft mattress, no down pillow, and no ibuprofen. What a bumb deal. Thanks a lot God. I don’t why, but I always assume God cares as much about my physical comfort as I do. They Jacob-story proves otherwise.
5) Walking will never be the same.
The most basic skill of all, walking, will never be the same for Jacob. He will live with this the rest of his life. Wherever he goes, he’ll remember. And so will everyone else. “Oh, there’s Jacob, he’s still got that limp.”
[I’m actually posting this a few weeks later and the hip is pretty much totally recovered, for which I’m extremely grateful. Painlessness is a beautiful thing. But still the question haunts:]
How much do you and I want to be marked by God? To the extent that our earthly walk is never the same? Bring it on [I think].