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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 20

A couple observations from the last week.

1. I can't believe I have not run over my toe even once.
2. I can't believe how cute my niece and nephew are.

3. I can't believe how much Stormy, Windy, and Ashley (three little girls I pick up for church) can distract me on Sunday morning.  During services, during the lesson.  They were fighting over who got to ride in the chair.  David Fields was speed wheeling them all over the place.   Normally I don't think they'd care to "ride" in a wheelchair.  It just goes to show how much fun PEOPLE can make THINGS to be.
4. Everyone is nicer to you when you are in a wheelchair.   They are always getting doors and smiling.  Its pretty cool.  I bet this works pretty good at the amusement park.

When you give something walking, its hard not to make exceptions ALL the time.  Its hard not to justify and rationalize into ever increasing license.  Sin can creep into our hearts in a very similar way.  A little, then a lot.

I love teaching high school students about the Bible.  Most of them don't know much.  Some of them know next to nothing.  Yet they understand the important stuff of what the Bible speaks to and who it speaks of.   They see inconsistency and ask good questions.   They tend not to be judgmental and are generally open minded.  Most love people who do things like sitting in a wheel chair for a month.  They soak up praise like a sponge.  They have not forgotten so many adults...what its like to be loved and cherished and adored.

I'm starting a whisper campaign that's made all the more easy now that I can see eye to eye with some of the elementary school kids.  I try to whisper the big secret, "I think you're wonderful." every chance I get.  You have to furtively look around a lot to make sure they know how big a statement it is.  "You are amazing", "You're my favorite", or "You are perfect" also work well.

We had so much fun at trunk or treat last Wednesday.  I got some cool ideas for next year.  A "Hall o Lu" seems like a fun play off of hallelujah.  Maybe we could call it something new.  I just don't think the kids care much about the name if they are getting candy.  Some of the costumes were pretty scary.....

I am still upset I didn't shave my head and try to be Professor X.

I made my first trip to the grocery store this week.  Thanks Shea.  Grocery stores sure are easy to roll around in with a wheelchair.  Next time I'm going to try one of those motorized little carts they have.

I walked a little again this Saturday.  I've been stretching so I wasn't nearly as sore today as I was last time but my knees are achy.

Hope you guys are doing well.  I'm off to do some babysitting.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 13 - Soreness

Yesterday I got a call from an old friend.  Ken was a student in the campus ministry when I arrived at Clemson 11 years ago.  Now Ken is a doctor with his own practice in Chattanooga, TN.  Clemson had a football game so we planned to get together for dinner after the traffic died down.  When I got to the church, Ken called and said they were still windowshopping and wanted to know if I could meet them downtown.  I knew parking would be rough so I decided to walk.  This was by far the most I had walked in 12 days.  Maybe half a mile round trip.  Up to this time the most I had walked was from my truck to the door of someone I was doing Bible study with or a Meals on Wheels recipient.  I knew it might be difficult.......but it was so nice stretching the legs and strolling around!  I took my time and enjoyed it.  And then this morning came, and my calves felt like they had been put through a grinder.  After only 11 days, a 1/2 mile walk left me aching.  Can you believe that?  A little inactivity left me seriously debilitated.  lol.  Its crazy how quickly we lose the things we don't use.

For the last couple weeks I have not been praying like I should and have suffered for it spiritually.  I looked down at my skinny legs today and realized that any where I want to go in this life, and I mean who I want to be, who God wants me to be, these legs are not going to get me there.  I prayed for God to take me where my strength, my will and my effort will always fall short.  I want to walk to the spiritual mountaintop.  I know it involves me.  Its just not something I can do on my own.  I started realizing there are a lot of spiritual muscles I've probably not exerted in some time.  I started wondering if there was such a thing as spiritual soreness.  I would guess so.  Some aches and pains always accompany growth and conditioning.  Its a good sore though.  Its the kind of sore when you know you are better off than you were before; the kind of sore you know will eventually pass.  I believe God has something incredibly special in store for me.    I don't know why I believe that.  I just do.  And if I'm going to be ready to take advantage of his blessings I've got a lot of stretching and straining to do.  I need to prepare.  I'm now wondering if these great blessings God is wanting to give have been delayed until I was ready.  He doesn't want me to fail any more that I do.  Don't get me wrong, I already feel blessed beyond measure.  Its just I think there may be something new I have just begun to fathom.  I don't know.  I guess I will just have to wait and see.

Hopefully next week my knees will be as sore as my calves are today.

Well hope you are doing well.  I pray your walk with him has been glorious this week!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 6 - Walking by Faith

I was thinking how many songs/hymns/scriptures have to do with walking with God.  Yeah though I walk through valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil....I know walking with God doesn't necessarily mean "WALKING" but when you're skoot skootin around in a wheelchair the idea of strolling along with God, stretching the legs, exerting the muscles,........well that sounds significantly sweeter today than it did a week ago.

I know most of you have heard of Team Hoyt.  If not you need to check out their website  Its the story of a father and son who run through life together.

The Father (Dick), loves to run because it brings such joy to his son (Rick) who can't.  Yet they share the experience together.  I realized today how much joy the "shared experience" is and how much joy my experiment has brought me. I wheeled over to my Monday Bible study today with Faye.  She has MS and is always in her wheelchair.  I could stand anytime I wanted.  She could not.  Yet we both sat and wheeled around the room.  We talked and opened our Bibles to study together.  We have been doing this for years.  We have been doing this long enough to become comfortable with and often confide in each other.   We had a shared history.

I think God would love for us to share our experiences/history with him as well.  He wants to share in our joys and bring comfort in our failures.  He wants to heal our hurts and exalt in our triumphs.  We talk about a relationship with God.  Maybe the problem we have with prayer is not our willingness to talk.  Maybe its our lack of shared experiences to talk about.  

I had to walk a little today to do my Meals on Wheels route.  The only thing that hurt was the bottoms of my feet.  A teensy bit unsteady at first but not much.  We'll see how that might change in about three weeks.  lol.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 2 - Almost really needing a wheelchair.

Yesterday my friend Shea picked me up to go eat lunch with another friend Jay.  After scooching into her truck, we discovered my door wouldn't shut.  Slam the door, Slam, Slam, Slam.....nope that's not going to work.  It looked like the latch in the door was caught and wouldn't disengage. We decided I would just hold it shut until we got to the restaurant.  Well a wrong turn and 3/4 U turn into oncoming traffic later and I realized the pretend need for a wheelchair and the actual need weren't that far apart.

Anyways, wheeled right into Fatz and had a great meal.  I think people might be nicer to you when they think you can't walk.  People were getting doors and chumming it up with me pretty well.

Have you ever ran out of gas 20 feet from the pump?  I hadn't either but Shea managed it today.  lol.   I think she had mixed emotions.  It may have been like when I left my wallet in Wal Mart with 100 bucks.  Someone benevolently turned it in with 20 dollars.  Kind of thankful.  Kind of irritated.

A sweet lady from church brought me a little bicycling mechanism so I can exercise my legs a little and not get atrophy.  My plan is not to "walk".  I have stood up a couple times.  I needed to walk for about 20 feet today once to meet Mary for a bible study, the second to get the Myers clan for church.  I wheeled out to the van, threw the chair in the back and walked to the drivers seat.

(spending 10 minutes scooching in the passenger side and trying to pull the chair in after me= utter failure)
I'm sure if anyone saw me it would have been a great laugh.

Anyways, at church, the kids loved wheeling me around.  It is the first experiment that all the kids were envious of.  Everyone under the age of 10 wanted a "ride".  They also all wanted a turn pushing me around.  I was happy to oblige.   I might be sick.  I definitely can't sleep.  Regardless of these slight inconveniences .........Overall a good day.  

This will be me by the end of this 40 days!!!  lol.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 1 - Me and my Wheelchair

I found this sweet wheelchair at salvation army.  Now of course sweet simply means "my first wheelchair" since I know absolutely nothing about them (which I will get to later).  I had goofed around on them at various elderly homes I visited over the years.  Wheelies and speed racing, you get the picture.  This wheelchair doesn't have mold.  It is skinnier than others I've seen, and it is black.  Thus it is super cool.  Only slightly less cool than this......

Not quite as heavy though.  No problem, as long as it rolls!  I took the feet rest way they would stretch out far enough for my long legs.  I then started my in house practice runs.  It took me about 3 minutes before I almost flipped over backwards!  I discovered late last night that my 1929 home may be one of the most inaccessible handicap facilities in America.  I have all these 2 inch lips from room to room.

I was trying to get over one of these lips by leaning back while simultaneously rolling forward.  Bad move.  That's when my roommate pointed out the breaker bars on the back of the chair.  I don't know if that's what they are called but they are specifically made to keep you from flipping over backwards.  Good to know.

I have stairs out my front and back doors positioned in such a way making it impossible to get out much less get down.  Crap.  What am I going to do now?  I sat there thinking about this for awhile.   Finally, I thought maybe if I could open the door and build up enough speed maybe I could propel myself out the door down the stairs.

NO good.  Ummm....I could  back up over the stairs but those little breaker bars didn't look like they could hold that much weight.  I finally decided to go out to the shed and get some two by fours.  I laid them under the stairs to stagger the drop.  I almost fell over but it worked.

I'm not going to bore you with details but my hands are sore, my arms are sore, my thighs are sore.  This handicap thing is no easy gig.  Oh and it was raining today.  It took me about 3 minutes to get from the steps to the car, 5 minutes from the car into the church.    Robert picked me up.  David dropped me off.

Things I learned today that I will describe later in more detail.
1. Its hard to stop a fast moving wheelchair on wet asphalt.
2. Before making wheelchair purchase check to see if it pulls hard to the left.
3. Going to the bathroom takes technique.
4. Before starting wheelchair experiment, remember to move necessary dishes to lower shelves (good thing for go go gadget arms).
5. Our office area at the church is the second most inaccessible building in the U.S.
6. I really really really really really really really like to walk.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 40

Well the silence is over!!!!!!  AT LAST!!!!!  FREE AT last!!!!  This 40 may have been the toughest, even though I made more exceptions in this stretch than I have for any other.  I like to talk.  I enjoy being heard.  Even though I am naturally introverted, being able to speak and connect with folks is a blessing I will hopefully NEVER take for granted.  I am thankful for you voice.

Silence observations.......if Jesus sought it, we can bank on it being good for us as well.  Silence sets the mood.  One of my good friends loved the joke, "You know how we know there won't be any women in heaven?".  "No.", I said.  "Revelation 8:1 says, 'When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.'"  He loved that joke.  As an 82 year old man telling it from the pews in the middle of worship service, it brought down the house.  All I know is there is indeed something heavenly about the occasional silence.  There is a holiness that can dwell in that space that cannot dwell anywhere else.  I kind of like the meditative tradition we have in our communion service.  I don't think the communion time has to be quiet time.  Yet quiet time is reflective time, important for us in our spiritual mindsets.  It allows a holiness to rest specially on the temporal space we designate for the Lord's supper.

Now its time to stop walking.  Ugghh..  I am excited and dreading it.  I love to walk.  I need to find a good wheelchair.  That is my goal for tomorrow so I can start this experiment come Tuesday.  Goodwill purchases and pharmacy rentals will be my focus.  I have no idea how much they will cost.  I suppose I'll need something for the shower as well.  I'm worried I'm going to have to go to the bathroom and not be able to make it in time.  I plan on doing some leg stretches and exercise to fight atrophy.  My goal is not to walk, so I may still drive if I can figure out how to get in and out of the car with the wheelchair.  I guess we will see.  I'm sure there will be some interesting stories to share.  Anyways.  Hope you are all doing well.  I have several people I need to call in the next couple days.  Its been so long since I've been on the phone.

So long kiddos.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day 33

Matthew 12:36-37

36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Our words are powerful.  What we say makes a difference.  Yet, holding our tongue, may be even more significant.  What we don't say may be even more important than what we do.  

Yesterday I went to an older lady's home to help her with some chores. She made me lunch and then began a mostly one sided  Somehow she started talking about politics and espoused some beliefs that I certainly don't agree with.  I just listened.  I wasn't angered nor did I feel a particular desire to engage in any sort of debate.  I was content just listening and hearing her perspective.  After listening for a while I had to excuse myself and be about some other activities.  I received a text from her shortly afterwards apologizing for her political polemic.  Of course I told her "no worries".  It really wasn't a big deal. Yet, it got me thinking.  I have never had anyone apologize to me after sharing their views whether religious, political or otherwise.  Could it have been the lack of response that resonated with her?  Maybe.  But I am becoming convinced about how powerful silence and the peace that often accompanies it can be.

Last night I watched my Clemson Tigers move to 5-0 on the year.  I was so into this game.  I wanted to scream at the refs, but couldn't.  I wanted to complain but couldn't.  Even though I could make some signs of disgust, being upset was unsatisfying.  Celebration however was a different story.  I high fived, ran around, pumped my fists, jumped up and down.  It was gratifying.  Now maybe these reactions were simply a result of the athletic outcome.  Or maybe they speak to something else.  Maybe they speak to nature of silence.  I've never really thought of it as a conduit before but now I'm seeing things differently.  In silence my perspective is framed distinctly.  I think about and process things differently.  Is this worth saying?  Is it worth the effort?  How can I write a thought in a few words that I normally would've expressed with many?

It is fascinating.  I love preaching and teaching now more than I ever have before.  I cherish my designated moments of "exception".

Every word is precious.