Okay, so this past weekend I spent the two days taking my first steps into the world of Sports Massage. Stepping into the unknown is always somewhat daunting, but never more soy for me that this weekend's experience. The thing about massage is that it is literally "hands on". Who knows how one is going to react personally to applying massage to people one doesn't know. Will you be able to do it in a way that makes them feel comfortable, will you feel comfortable?
In the end, I really enjoyed my new learning experience and I've signed up for the full diploma course! So for the next 11 months or so I'll be a sports massage therapist in training! After that, who knows how things will take shape. We will have to wait and see.
I was really surprised at how much I learnt in just two days. Doing the final "full-body" massage on Sunday afternoon was a chance to put all the things we'd been learning together. Managing the time is quite difficult. How do you work out how long to spend on one leg before moving onto the other one? some of that clearly comes with experience and also with what you find. The tendency we all had was to want to look at what we were doing rather than letting our hands give us the feedback. We learnt that looking up was important for our posture.
I think the other thing we all discovered was how much effort it takes to do good massage. This isn't just lightly stroking someone's back, this is hard work! Learning to use your own body weight and to push through your legs and hips, not using your arms and shoulders takes a lot of concentration and effort at first. But it soon became more natural.
As I type this post, I'm listening to some worship from Hillsongs. It reminds me that what I'm doing is not replacing my ministry, it's reshaping it. I may never preach again, but this weekend I had more meaningful interactions with people who wouldn't consider church an option than I've had in too long. I've had my faith challenged as I was asked all sorts of interesting questions and sought to give open, honest answers.
It may be a new direction, but the good news remains the same, the passion for the lost remains intact, the desire to be shaped by the hands of God in accordance with his purposes is still at the heart of everything. I never want to lose sight of that.