Friday, March 1, 2013

This Moment::Friday, March 1

"This Moment" is typically a word without pictures. I, however, have used up all of the pictures that I've taken this week, leaving myself only with words.

So, I will pick one moment from the week and tell you about it...

Steve, Michael and I were sitting in the waiting room, just outside of radiology, where Michael was needing to get xrays of his hips, legs, and spine when another family came into the waiting room. The mom was typical enough that I don't even remember what she looked like, and unless the 3 year old boy with her had his special "stubbies" in view, I wouldn't recognize him again either.

She came in carrying the little boy. As soon as she put him down, I looked at him, and without thinking uttered aloud, "Kids are amazing, aren't they?" Embarrassed, I went on to tell a story about how Michael shouldn't be able to climb but does, but that wasn't really what I was referencing.

When she put her little boy down, I saw that he had no feet yet he quickly walked away, off to play with the toys set out for the kids who were waiting for an xray. From his ankles, there was only a little portion of flesh and bone - only a couple of inches of what should have been feet - and that is what he walked on.

I thought back to my mom having to get a portion of her foot removed when she had gangrenous toes, a result of her diabetes. We all were worried she'd never walk again, because the toes, and all portions of the foot, are used in balance. Yet here was a little boy who had never been told that he might never walk, nearly running everywhere he went.

Children are amazing at the way they adapt. Because they have no comprehension of what "normal" is, they don't realize that they should sit down and mourn for their own loss; they don't realize that no one would think less of them because they couldn't walk and needed a wheelchair.

We could get scientific and mention synapses in the brain. An adult has formed synapses of how to walk. We know how it feels to balance as one foot goes in front of the other. When our hips or knees are sore, we are made very aware of how our muscles and bones move as we walk, and that is our version of normal. If, for some reason, the way we balance was shifted, we would need to gain a new version of normal. It would feel very different from what we are currently used to, and it would totally throw us off our groove. A whole new way of walking would be needed, and in that sense, we would be almost like a toddler learning to walk. The only problem is that when we fall, children bounce but grown ups break.... which we are keenly aware of, so we have to add "fear" into the mix of emotions, too. A child with "disabilities" is learning to walk for the first time, so what they do feels normal to them.

Every time our lives shift and change, especially with big changes like death, injury, divorce... the BIG stuff in life, we have to learn to accommodate that change. We have to find our balance again and find, or create, a new sense of normal. It is painful and uncomfortable and very, very scary, but adults are amazing too! Even if we don't want to adapt, even if we fight against it, change we will, for the good or for the bad.

As we go through shifts and change, let us be very aware and very judicious about the direction our change pushes us. Even if we cannot will ourselves to walk but need a wheelchair instead, our thoughts are still within our control. As we choose positive thoughts, we will become positive people. We will look for new possibilities. We will take delight in the small accomplishments we make. At the end of the road, we will have become a person that has overcome the obstacle, because the greatest obstacle is the way we choose to think about things.

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