It Hurts When I Do This

I'm sure we're all familiar with the old joke about a man who went to his doctor and proclaimed, "Doc, it hurts when I do this."  To which the doctor replied, "Well, don't do that."  For some reason, it wasn't as comical when I had the same conversation with Tippy this morning.  (Yes, for those of you who are wondering, I talk to my dogs.  And while their communication to me may not be vocal--although sometimes it is vocalized through growls and howls--it is certainly evident in their attitudes and body language.)

I was working in my office when I heard Tippy whining as if she were in pain.  I stopped typing and sat still to see if I could identify the problem.  The whining continued as did a scuffing sound.  Immediately, I perceived what was going on.  For her own protection, Tippy was wearing a cone around her neck.  This keeps her from chewing herself raw during the summer season where bug bites and skin irritations flourish.  My little beagle, dense though she may be, had found a way around this issue and was vigorously rubbing her bottom against the corner of the bed frame.  Unfortunately, her efforts were not gaining the desired effect.  Instead of relieving her itches, she was only irritating the already tender areas.  But she just didn't get it, so her response was to rub harder.

I lovingly pulled her away from the bed, but I couldn't keep the sarcasm from my voice.  "Baby, if it hurts, stop doing it.  Duh!  That's really common sense."  My statement was promptly followed by a heavenly thump on the head.  "That's right, child.  You need to stop doing things that are hurtful."  That stopped me in my tracks.  Me?  What things am I doing that are hurtful?  As I took the dogs for their morning walks, I pondered that question.

Naturally, my mind was immediately drawn to the sore muscles that cried out with every step I took.  Muscles that were sore from yesterday's exercise routine.  I shook my head.  No, that couldn't be what God meant.  There are some pains that are good for us.  My sore muscles were a reminder that I had done something good for my body and mind.  Sometimes good things bring good pain.  That wasn't it.  Then it hit me.  What about those caffeinated beverages I drink to keep me going?  The result is an afternoon crash that leaves me feeling more sluggish than before and keeps my body in a constant state of craving.  What about the times I feel too busy to put on the armor of God, knowing that when Satan strikes, I'll be defenseless against his deadly darts?  What about the relationships I ignore or put off for one reason or another?  Don't I understand the hurt that will occur when I need a friend to turn to and can't find one?

It really is common sense, but I fear that common sense is not all that common these days.  Day after day, we live our lives seeking instant gratification and ignoring the pain that we'll face in the near future.  We know what's right.  We know what's good for us.  We know the difference between good pain and bad pain.  Yet we choose to suffer.  Why is that?  I guess we're not much brighter than my darling little Beagle, are we?  If we were, we'd be smart enough to know that if it hurts, we should stop doing it!