I don’t mind the work. It isn’t actually all that hard. And the gratification that comes with seeing the result is virtually instantaneous. But what I do mind is the traditional aftermath. My wife uses gloves; but I prefer to spread the straw barehanded. I cannot properly grasp and disseminate the straw otherwise.
But the consequence of this approach is the inevitable finger or two full of very small splinters. And this time around was no different. While I managed to remove the more obvious ones, I also managed to overlook as few of the more deeply imbedded ones. About 24 hours later, however, their subcutaneous presence was evident by the pain they caused.
My right index finger, especially, contained two or three such minute splinters. The pain I experienced whenever my finger came into contact with most any object clearly confirmed their presence. Fortunately, with a straight pin and the skill of a surgeon, it only took my wife about five or six minutes to find and remove them all; and I came away from the whole experience none the worse for wear.
The soreness of my finger, however, brought to mind a story I once heard. It seems that a certain man went to the doctor and complained of being sore all over his body. The doctor asked him to point to where the pain was; which he did.
First he placed his finger on his neck, and complained of the pain there. Then, he touched his shoulder with the same result. Next came his abdomen, followed by his thigh, and last his foot – each in turn producing the same evident pain.
At this point, the doctor seemed to draw his conclusions, and made some notes on his chart. Eager for the diagnosis, the man pleaded with the doctor… “What’s my problem, doc? Why do I hurt everywhere I touch?” “It’s fairly obvious,” the doctor replied, “that you have a broken finger!”
The point of this little story is that some people go through life with a litany of complaints, all of which are leveled against outside factors - their circumstances, other people, etc… Some even blame God Himself for all their troubles.
But the truth is that they themselves, and not these other entities, are very often the source of their continual conflict, pain, and/or discomfort.
One of the wisest men I ever knew once told me that whenever a new person moved into this neighborhood, he would ask him about his former neighbors. The new neighbor was apt to give one of two responses. Either he would say that his former neighbors were wonderful people with whom he got along fine, and who he greatly respected and missed; or he would say that his former neighbors were terrible people, the likes of whom he was now quite glad to be rid.
But either way, the wise man would now know exactly what sort of neighbor he could now expect to have in the new resident. For how this individual got along with his previous neighbors was a pretty good indication of how he would now get along with his new ones!
All of this compels each of us to ask a question or two. Do I, do you, or does anyone either of us knows seem to experience a life of continual conflict, pain, and/or discomfort? If so, do I, do you, do they find it all too easy to affix blame for this on some other, external cause or causes?
Under such circumstances, might we be better served to undertake a little self-examination, and ascertain whether we ourselves just might be the source of our own continued misery? If we do find such to be the case, what can we then do to work on our own faulty perspective?
The effort to find and then fix the true source of our ongoing misery may not be pleasant; but take it from one who no longer suffers from a sore finger. It will be well worth it!