March 17, 2019
From my office at the church to the main office is only about 12 feet. A couple of weeks ago I decided to cross what I dubbed as “the expanse” from the one to the other. It is much easier to roll in the wheelchair or to walk with a cane, but I decided to make that crossing on my own. The office staff cheered me on, and I felt accomplished. The more substantial challenge would still face me, the Atlantic.
The gulf between my office and the men’s restroom is vast. On Wednesday of last week, I decided to set my sails and cross that ocean. I pretty much began second-guessing myself about 20 steps into my journey. What if I fell? The “what ifs” began to swell in my head. Our volunteer receptionist pressed into the book she reading and did not look up. I’m quite convinced that she was praying and chose not to watch my awkward advance. It took nearly 10 minutes to make it to the restroom and opening the door was a challenge in and of itself. After taking care of business, I leaned against the wall and took a couple of deep breaths. Should I call my assistant and ask for help? My pride simply said no. And I once again set out to conquer the open sea. About halfway across I hate debated stopping for brake and with a high table in the lobby but decided I merely needed to walk. My friend, Pam, noticed as I approached my office and began cheering me on. When I finally sat down, I was exhausted but hopeful.
Many of you who are reading will want to applaud the accomplishment, but what I discovered and continue to learn is that fear can be paralyzing. The crazy thing is when I take steps it is not the weakness in my left leg, but rather the fear of falling that causes my strong leg to come up short. My right step is stunted because my brain is telling me I need to compensate for the limitations of my left.
I want to take back the many times I used the verse that states “Perfect love casts out fear.” I trust God implicitly. I know Jesus loves me. Am I still fearful with you each step? Certainly. When you stand 6 feet tall, it is a long way to ground. It would be safer and more comfortable to rely on assistance. None of us remember learning to walk, and that is a good thing. Babies fall, pick themselves up, and continue. They do not even consider the fact that each step is a dangerous journey. Somehow I need to remember that lesson. I need to take my eyes off my feet and look straight ahead toward the ultimate goal, that I’ll be able to pop back on the bike or chase students on the field at camp.
I chose the metaphor of the Atlantic which is a smaller ocean than the one closest to us, the Pacific. I have not yet decided what that looks like, but I will continue to train so when I face it I will successfully be able to cross.