Softened Soles

Justified by the bumblebee spotted just two days ago, my whitened and softened bare feet dare explore the fresh grass once again.  Sensitivities so long clothed ignite, heightening the awareness of the cool softness seeping from my toes to my head.  Forgotten springtime pleasures entice me to stroll, across the yard and mindlessly onto the gravel cluttered asphalt.  The reward of carefree wanderings is quick and terrible:  searing inescapable pain, driving a hasty retreat.  I am reminded that mine are yet springtime feet.  Weeks of bare footed  roaming will be the task master to toughen my soles.  By summer's end I may be able to meander across stones with less agony.  But by then the pleasure of a grass carpeted stroll will be lost to the hardened soles of my feet.

The journey of my soul is also marked by seasons of protection and freedom.  Like my toes aching for some wiggle room in winter, too often my anxious soul wrestles for freedom from limitations and protection, ignorant of the the perils from which it is being kept.  In rebellion I seek to shed the layers clothing my soul and staving the harsh elements.  Should escape ever be obtained out of season, the result would be devastating and destructive.  Like bare feet on a winter trek, my soul would be headed for death.  Many hard learned lessens are proving the need of my soul for shelter, rest, and boundaries.  As I submit to closed doors, negative responses to prayer, silence of divine whispers, and authoritative reigning of my disobedience, my calloused soul is softened, prepared to again know the joys of spring.  Upon it's arrival, I revel in my soul's spring and summer joyous revelations of long unseen or uncomprehended truth.  Alas, my human preoccupation causes a neglect in the course of my journey and growing familiarity with new discoveries leads to indifference.
Eventually I find myself a calloused soul in autumn.  I may boast of my independence and ability to navigate stony paths in bare feet, but my Master knows my peril and graciously begins to surround me in protective clothes.  I struggle against the smothering and question the reason and timing.  I resent the shrinking range to wander, forgetting that these wanderings have long lost the fresh exuberance known in the spring.  Somehow I only remember the pain of the first attempts at crossing the stony way and have come to see my confident self sufficient marches across the same ways as growth and progress.  For my own good and even for my own pleasure, my Lord inflicts the limitations of winter upon me to ensure I will again know the wonder of spring through softened soul sensitivities.  This earthly life will harden me against the thrills of eternity unless I give myself over to the all knowing care of my Creator.

I am in a constant winter while traversing this earth.  My growth is not so much of gaining strength than it is of softening my soul for an eternal spring.  The short lived earthly spring and my softened soles here know pleasure and pain.  But my progressively softened soul will some day know only complete, uninterrupted, joy and wonder.  Pain will not be coupled with the pleasure and I will have no opportunities to forget the wonder I will forever be experiencing and discovering.  "[In my Saviour's presence] there [will be] pleasures for evermore" Psalm 16:11.  sigh