Or “It’s The Little Stones That Trip You Up”
by Jane Tawel
It’s the little stones that trip you up. The guy who almost hits you as he speeds past. The bill you paid on time but that got sent back because at 4:00 in the morning, you didn’t see it was a two cent stamp. (How the heck did I still have a 2 cent stamp in that drawer?!) It’s the little pebbles like that shoulder /neck ache combo. It’s that giant yoke of a backpack. And by the way, it’s still bugging you about that person who cut in line ahead of you. Oh, and there’s also the constant sales pitch from that group that will not let you Unsubscribe. The heat. The dust. The thingy that is never working properly. The tiredness. The bird poop. The person that said that thing that way. The person who didn’t respond right. All those little pebbles you didn’t see in your road and you can’t figure out why you just stumbled into a depression.
And after a morning or a day or a week of little stones getting in the soles of your journeying shoes, you find all the little pebbles have lodged inside the Soul of your Journeying Self. And rather than the outside rocks tripping you up, and making you wonder irritably why you feel bad; it’s the inside heart of stone that is making you wander angrily and aimlessly, looking for something to numb the pain.
And you know how truly horrifically bad it is for some people. And you know you have more important things to think about. And pray about. (God knows you do!) And you know God doesn’t like you to be crotchety. And you know Jesus isn’t like that.
And you know you currently just can’t give a flying fandango.
Because those stones, just like a bunch of gall stones or kidney stones have lodged in your gut, and are preventing important movement forward.
Just like kidney stones, the experts will tell you the pebbles of life tripping you up are itty bitty microscopic little specs of trouble and worry. If you’ve ever had a kidney stone, you know that as you writhe in pain, the fact that the stone is microscopic compared to other things is a mute point — unlike your groans which you cannot mute.
The experts will tell you, “this stone too will pass”. And if after self-medicating, you still weren’t so bogged down by the constant throbbing dull pain of life’s stones, you would kill those smug experts in their sleep. Maybe with a big rock.
As they say in Narnia, you want to go “further up and further in” but you have soles and a soul full of stones. You’re so busy looking down and shaking a leg to dislodge the pebble, that you can’t look Up. And your progress on the narrow path, gets slower and darker and more painful. But you keep treadmilling ahead even with aching feet. You just can’t find a way to stop and throw out the stones. Or you’re afraid if you stop, you won’t be progressing, achieving, gettin’ it done . You thought you were clipping along briskly — how the hey did you end up on this sweaty treadmill? What is that stuck in your shoe?! What is that –stuck ON your shoe!? Again?!?!? Oh, Cr_ _!!
You can see the Rest Stop just up the bend, but you are stuck in the slow lane full of the smoggy traffic of your treadmill troubles.
You also know that people get tired of your being so negative all the time about all the ” little stuff”. But you want to talk about stuff to process it. But sometimes — not always — but sometimes talking about the negative stuck stuff with someone else is sort of like trying to blend a handful of rocks in your Kitchen aide Blender. It will only break your blender. Processing is tricky and there are people you need to do it with and for, but you want to be care-full not to take out the pebbles in your shoes only to add them to the soles of your listeners. It makes for a “rocky relationship” sometimes.
I think even our ever patient and loving God must get tired of listening to my stones grind around in the blender prayers of my relationship with Him. I think He often has all these positive, affirming, encouraging, nutritional things to blend into my relationship with Him. If I let Him get a Word in edgewise.
But I am often just too overwhelmed and I kinda’ start to hate myself. And everyone else. And there is no joy in the journey with shoes full of stones.
And my soul gets hard rather than strong. Rocks have good, solid, important qualities but they aren’t meant to be in your shoes. Rocks make good metaphors for lots of things, but not the heart.
Jehovah/ Jesus is often referred to as Our Rock, but a lot of times, I make Him just one more little pebble stuck in my shoe that I’m trying to stand on. How can I walk on The Rock of my Salvation if I don’t throw out the sinful stones in my soul?
If I could only stop picking up those irritating stuck pebbles on The Way.
But maybe I’m full of rocks because I’m not resting enough to pick the pebbles out before they cause me to stumble.
Maybe I need to walk barefoot in the sand more often. Maybe I need to pick up a good pair of dancing shoes. Maybe I need to stop walking alone. Maybe I need to let The Comforter Insole In-Soul — lend support. Maybe I need to “become like a little child” and be carried for a while.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for i am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30