“Crashing elbow, sir!” my children echoed.
My children flew into the appropriate karate technique and the class progressed forward.
I have of late wrestled with a point of psychological and intellectual frustration that arose from the dojo mat. It is the argument that the sensei often supports, that one is supposed to do as one is told even without knowing why. Blind trust and obedience, in other words, and he even intimated that there was a way for me to be healed of post traumatic stress and seizures but it would require trust and absolute submission. You may well imagine how well I took that concept. I have from my infancy found that many adults have been wrong in things they have sought to force on children and being the youngest of my siblings though often the most responsible I hardly succumb easily to so called authority. Even when I contracted post traumatic stress, I was able to survive because the Lord showed me why He wanted me to go through what I suffered. I understood the purpose of that anguish, knew that it would help many people to come closer to the Lord and therefore had a direction to follow. If the Lord Himself found it expedient to provide me with a reason for those things He inflicted, what right did this 6’3” black belt, a mere 11 years my senior have to withhold logical explanation? Perhaps he considered that he had sufficient rank, experience, power and authority to make that requirement? (Here I stand up to full height, square my shoulders, raise an eyebrow, fold my arms and take on a country drawl) Well, I reckon he’d have to show me.
Though I have never openly argued with him on this topic I have long pondered it and the mental battle has in fact affected my children, since their sensei directly taught one thing and I somewhat emulated the reverse. The painfully annoying thing proved that the Lord, who had been on my side in this discussion for years, suddenly seemed to shift and support the sensei’s argument when the two thought processes crossed swords and I found myself inexplicably hammered spiritually, mentally and emotionally without any answer from heaven as to why.
Within the last week I had come to the depths of exhaustion and collapse and when I thought I was recovering the Lord saw fit to allow me a pinched nerve in my back. Barely able to move and screaming in pain I pulled myself up and painfully drove to my favorite massage therapist. She saw me enter with tears streaming down my face and helped me gradually make it onto a table where I gave myself up to helpless misery. All throughout the experience I had been pleading to God for an answer of why He was putting me through this agony, but to no avail. The therapist found the injured spot on my back and I gritted my teeth because I knew the only way she could restore movement to my body was by hammering on that most sensitive spot. But then she surprised me. She put a hot pad on that spot and proceeded to massage the rest of my back and particularly the exact opposite side of my spine. I couldn’t argue or even move. I just lay there crying and wondering what she was doing. But it finally dawned on me while her elbow was crashing itself into a sensitive area under my shoulder blade (from whence I discovered an appropriate title to this post), that even though she wasn’t directly massaging the injured area, she knew better than I did what the injury needed, knew how the muscles of the body connected to each other better than I did, and little by little the pain subsided. When this understanding lighted on me the tears fell much more heavily, not from pain but from the impression washing over me that God knew what He was doing with my life, even if I didn’t. I couldn’t comprehend a shred of what was going on in many huge respects, or how the painful events would free me from the agonizing psychological terrors I endured, but the Lord did.
As for the sensei…sigh. I am sure at some point I will have to admit intellectual defeat on that one…ahem…give me a minute….