Monday, January 30, 2006

Slow Progress

"Did not I direct thee the way to the little Wicketgate?"

"Yes, dear Sir," said Christian.

"How is it then that thou art so quickly turned aside? For thou art now out of the way."

"I met with a Gentleman so soon as I had got over the Slough of Despond, who pursuaded me that I might...find a man that could take off my burden."

--From John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress"

Not unlike Christian in the Classic allegory, I have felt myself trudging through the Slough of Despond lately. And, just as Christian is informed by Help, I know that it is not the Maker's desire that the Slough should even exist. However, just because I am one of God's beloved children, does not mean that I do not get to escape the perils and trials of this fallen world in which I live.

Right now I find myself looking at the steep slopes of the "Hill of Difficulty". My heart is filled with trepidation as I realize that there are no shortcuts. There are no easy outs. Yet even in those moments where my heart catches in my throat and my stomach starts to sink, I am comforted to know that the same One who enables the deer to scale the heights (as the Psalmist says) is the same One who who be my ever-present strength in times of trouble.

Trouble comes in many forms. For me it often manifests itself as a battle not only against my physical health, but my emotional stability as well. My physical resources and stamina are not that far removed from my spiritual/emotional stamina. When one suffers, they both suffer.

Thankfully, I am surrounded by a tremendous support system made up of my family, friends, doctors and even co-workers who genuinely want what is best for me. On the days when I am too mired in the Slough of Despond to keep my eyes focused on the light that lies beyond yonder Wicketgate, God sends me help in any variety of forms. For this I am grateful.

Right now my progress is slow (spiritually and emotionally speaking), but I am moving forward. Each day is a pilgrimage for me, and a challenging one at that. This pilgrimage gives me purpose, for it is only in serving something or Someone greater than myself that I find meaning and happiness in life; it's just not always an instantaneous thing.

Current mood: listless
Current snack: glass of milk
Emotional weather: overcast
Health-o-meter: 40% of emotional baseline, 80% of physical baseline

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