A mile and a half into it, I had marble-sized blisters on both heels. But not the ordinary marbles; No sirree! I'm referring to the mac-daddy shooter marbles, called bumboozers back in the day. That's what I had -- bumboozer blisters. The friction had even worn holes in both of my socks.
I am not kidding.
Our skin is our largest organ. It helps to hold us all together, keeps us the right temperature, and serves as our protective armor for the very important stuff underneath it like bones, muscles and vital organs. Among the amazing things that it does is form blisters when there is too much friction that may pose a threat to those vital members of our bodies that lie just beneath its surface. The water inside them, blister water, is really called serum. It's plasma, the liquid component of our blood, that diffuses out of our blood stream to the crime scene and organizes the healing process. It helps new cells divide and grow into new connective tissue and epidermal layers. It's not supposed to be drained. It takes time for plasma to do its job. And blisters are painful. But they also protect.
Every step towards home was painful for me that day. And for a few days afterward, as I recall. I left the blisters in tact. They turned dark and lasted for what felt like an eternity. And they sure were ugly. And painful.
I'm feeling every step in another situation right now, too. It involves disciplining our teenager.
Discipline is not unlike those pesky blisters. It's painful -- but necessary to grow healthy tissue that's been worn away by an irritant and to protect much more vital stuff that's thriving just beneath the surface. It takes a long time. And did I mention it's painful? And ugly?
We've been tempted to pop the blister.
I never much liked discipline as a child, and come to think of it, I don't much care for it as the parent, either. I'd much rather skip these painful bumps and skip further down the path to a mature relationship with mutual respect, fulfillment, and peace with my kids.
Our son feels misunderstood and judged. His dad and I feel that way too. He thinks we're being unfair, that we actually enjoy his misery. We wonder how in the world our son could think we enjoy inflicting pain upon him. Can he not see that we are his blister protecting him?
He looks to the way his friends are parented as the measure we should be striving for. We look to the way the heavenly Father parents us as the measure we should be aiming for. He is desperate to gain back the privileges he's lost that are cramping his lifestyle. We have learned that it's not just about the toys and the lifestyle, and, as parents, can see past His punishment to see the loving heart that disciplines the child He loves.
God disciplines us, trains us, so we learn a better way, a righteous way, a bump in the road that leads to a mature relationship with mutual respect, fulfillment, and peace with Him. And in so doing he withstands being misunderstood by his children, patiently endures our pleas for relief, and applies blister water to the ailing place, the sore spot, and gets busy generating new growth, reconnecting healthy spirit tissue to our irritated flesh that's been rubbed raw. All the while, we whine and cry, and just want our blessings back. God cries, too, and just wants back our desire to do justly and walk humbly with our God. After all, it is what He has always required.
I feel renewed strength to parent steadfast. I thank God for walking in our shoes, for the blisters that form when there's too much rub, and liquid blood that heals, restores, and reconnects. I praise him for the painful injury inflicted to bring about a greater good. I thank him that he's gone before me in being misunderstood by his children for his discipline. I cling to hope. And band aids.
And I choose, most wisely, to walk a mile or two in His shoes, his perfect, purposeful steps, until my son, his dad, and I all make it safely home.
Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. ~ Matthew 5:41