Monday, January 15, 2007

Lessons are Repeated Until Learned

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. (Romans 7:15, 18; ESV)

I find myself in this dilemma. With a lot of time for soul-searching, prayer, meditation, and examination of conscience, I am aghast at my propensity, despite all that, to "do what I do not want" and to ignore doing "what is right", whether on matters of sin or even simply on practical things that are good either for me or for others. Yes, I wage war within me about these things on a daily basis. My only hope is the grace that God provides to triumph over sin and weakness.

I have a friend who got injured again while playing badminton last night. I called her up while she was lined up at the E.R., and there she was, writhing in pain and telling me, "I won't stop playing. Yes, I'm stubborn but I won't quit badminton!"

I could only beg her to be more careful and wear protective gear while playing. Last year, she injured her knee after a bad fall, could not walk normally for months, let alone dance which she loved doing. I asked her to go swimming instead or try another sport, that which I could do with her (as I don't play -- a rare Filipina who cannot play badminton, that's me).

I realized I'm a lot like her in that I know what's good for me but sometimes I insist on what I want. So maybe badminton is not a perfect analogy, for it's not "bad for her", and her lesson is not to quit but perhaps to be "less intense", in her own words. Whatever it is, for her own sake I hope she learns the lesson so that this will be her last injury.

As for me, I hope to learn my lessons too so that I don't keep injuring myself or others when I engage in things I love doing, or at least have a compulsion to do, like volunteer work. As I explore another community and open my heart to new possibilities, may I wear protective gear and be less intense, this time. Protective gear was already described in Ephesians 6 and I will look it up after posting this.

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