I love the spring. The first signs of warmth coax people out of their homes and into the streets. The city is alive with the sounds of happy children, reunited neighbors, and ice cream trucks. Our weeping cherry tree is in her peak - her pink blossoms brightening our spirits.
But the spring also reminds me that flip flop season is right around the corner.
I love to wear flip flops when I'm all alone. But I can't bring myself to wear flip flops in public, at least not without some careful planning. My feet are not out for display; I try to keep them hidden from view. I don't want others to see the affect of years of running (and perhaps other factors) on my feet. If you can think of any unpleasant foot condition, I likely have it. I noticed the first of the problems around 13 years ago. The foot issues have grown, sure and steady, more numerous and more complicated, since my first discovery. And growing right along-side these issues is the shame that I've experienced as a result.
So I cover up. I hide. And this makes the affliction worse - it likes the dark and damp that results from all of the masking that's going on. I avoid thinking about it, treating it, or asking others for help. I don't want to acknowledge that I'm not well, even though it's (literally) painfully obvious. Sometimes, when I don't treat the earlier problem, I get something called an id reaction. This is an itchy and painful, eczema-like rash that appears on my hands as a secondary reaction to the initial, untreated condition.
I wonder how often this situation mirrors my everyday life. I'm in need of help and healing in one area, but because I'm too ashamed or busy, I don't pursue treatment, and so the sickness presents itself in all kinds of other places and in all kinds of other ways. So perhaps my latest diatribe against my husband or children isn't always about my most recent frustration; it's really a symptom of something else, but presenting itself in a new way. This is a good thing - yes? A reminder to reengage, to reflect, to ask what is wrong and do the patient work of getting well.
Today, my sore hands are a reminder that I need to take care of my feet. And my bitter words are a reminder that I need to take care of my heart.