Saturday, June 21, 2008

TRAVELING IN THE WHEELCHAIR OF LIFE – Part 5: "Get Up!" - June 21, 2008

Jesus said to him,
"Get up! Pick up your mat and walk."
John 5:8

Recently, I spent a frustrating afternoon of wheeling myself to and fro in our galley kitchen, bumping my wheelchair clumsily into cabinets, and rolling over various dog appendages. My coup de maitre, however, occurred when I pulled lose the bottom shelf in the refrigerator door with a wheel of my chair, spilling pickle and jam jars—which rolled all over the kitchen.

“Rex, I’d really like you to spend a few hours in this wheelchair,” I said sweetly, later that day, “so you can see what I’ve been going through.”

Rex’s answer was swift and unequivocal: “I’ll sit in a wheelchair, if and when I have to, but no sooner.”

“Not even for me?” I asked incredulously.

“No,” sweet, and simple. My hubby is a kid at heart and I thought sure that he’d jump at the opportunity to operate such a cool vehicle, performing a few wheelies to impress his girl. Slipping my feet into his shoes, I could certainly understand his perspective, so I wasn’t (too) miffed. Between his comment and my mental “shoe-fitting,” however, I did briefly contemplate tossing the delicious dinner I had so lovingly created for him in the trash. This would be a double whammy, since I rarely cook to begin with. But being a marriage and family therapist by trade, I knew that such a reactionary response would not result in a pleasant evening. So I just made him fix his own plate.

During my fourth week in the wheelchair, our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary came—and went. I was not in a celebratory mood. I want to walk into the restaurant on my own volition when we celebrate this benchmark in our marriage. Thus, I’m looking forward to dining on—hmm—succulent Alaskan King crab legs dipped in drawn butter, perhaps. Oh, and, of course, I will thoroughly enjoy my dining companion as we reminisce the past and dream for the future.

Well, the day finally arrived when my doctor said: “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Granted, that’s a paraphrase, but he gave me his blessing and sent me out the door with a few exercises to do. The joy of this day is right up there with the day my hubby proposed, our wedding day, and the births of our children. You may think I’m joking, but six weeks in a wheelchair is comparable to waiting years to meet the right man, waiting fifteen months from time of proposal until my jaunt down the aisle and back, and nine months of pregnancy (times three, equals 27 months).

I celebrated my healing with lunch at Panera Bread, followed by a leisurely shopping spree. Said spree yielded a beautiful black dress with variegated white polka-dots, to wear when we celebrate our anniversary. I have a lot to celebrate. During my tenure in the wheelchair, my long-suffering mate has been an absolute sweetheart. I’d hate to know how many trips to the fridge I sent him on, just to retrieve a Dr. Pepper or an ice cream bar. He wheeled me here, there and everywhere, loading and unloading my chair into and out of the car, in spite of his temperamental back. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that I’m the most blessed woman alive.

I’m also very grateful to God for the medical miracles that heal hurting limbs. But more than this, I am grateful because I know that my Savior would jump tall buildings at the chance to take my place in my wheelchair. He went to the cross to save me from my sins, and now he’s said, “Linda, get up!"

I am thrilled to be on my feet again. I’m putting my six weeks of obsessing about the gift of mobility to good use by preparing a series on walking, entitled, “Walking Buddies.” I hope you’ll enjoy a stroll with me.

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
… soar on wings like eagles;
… run and not grow weary,
…walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 40:31

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