By Karen Pullano
For the 3rd post in the series click HERE
Function not Form
After the first couple of weeks on the treadmill I noticed an interesting pattern. When I first get on, I am pumped, feeling strong and in perfect form: abs tucked in, shoulders back, arms pumping, and a nice strike toward the balls of my feet (is that even a thing?? I think I just made that up).
By the middle of the run I am panting pretty well, dripping in sweat, and starting to lose form. The goal is no longer as clear and obvious, but I know it is there somewhere.
By the end, well, let’s just say, it ain’t pretty folks! There’s sweat flying, body parts flapping, and my chest is heaving with each breath. I can barely see ‘the road’ directly in front of me, let alone the finish, and I desperately want to quit, but I don’t, because, well… Jesus. I trust that the end is out there somewhere. I am a fool for lesser things all the time, so no matter how pathetic I look chugging across the ‘finish line,’ the point is, I finished. I hit my goal. I did it! Boy, does THAT feel good.
In our sufferings, things certainly aren’t pretty, but there will always be fruit. In our struggles to cope, we may judge or criticize ourselves, or feel like a failure, but we are not alone. Overwhelmed by our suffering on top of the usual demands of life, we can trust God to bring something good from the mess. With our obedience and perseverance, we will get through it, but we never suffer simply for suffering’s sake. We endure our crosses for a purpose. What appears to be a mess on the outside is in Truth, the perfect and necessary canvas for God to create in us His handiwork.
I am reminded again of St. Padre Pio’s analogy that when looking at the underside of a tapestry, you see a mess of strings and colors. It looks like chaos, but when you flip it over and see the finished product it makes beautiful, coherent sense.
I have often felt like this in my own grief. I only see as if through cloudy glass. If only I could see the end result and understand how the mess, confusion, and ugliness of the moment is being woven together to make something good! Instead, I put one foot in front of the other, as if blindfolded, and chug along. The finish line will come and I will see and taste the Victory with perfect clarity.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Cor 13:12)
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