Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kicking Against These Goads.

I often resist anything involving discipline, or correction, or the general feeling that I'm wrong about something. But, as it turns out, I often AM wrong about things, and do need that discipline and correction.

That happened today. It didn't take long for me to appreciate the correction, which at the tender age of 34 1/2, is sadly still a relatively new accomplishment for me. 

Even odder than my sooner-than-usual gratitude for the correction was the reflection on other areas that much discipline is required for me, and how I should appreciate that, even when I'm the one who has to administer it. (Even after more than a decade of playing it, adulthood can still be a very tricky game for this redhead.)

The whole thought process reminded me of a lyric in one of Caedmon's Call's songs, "Where I Began."  The group sings, "Kicking against these goads sure did cut up my feet / Did Your hands get bloody as they washed them clean?"

The first time I really listened to that song, I was curious and had to look up the word "goad." So, with the risk of thoroughly disgusting every English/composition instructor I've ever had or known, I type the next few words.

Webster defines "goad" as: 1. a stick with a pointed or electrically charged end, for driving cattle, oxen, etc.; prod.; 2. anything that pricks or wounds like such a stick.; 3. something that encourages, urges, or drives; a stimulus.

And as it did that first time I looked it up, seeing the definition now brings to mind all the discomfort of discipline. 

Sometimes it physically hurts (look me up the day after a hard workout). 

Sometimes it emotionally hurts (I can describe way too many details of the day last year that my soul was so wounded by someone's words I felt I could barely breathe).

Sometime it takes its toll on the ego (who wants to be told they're wrong -- ever?).

But always -- whether it's well communicated, poorly spoken, or doled out in a negative or positive manner -- discipline takes its toll on the action or lack of action that brought on the corrective measures. Pavlov's dog is a prime example.

Chances are, I won't stop messing up or being wrong, even after I turn 35. Or even (gasp!) 40. 

And, with any measurement of grace dealt to me, I won't stop being disciplined for those wrongdoings.

So as I see it, the only variable here is how I'll react to discipline. I can kick against the goads, cut up my feet, and have to deal with the wounds and scars. Or, I can accept discipline as the gift that it is and learn from it with grace.

Let's hope I'll choose the latter, early and often. Goodness knows that after three decades, I've done enough of the former.

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