I'm not one to let a Mulan reference pass me by. Remember that scene when our young hero is devastated that she can't live up to her family's expectations and sings out, "When will my reflection show who I am inside?" Usually when I see myself in mirrors these days, it's only the shoulders up, but on those rare fully body glimpses, there's always some mobility device around or in front of me. The only time I've seen myself upright in the last five years has been holding onto something - usually with a look of terror in my eyes.
This Monday at physio, Mike tried to get me to walk around the room without using my hands. He'd instruct me to balance before taking a single step to him, catching myself on his arms or shoulders, and repeating the process. After getting some confidence, he moved behind me. I could feel his hands lightly on my waist keeping me from falling though not doing much work. When he told me to take a step forwards, it was a huge mental battle to get my legs to do what they had just been doing. I managed a couple tentative steps before Mike had me turn to the side and face the large mirrored wall.
"Look up," he told me, and I saw myself standing for the first time in five years with nothing in front of me at all. "Take a step forwards."
I can't really articulate how great that actually felt to see myself walk towards the mirror with nothing in front of me - no walker, no sticks, no physio.
It's another huge celebration point for me, and I'm looking forward to what tomorrow will bring. I'm hopeful for the continued improvements, and I'm realistic about the slow pace with which they come. I also had a really emotionally healing moment as Mike said in a passing comment that a large measure of the fatigue that has been my constant companion for the past five years is completely normal and that I don't need to be ashamed of it. I'm working to get rid of a lot of shame in my life so that I can continue to celebrate all aspects of who I see in the mirror each morning. The holistic work of growing and healing happening on this sabbatical has been so wonderful in the past two months, and I can't say thank you enough to each of you who read my updates and continue to pray for me. This week I would love prayers for the faithfulness on my part to follow through with all my necessary hard work.