(Picture of me and Jerry Pattee, the President of UCP Oregon and Southern Washington)
Just in the nick of time, I got my new scooter. It’s a beauty. It does everything I need it to and it is light enough for one person to load into the back of a car! Our first adventure with the scooter was to a UCP (United Cerebral Palsy) Family Conference last weekend.
There were all kinds of speakers and vendors there. While talking to one of the mobility vendors, I told him about the sad saga of my scooter and said, “At least I got two blogs out of the experience!” I gave him my blog site and in a couple of hours, he came back to me and said, “You didn’t finish the story of your scooter!” So there you go, the end of the story is that I am happy and on the road again!
The keynote speaker at this conference was Julie Keon, whose experience raising a daughter with medical fragility has led her to become a writer and blogger. Her talk, entitled ‘Ten Pearls of Wisdom I Gained in Ten Years’ was filled with touching and inspiring stories of struggle and hope. I looked around the room and saw tired mothers and dads with faces full of worry and concern. Some were in the middle of a struggle where it is hard to grasp that there is hope. Julie talked about how she had to put away the expectations that she’d had while she was pregnant with her baby in order to go forward. She learned to be thankful each day that her daughter lived and breathed. Just a few years ago, Julie had trouble breathing too. After several tests, there were still no answers. Eventually, she talked with a vocal coach who had her take a deep breath, and she told Julie that the reason she was having trouble is because she was holding her breath. She’d didn’t even realize that ever since her daughter was born, she’d been afraid to breathe deeply.
There have been a lot of times that I haven’t been aware of the stress I was carrying, for instance, when I was in junior high, I had a mouth full of canker sores and a chronic upset stomach, which was later diagnosed as a ‘nervous stomach’ due to moving to a public school.
I thought about my own mom raising a child with Cerebral Palsy, without the internet or very much support. There must have been times when she found it hard to breathe too! Do you know the areas in your life that scare you, or knock the wind out of you?
A few weeks ago, I posted about the untimely death of my scooter. So, here is the next installment of the scooter saga. Actually, it began several months ago when I was stranded in the airport. Thankfully, I was able to make it to my destination; Montana. I was there to visit my mom who suggested that I buy a new scooter. I said, “No mom, I can get this fixed!” It seemed frivolous at the time to buy a whole new scooter. She replied, “If my car kept breaking down, would you think it was frivolous to replace it?” I thought about it and felt like the scooter worked well enough; until a few weeks ago.
Since then, I’ve been shopping around for a new one. I called a friend and he recommended a guy that sold him his scooter. So I called him up and he brought one out to show me. I took it for a short spin and told him it would work. After he left, I took it out for a longer jaunt and got stuck on a speed bump in the parking lot of my apartment complex. I hated to call him back, but I knew I needed to.
So he came out a second time and brought a different scooter that sailed over the speed bumps at lightening speed, and left my friends who were walking with me in the dust. I was sold! The next day, I took it to a writing conference and had some trouble maneuvering it, but I thought that eventually it would loosen up and be all right. So the following day, I gave it one last big test. My friend picked me up for an event and she and my son-in-law loaded it into her car before we took off. It was much heavier than my last scooter and almost impossible for her to load by herself.
When the guy dropped it off, he said, drive it and test it, but that night, I weighed the pros and cons. Power versus practicality. Were the inconveniences of the scooter worth calling him again and saying, “Now this one isn’t going to work either!” I decided to call this morning and let him know that this scooter flunked the test too. He was pretty understanding when I told him why and then I explained what I needed.
There are a lot of things in our lives that we just put up with because we don’t want to inconvenience anyone or seem like a pest. But when we don’t make our needs known, we wind up in a bigger bind than we started with! We can wind up resentful. But when we speak up about what we need, it lends itself to more freedom in our own lives and our relationships. Is there something in your own life that is eating little holes in your heart? Do you need to speak up about it?
This weekend at the rockin’ Rock Creek women’s retreat, the theme was ‘keys and gates.’ Saturday afternoon, we were asked to look at pictures of gates and doors and pick one that inspired us. I did, but quickly forgot about it. Abundant morning when everyone was sharing about their experience, I could not remember which one I had chosen. Finally I remembered, but by that time, my eyes had been drawn to a different picture.
It was a picture of a double doors with stained glass on them; one part of the door was shut, but the other part was opened just a little ways. Through the crack in the door, I saw an inviting light. It just drew me in!
As I thought about that picture, I remembered how frustrating it’s been to have so many doors closed to me my life. I could have let the disappointment of not getting a job right out of college stop me cold, but l I saw that the light of the Lord was inviting me into a deeper fellowship then I could have imagined. What a great honor it is to be in communion with Him. The more I’m drawn to Him, the less I bang my head against the doors that are shut. It is easier to relax and trust that God has greater plans than I do. Step by step, God has shown me that my plan to support myself by working in the field of disability is just a fraction of His plans.
The glass on the door represented the times when my perception has been distorted by my own desires. Even if they were great desires, they stopped me from seeing other options. Remarkable opportunities that were more than I could have dreamed. My plans seem boring in comparison to the joy He’s given me. Now it is my greatest desire to allow His light to shine through me and draw others into fellowship with Him.