Difficult Spaces and Good Growth


A couple weeks ago a friend texted me a question that brought back memories of when my son Everett wore a helmet. He was only a few weeks old when I noticed his head was maybe not as round as it should be. And his neck was stiff, not wanting to turn to the right. 

I mentioned my concerns to our pediatrician. The good news: it could be worse. The bad news: we would have to do something about it. 

We spent the next eight weeks going to physical therapy. He became stronger and his range of motion improved. Unfortunately the shape of his head did not. 

Next up was the orthotics clinic where his head was measured from every angle. The numbers were crunched and the determination made that he would need to wear a corrective helmet. He was fitted with a sky blue helmet the day after Christmas. 

The helmet came with a learning curve. The first few times I put it on did not go well. I was surprised by how hard it was to stretch the helmet over his head. I pinched his ears. He cried. 

“How long do you think he will have to wear this thing?” I asked. 

The clinician responded with something truly revolutionary (to me): the helmet doesn’t actually reshape his head. Instead, the helmet holds the head where we don’t want it to grow and creates space for future growth to happen in the right directions. 

And since heads aren’t like chia pets, he would be in the helmet for a while as millimeter by millimeter his head grew. Sweaty, uncomfortable growth. But growth nonetheless.

When I’m feeling stuck, trapped, or uncomfortable, my tendency is to look for the escape hatch. Or to write the time off. But what if God has bigger plans for these difficult spaces? 

The reality is we will continue to grow, one way or another. And this begs the question: will it be good growth? 

Sweaty and uncomfortable growth, yes, but growth in the right direction. Lord, may this be my prayer.

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