My life changed in a big way this week. For the first time since my amputation one and one-half years ago, I have resumed driving. My family was understandably reluctant to let me take this step but steady expansion of my capabilities combined with their growing weariness with driving me everyplace I needed to go collapsed that reluctance. It all ended quickly. My wife said one Sunday morning, “Do you want to go for a drive together so I can see how you do?” I was out in the car before she’d even found her shoes. I’m now providing my own transportation to dialysis, car maintenance places, the community Bible Study I lead and even enjoy weekend drives into our beautiful New Mexican wildlands.
The big thing about driving is not the driving – that’s easy. The big thing is generating and overcoming challenges. The other day I went to a self-service restaurant, the kind of place I used to ask some family member to visit and pick something up for me. Because I was driving, this time I went in on my own and faced some unanticipated challenges. For example, I had to bring my own food to the table on a tray and then dispose of that tray. I couldn’t use my beloved cane to do either so I had to trust the prosthetic training that had taught me to walk without a cane. I don’t do that often at home. I don’t have to! So, I was less than my usual fast and smooth doing it in the restaurant. In fact, a teenage girl asked if she could help me! But the news is I got it done.
Things like that would never have happened without access to my car. I would have kept on walking where I always walked and doing what I always did with nothing beneficial going on. And that’s the point. We are all prone to settle, to find a safe and satisfying place in life and hunker down. But if we do that all kinds of abilities will remain latent in our body, mind, and heart remaining unknown because they never were expressed.
This posting isn’t really about life with a prosthesis (though it includes that). The point is we all have to keep pushing out walls that are enclosing us so the space we inhabit gets ever wider. We do well to honor the dreams that the creator has planted in us by striving toward their fulfillment no matter our age or condition in life. We need to do it because as the scope of our lives gets wider, who we are and what we are able to do expands to fill that space. Our mindset must be like this:
I’m not to be measured by what I can do right now, but by all that I might be able to do if I get a chance.
With that mindset in place job #1 is obvious – we must fight every day to gain and seize that chance.