Update, 11/24/13 – title changed to include ‘Hotspots’, instead of ‘Hot Legs.’
Just short of five years ago, I went through an extended season in which I repeatedly noticed an unusual warm spot on the top of my left thigh. Initially, I noticed the sensation like one might slowly become aware of a distracting noise in the distance, on an otherwise quiet afternoon. It felt like the heat you might expect from sitting in pleasant sunshine, but it was contained in an area about the diameter of a golf ball. I carry my wallet in my left front pocket, and when the sensation began occurring, I distractedly wondered why my wallet was suddenly making my leg so hot. Then I noticed the spot seemed to migrate down toward my knee and back up, proving that my wallet wasn’t a player in the hot spot genesis.
The hot spot would appear and disappear with no apparent associated physical stimulus. There was no trauma, however mild, to my thigh, that would have explained one instance of the heat, much less repeated and roving visitations. I have regular chiropractic care and no spinal trauma. Close inspection of my skin showed nothing that might indicate infection or rash, not that the sensation was indicative of anything destructive. To the contrary, there was an inexplicably comforting quality to it. And ultimately, I decided the hot spot (HS) was shelter and companionship offered on behalf of the Holy Spirit.
No more than a week before the onset of the HS in my leg, I had entered with atom-splitting flair into what turned out to be my own personal Dark Night of the Soul. Over the course of the following year, a great many things I valued in life were put on ice or through a shredder or into a lock box for which there was no key ever made. Figuratively speaking. I don’t want to make it sound more pleasant than it actually was. The point is, this HS came on the scene at a point when its curiously comforting presence stood in the most stark contrast possible to the rest of my life. At my desk in the office; at the wheel of my car; lying in bed just being amazed about how bad life could get – no matter where I was or what I was doing, there was as good a chance as not that the HS would pop in and hang out for a while.
The HS came and went with no warning, fanfare, or ‘BRB’ for something like a year and a half, maybe two. And then it stopped coming. As suddenly and subtly as it had crept into my consciousness and quadriceps, so abruptly did it cease its appearances. Months passed before I noticed its prolonged absence. I wondered at the whole phenomenon. But not for long. Life had moved on, and there were terrible dragons to slay. God was in the process of teaching me how to slay said dragons by first taking away all of my armor, weapons, legs, arms, etc. There is little question now that my personal orientation guide for the training process had been an unpredictable guest that said, “I love you! Now, you won’t be needing those hands and feet anymore…”
Then some stuff happened every day for a couple of years or so.
Two weeks back I was driving in my car. I noticed the back of my left calf was really hot. This awareness was a couple of levels removed from full attention, situated behind other concerns: “What’s that strange rumbling in my engine? When’s the last time I checked my oil? How can I afford the repairs necessary to get that warning light off before my next vehicle inspection?” and “Lunch.” Then, “My calf is hot.” My thoughts moved on to other interests, agenda, praying without ceasing, etc. And then again, “My calf is still hot.” I wondered if the heater in my car was somehow blowing right on the back of my calf. For the first time ever, from a vent in front of my legs and under the dash? Through my long pants? “Maybe it’s my socks.” The same socks I’ve owned and worn for two years?
The next day, I was at my desk in the office, grinding through the tasks at hand. “My calf is hot again.” But this time, the hot area was larger and actually more insistent. “Maybe it’s my socks still.” Except I had on shorts and ankle socks now. Back into work thoughts. “How many years can one human fake an interest in IT work without being found out?” Then, “Man, my calf is HOT.” The entire back of my lower left leg felt like the inside of a stove top burner that was slowly heating to the desired setting. Then, quietly and in full awareness, “It’s back.”
And so it was. The same sunlight-shining-on-the-inside sensation, moving around at will; the same unannounced comings and goings; the same sense that God was smiling on me. Only in a noticeably changed place in my leg. I couldn’t help but reflect on all that had happened since this friend last came to visit. I sat and wondered what this scene looked like with spiritual goggles. Man, life is interesting.
That night, I lay in bed, preparing to sleep. My left calf was hilariously evident and alert, buried as it was under flannel pants, a sheet, a blanket, and the afghan quilt that my grandmother used to cover us up with when we’d work crossword puzzles together on her couch. I was ready to fade out for the night, and my leg kept right on doing whatever it was doing down there. Curiously, I took note of another warm-ish spot on my right knee. Then sleep.
The following morning, my calf was still going. And my right knee had fully joined the festivities. The spot on my knee that I’d noticed the night before was completely engaged by the time I got to the office. Over the course of the day the heat had spread from my knee up through my thigh. It was the same sensation that had been a staple of my left thigh for a couple of years; same warmth that moved around, only my right thigh heat was moving a lot more rapidly, changing shapes and getting relatively intense.
So the HS was back. And with some apparent purpose and hint of an edge. “This time we’ll be doing something a little different,” it seemed to be saying.
I emailed the instructor of a class I’ve been attending, where some folks who are mature in various spiritual gifts teach to others what they have learned. I explained to the instructor what had been happening with the HS, giving a brief history of activity from a few years ago, with emphasis on the the current manifestations in my legs. He replied and told me that he believed I was possibly experiencing words of knowledge that would help me know how to pray for someone who had legitimate physical problems in those areas.
I wondered about the possibilities. The right knee and thigh thing didn’t ring any bells, with regard to possible prayer victims. There’s one person in my life who has a known and chronic problem in his calf, due to injury. I texted my friend who has the calf problem and explained what had been going on, and I told him it was my left calf that was going nuts. He replied and told me that it was his left calf, also, that was injured. We mutually decided this was pretty cool. I told him that I would pray at his leg when I saw him the following Sunday. I had a brief notion that I should drive to his house right then and pray for him that night, or at least before Sunday. But I blew right by that, thinking I’d just ride out the heat wave for the rest of the week and pray when it was convenient for both of us. And when I say ‘both of us’, I mostly mean ‘me’.
The next day, both legs were still activated in their respective locations. My left calf was so hot that I could feel heat bouncing off my pant leg back on to my skin. My right thigh was roasting. I started getting a little freaked out. I poked around online, using a search string of ‘hot spot leg holy spirit’, or some such thing. I found several message boards where people talked about mysterious hot spots that traveled around in their bodies. By and large, the posters described the same symptoms I was experiencing, in the same generally incredulous tone. “WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON WITH ME I HAVE HOT SPOTS MOVING ALL OVER MY ARM/LEG/EAR/WHATEVER?!!” A few concerned people visited doctors. The various doctors prescribed anything from vitamins to MRIs to nothing. On one particular message forum, a poster reported that his wife told him the hot spots were the promptings of the Holy Spirit. He asked for any feedback on that point, but got none. Which was disappointing. I didn’t find any other relevant results in my web search.
That evening, in a seemingly unrelated venture, I spent some time deliberately engaged in rawtha bawdy thoughts. Then sleep.
I awoke the next morning and noted with some thinly disguised concern that my right thigh HS was gone. Nowhere to be found. I shook my leg for a bit, hoping to re-animate the HS. No go. Frustration and rationalization. “Oh, well…I still have the HS in my left calf. You know, that one I’m going to rely on for praying away my friend’s injury on Sunday. It will be really cool for God to use me in such a powerful way. I’ll be really humble about it and make jokes about getting a wizard hat.” My calf was discernibly less active that morning. Then, in a seemingly unrelated venture, which I doggedly maintained was seemingly unrelated despite convincing circumstantial evidence to the contrary, I engaged in rawtha bawdy thoughts. Again.
Immediately, my calf HS was gone. As in ‘gone, to not return’, lo these many days later. I was at once chastened and really frustrated. Had I been primed to pray away a situation that presents an ongoing concern for someone who is a good friend of mine? Did I toss that chance away, in exchange for rebelliously lusting after someone I’ve got no business thinking of in that way? Looked like it. Man, life sure is interesting, and I learned a valuable lesson that day.
On that note I’ll wrap up this portion of what has turned into a gigantic chunk of words. To be continued when time permits.
Also, it will apparently be yet another week or so before there is any update regarding the man referenced in ‘Hello Man. Hello World.’
Update, 11/24/13 – Man is evidently not eager to discuss the dream situation. I will not mention this again until I have more information.