Day 247 – Painful progress

I just kicked off my shoes. It’s hot and sticky today. Some thunder is rolling in the background. Feet up in my desk chair. My chin rests on my knees. I have 5 draft emails open, 3 Word documents and 7 Excel sheets. More or less. Either way. You get the point. My shoulders are tense. I look at the feet. They feel restless. But I am stuck here behind my desk.

My thoughts wander everywhere. I can’t seem to concentrate. Back at home people are having another day off. The second day of Pentecost. I used to go camping with friends. Sing my heart out at this big Christian conference. A friend texts me. Has to cancel weekend plans due to being overloaded with work. A couple friends from back home text each other about meeting up. I am on the other side of the world. Exactly three years ago, we were throwing caps and tassels into the air. That graduation day seems like yesterday. And centuries ago at the same time. Yesterday I actually wore my blue dress. Now it’s stained (because I spill food. Like a lot.) and it’s ripped. I’ve sewn it back together, but it definitely isn’t as perfect anymore as it was three years ago on that grey, but o so happy June day in Utrecht.

Fast-forward to three years later. The blue dress is thrown on a chair. I need to fold it nicely and put it away. Or try washing it one more time to get those stains out. Three years with three master degrees (I know, don’t even ask.) I have lived in three different countries. I’ve wandered around the world. Met many people. Have climbed mountains. Made new friends. Lost friends. I’ve been super fit. I’ve been really sick and slow. Ups and downs. I’ve been living life. Broken, but abundantly.

C.S. Lewis says:

We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road.

On days like today, I sometimes ask myself whether I am on the right road. And then I think: “is there even such a thing as the right road? Aren’t we all on the same road? I don’t have the answers. The only thing I can cling to is that God knows where I am heading. So I close my eyes and trust that my feet will be taken to where I am supposed to be.

Fast forward to right now. My legs are burning. Painful. But the good kind of pain. The pain of aching muscles that just had an awesome workout. I just came home from a yoga class. Playing around with poses that look amazing, but when I am somewhere half way with a knee on my shoulder, I wonder how in the world I can ever get to balancing my curled up legs and body on my two small hands. Maybe not today.I am heating up some leftovers from that wonderful dinner during the weekend. I am mixing up some salad and treating myself with a bit of leftover ice-cream afterwards.

I am heating up some leftovers from that wonderful dinner during the weekend. I am mixing up some salad and treating myself with a bit of leftover ice-cream afterwards. I am drinking a glass of water. Actually three. And I think about progress. Someday I’ll be able to balance those legs in the most beautiful bird pose. But today it’s just fiery legs. Painful progress.

My Spotify playlist sings to me. Actually, it’s Jon Foreman singing about pain.

And heaven knows, heaven knows
I tried to find a cure for the pain
Oh my Lord! To suffer like you do
It would be a lie to run away
A lie to run
It would be a lie
It would be a lie to run away

I take a deep breath. I look at my two feet. With the tan lines from my sandals. They are nice and warm. I can feel the blood rush through. They are awake. And a bit dirty from the yoga class. I think back about looking at my feet earlier today. Frustrated with myself and my low productivity. I just wanted to run away. But I just typed on curled up in my desk chair. And I hear Jon Foreman sings. It would a lie to run away. Maybe that’s all the progess I need for today. To not run away. To face life. Head on. Chin up. Closing my eyes and I remember the words of the first Bible verse that I learned by heart as a child:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

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