Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Baby Toe, a Tongue and a Rudder

I have a wide walk. I don’t exactly have a duck-like walk with my feet sticking out East and West when I am trying to walk North, but I do have a slight turn on each side. While this does, I believe, give me a little more stability it also leaves a few of my toes vulnerable to the objects they move by on every step. In other words, I tend to stub my toes a LOT.

So I am walking into my office in a bit of a hurry, bare-footed as usual, and I catch my baby toe on the corner of a piece of furniture. If cartoons were real it would have been one of those instances where I would see stars, moons and planets as an indication of extreme pain, and my baby toe would have grown to the size of a basketball with red shading and exclamation punctuation protruding from it. Were I a man given to swearing that would have been a good time to do it. My normal reaction is to inhale through clenched teeth and squeeze the tears from my eyes. Now, my baby toe is black and blue and swelled to the point where I cannot see the separation between the baby toe and the one next to it. Pain still leaps like an electrical shock up my leg if I attempt to clench my toes or walk.

I noticed how much I use that often ignored part of my anatomy. Really, how many times a day do you consider your baby toe? Now I consider it every step I take. I noticed my balance is a bit off and that my sandals scrunch that toe more than they should. It amazes me how important such a little, insignificant thing can be.

I think we take a lot of things like that for granted. A wise man named James wrote that though the tongue is small it controls a person’s life like the small rudder can turn a whole ship. The things we say, purposefully or inadvertently, can set the course for our lives. A damaged baby toe has changed the way I walk and think. The little things in life: toes, tongues and rudders need our attention too. What is the direction you are heading and what is taking you there?

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