I faintly recalled the intensity of a platza treatment at the Russian Baths in New York. My memory should have improved as I embraced Muttar, the young Georgian who is my platza therapist of choice. His firm grip, the sparkle that is always in his eyes, and the attire that reflects hours in the Russian sauna were reminders that he was very good at his job. As the time for my treatment came, a flood of memories filled my mind.
One of them was the singular method of taking the edge off the experience by spending as much time as you could stand in the cold pool. The pool is cold. Today was usual, in range of 35 or 36 degrees (F). As my legs began to go numb, I realized I was trying to hedge my bets. I am not sure that is what anyone really wanted. An old warning whispered in my mind; “the Master won’t put up with it. He wants us—all or nothing. Do you think you can get off with anything less?” (1 Corinthians 10.22)
As I climbed onto the pad on the third level, I realized that my attempt to take the edge off was not going to work. The heat was scorching! The reminder of not touching the walls was easily taken to heart. My heart began to race; I knew I was about to be overwhelmed. God was going to take me to a place I needed to go.
Twenty minutes later I emerged with a different attitude. The intense stretching had loosened up my back. The red oak leaves had left softening oil on my skin and a stilled heart. I was renewed. I was refreshed. I was different.
I sat out on the porch reflecting on the experience. I realized I had let fear shape my actions. Fortunately Life took charge. Even though I thought I was controlling the destination, the experience took me to a place I was avoiding. The outcome is better than I imagined, more than I could expect.