The Things Within Reach

I will let you in on a little secret: for months now, I’ve been struggling with finding a sustainable balance for my emotional, physical, and spiritual health. I have been searching high and low, trying to find the “right” opinion from this expert and that app and this menu and those exercises. Nothing has stuck, everything eventually felt like a disjointed burden.

That’s when God broke my toe. — I really do think God did it. I bumped into the corner of a pallet, barefooted (as usual), and it wasn’t until later that day that I noticed how tender, swollen, and strangely bruised my toe was. “Well,” I thought, “there go my morning jogs, for now.”

I didn’t want to lose my habit of waking up early, though, so I decided that, while I was healing, I would spend that time in the mornings in focused prayer and Bible study. This was something I used to do almost every morning when I was a kid. I loved to eat breakfast with my Bible on the table, reading whatever chapters I felt inclined to read. It was when I began this that I sensed a serious shift. It felt like I had opened an old lock box I found buried in some forgotten closet.

Suddenly these old habits came flooding back, like muscle memory. Casually drinking herbal teas in the morning, praying before dawn, reading with my breakfast, speaking to others without feeling overly insecure or unqualified to have my own perspective. And it’s not like I haven’t read my Bible in all this time, or prayed, or vocalized my honest opinion. There was just something so familiar about the combination in its exact order with my very I’ll-just-do-this attitude… It all felt so easy. So lifting. So sweet, like a bite of honeycomb.

It reminds me of this passage:

“For this Instruction which I enjoin to you this day is not baffling to you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us and fetch it for us, to tell [it] to us, so that we can fulfill it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us and fetch it for us, to tell [it] to us, so that we can fulfill it?’ Rather, [this] thing is very close to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can fulfill it.” Devarim/Deuteronomy 30:11-14

Maybe, too often, we overcomplicate our approach to the things that come up in our journeys. Our goals might be ambitious and so we think our methods to reaching them need to be ambitious, too. But if even Torah itself is not far away from us, then only one truth remains:

Everything we need is within reach.

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