Sore Souvenirs

They say you’re only as old as you feel.

Right now that is extremely disturbing.

I’ve spent the last day or so prepping and laying tile (though my brother Chris has done most of the floor work while I went back and forth to do all of the cutting and such). But stuff just hurts.

I was thinking about the fact that I’m stiff and sore but that this is something I should really be grateful to experience.

I can work hard enough to be sore. I can play hard enough to be sore. Whether it’s painting and caulking or installing flooring or some other home improvement project or crawling around on the floor playing with my granddaughter or the family tradition ultimate frisbee match… it hurts afterward.

Some of the things that make us sore are chores or work-related tasks or cleaning up messes. Some of them are adventures and enjoyable experiences. But when we are sore, it is usually because we have done something. Soreness can be a sort of souvenir of really good things.

Chris and I are sore because we did something worthwhile. It was hard, but it was good.

One of my favorite things to notice in my closet is my hiking shoes. They are dusty and worn from going cool places and seeing beautiful things… and every time I wear them I ache for a couple of days afterward. They are sore souvenirs.

This weekend we had a celebration for our next grand baby that should be born in a few weeks. It was so good to gather with family… but it’s hard to go our separate ways afterward. But that ache as we part is the sore souvenir of something richly worthwhile.

I’ve learned that grief—that deep soreness of the heart—is the cost of love. Love is always (within the bonds of this world) susceptible to loss. That grief is a strange and unwelcome but important and sore souvenir of loving.

So I have to ask you… what kind of sore souvenirs have you collected lately?

Have you put a bandage on a cut because you were reminded that you’re still alive and still human? Have you been stiff because you had the privilege of spending hours in the car traveling to see loved ones?

Do you see what I’m getting at?

As long as we’re alive we’ll keep collecting these sore souvenirs. But will we learn to see them as such—as things that remind us of the good in our lives?

I suppose that is what our brother James was pointing to when he was moved by the Spirit to pen these words:

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,”

James 1.2

Joy is an easily overlooked but very significant word. It is the consciousness of grace. It is the awareness of what we have been given. So… IF our sore souvenirs make us mindful of the gifts of God’s grace toward us, then we are truly counting even the uncomfortable things of life as joy.

Father, teach me to see the hard things in my life as sore souvenirs of a life full of grace.

What are some of your sore souvenirs? Leave a comment so we can find joy along with you.

One response to “Sore Souvenirs”

  1. Being tired from exertion and recognizing that it was not so long ago that I was utterly unable to exert in anything like a similar way. Tired and sore…but thankful.

    Liked by 1 person

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