Too Much of a Good Thing

Can we ever get too much of a good thing? In Spain, there is so much to absorb. All your senses are heightened: sight; smell; touch; hearing; taste. When they intersect, you cannot put words together to communicate all that you are experiencing.

Thanks to dear friends, two years ago, Bill and I came to Spain to recover and rest. Just sitting outside was therapeutic. Each day we would spend time intentionally naming what we saw around us, categorizing into the five senses. It was helpful for being present in the moment.

Afternoons near the beach were a great time to practice this new skill: people watching; people enjoying their beautiful surroundings. It didn’t take long to notice that there were some people walking in and out of chairs and cots asking to give massages. I don’t think they had professional credentials, but they seemed to have a steady clientele. There was one young woman who seemed especially popular. Rather small in size, her hands were large and strong, like a quarterback from the NFL. I would observe big German men, whose fathers or grandfathers must have been the doorkeepers for the Gestapo, who would turn into a puddle in her hands. During this transformation their senses seemed to be on overload.

I have not had many massages. However, in later years, I have been having problems with tightness in my neck and shoulder. I would think, if someone could beat me with a crowbar it might be a remedy. Watching this woman for a few days, I decided to give her a whirl. She hacked, kneaded and put every fiber of her energy into the experience like she was a matador wrestling a bull to the ground on opening day. Yes, it was a heavenly experience. Until the next day….

Waking up the next morning I could not swallow. Did I have the flu or some respiratory disease? It was hard to eat or breathe. A trip to a couple of health clinics and doctors didn’t reveal any problems. Afterwards, the light went on and I connected my cheap massage with the more expensive doctor bill. My new friend near the beach had not had any anatomy courses and had probably moved something around that caused me to have a golf ball in my throat. It took a couple of days for everything to settle. It felt good to have my wacky spine back after the golf ball disappeared.

It is hard to accept that we can get too much of a good thing. Staying in the sun too long; having too much to eat or drink; exercising so hard that we strain our muscles are ways of reminding us that overdoing it is not a good thing. Balance is good.

In my spiritual life I’m seeing that The Lord wants to relate to me in different ways. Going full speed in one direction causes me to miss the bigger picture. I can read my Bible from morning to night. If I never take time to look up and see how He makes himself known in nature and the world around me, I short change myself. If I pray all the time but do not love my fellow man then there is a disconnect. I can talk about Him from morning till night, but have no depth in my heart and soul.

The massage was a “full on” experience. Feeling good in the moment didn’t continue long term. The Lord is not interested in a short term experience. He wants to have all of our hearts, lives and senses. But, when He meets me in these different ways I can never get enough of His grace in my life. Now grace is a good thing of which we cannot get too much.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.”
Psalms 34:8 (NIV)


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