Sometimes. Not always, but sometimes it hits me. And when it does, it’s right between the eyes.
I usually wake up relatively rested and in a decent mood with a plan (albeit sketchy) for the day. A bit like the Little Engine that Could who didn’t realize its small size, I chug along day to day, content about what I have and what I can do.
But when it hits, it hits hard. It’s a stark realization of who I am and what I am; and with that, a realization of who I am not and what I will never be again. I am struck with the reality of my physical condition and the magnitude of my limitations. Sometimes I am more than struck. I am overwhelmed by what I cannot do.
I thought it was temporary, just until I got a kink worked out of/with my legs. Medication or physical therapy would come to the rescue and I would be able to walk straight enough to move forward. But it never happened. There’s still not enough medication to straighten some parts of my body from the spasticity that MS is plaguing me with. And physical therapy could not make some parts of my body strong enough to carry or override other parts. So, while I was looking for and waiting for the right fix, I became sedentary. Sitting isn’t so bad I told myself. We equate sitting to resting, so perhaps I am simply resting long-term. But some days, usually only parts of days, but some whole days, I realize that I will never walk again. And it makes me sad.
From a young age, I was taller than my peers and my height was something I learned to enjoy. I was often asked how tall I was. As a girl, I was certain there would never be a tall enough man for me to be shorter than. As a teenager, the basketball coach (not knowing my level of coordination) was after not only me but my father for me to join the high school team. As an adult, I was often asked to reach things in the supermarket for those not blessed with height. I grew to be a tall woman at 5 feet 11 inches. I did find a wonderful man who stood and still does stand by my side, both literally and figuratively. I wasn’t particularly good at it, but I enjoyed running and otherwise making my legs move fast. Walking was often a competition with myself to see how fast I could arrive places and accomplish tasks. Mr. Legs remembers when he could hardly keep up with me. I played basketball for fun through many years, and especially liked playing with my kids.
But those days are gone. Forever. Things are different now.
I will never, in this lifetime, run or even walk again. Nobody asks me anymore how tall I am. You sure can’t tell now as I sit in a scooter that I’m 5 foot 11 inches. I certainly don’t play basketball anymore. Kind people now ask me what I might need from the top shelf at the grocery store. At those times when it hits me, my mind wanders to all the things that I will no longer do. There are still things I can do for myself. But there are a whole lot of things one cannot do from a seated position. And… I miss being tall and using my legs. Anybody would. It’s necessary to process it and grieve, but it’s hard to think about.
The days it hits me are days when it’s best I am alone. On those days I long for heaven. I claim the promise made of a place with golden streets, fields of flowers, a room prepared for me in the glorious mansion, crowds of those like me praising God, coexisting with angels and, best of all, being in the presence of the One who loves me and saved me….
And then it hits me right between the eyes!
This? This is not permanent. I will someday have a new body and will move with ease again….and that will be permanent.
John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.