So I just got back from my New Year’s resolution trip to the gym. Or should I say, “hobbled” back. In the first five minutes of Zumba, technically the “warm up” portion of the class, I heard and felt something “snap” in my left calf. Not good I thought. Then came the searing pain. Sauntering as nonchalantly as I could off the aerobic floor, I headed for the front door. Now if you’ve ever participated in a Zumba class you understand there is really no warm up period. It’s a high energy, hopping, jumping, twisting, workout from the get go. I should have known better. At my age (I hear that a lot) and just returning to the gym after a three year hiatus, I should have known to start out at a slower pace. I should have ignored all the jumping bodies around me, and warmed up at my own level. But I didn’t. One the way out one of the personal trainers asked if I wanted to file an incident report. “Nope,” I said. “Maybe a just a ‘stupid’ report.” He smiled. It helped…a little. I’ve only been inured like this once before. Only that time it was my hamstring and it happened when I was doing everything right. I’d been working out consistently for nine years, 5-6 times a week. I was doing pre-workout stretching, like I did every day, after sufficiently warming up my muscles. When, out of nowhere, for no explainable reason, my hamstring snapped. I was laid up for 6 weeks.
Injury is never fun. It’s rarely expected. It can sideline you and keep you from living fully. Injury can come from our own hand. It can also come when you are doing all the right things. When we make bad decisions that result in personal pain, how do we live with the guilt and frustration? When others wound us, not for anything we have done but more often because of their own woundedness, how do we get past the resentment and bitterness?
The answer for both is the same. In fact, Jesus’ invitation is always the same for lives that are broken, wounded, and sidelined. “Come to me…” (Matt. 11:28) It’s a simple invitation too often ignored. In our quest to fix ourselves, we inadvertently become our own saviors, by taking our pain elsewhere. The distractions we choose are only serve us temporarily and there is a soul weariness that comes from having to maintain them. Ignoring our pain proves equally exhausting trying to keep it stay put. Yet this is not the kind of pain, like a torn muscle, that heals itself with a little time and rest.
“Come to me…” is the invitation to be with Jesus in the midst of what’s real where we can know God’s love on a deep, experiential level, and wait for him to bring healing in the wounded places of our souls.