Welcome to my annual uplifting post where I tell you how awesome my life is despite the traumatic injury that left me in a wheelchair. I've told the story of my accident a lot of times in a lot of ways over the past eight years, and I'm not actually going to do that again this year. There are seven previous posts for the details told in creative ways, but I'm here to take a moment to celebrate the trajectory of healing and hope that year eight brings.
I have more on the horizon after being told I'd never walk again (and walking into that surgeon's office a year later with canes and braces). Eight isn't a fancy or symbolic number in anything I know of, but it's where I'm at today, so I'm looking ahead at what's possible based on my trajectory of recovery. Eight and a half years ago, I was a scared able bodied newly licensed teacher moving to a new country. Now I've done another continental move after that while being in a wheelchair. Year eight holds untapped travel possibilities.
A decade ago, I dreamed of being a writer, and this past year I self-published a book of poetry. Year eight post paralysis has a couple other books lined up, and one of them might be a memoir that tells stories of life pre and post injury. My injury slowed down my body, and my mind has been racing to find ways to catch up these past several years. One important ongoing lesson is that I'm not a lost cause or shell of lost potential. My professional and literary and other personal successes are just as valuable in my holistic recovery as the physical gains over the past eight years. My life wasn't stunted by a spinal cord injury that set me back on my physical abilities.
Those injuries are impossible to ignore, and today I'm going to be honest with the frustrations while also doing my best to honestly relay the progress I've seen this year. Walking wise, I'm not further than last year, but balance wise, I'm seeing big gains. Due to that concerning blister and the desire to avoid another ulcer, I kept off my feet for an agonizingly long time. While I let my foot heal, I spent time working on abdominal exercises. Last week with Anja, I got excited as she led me around my house commenting on how little support I needed from her arms. I was holding my own weight quite well. My balance is still not great - but it's better than it has been. It's making progress, and I'm still full of hope for physical recovery in this coming year.
This past year and a half has had a lot of hurt and hopes dashed, but as I put a wrap on year seven, my face is inclined upwards in anticipation of the good gifts God is still able to bring. More healing, more walking, more nerve function, more writing, more tea, more laughter. More glory to God who loves me.
I also ask for a lot of prayer around this time of year (I always ask for a lot of prayer, but more during this time of year). On Facebook, I create an annual event with five specific prayer requests that I ask people to join with me in praying for during my birthday. The past eighteen months have been a wild journey for me with prayer as I've not topped thirty some books on prayer in my quest to pray better. I've learned that 99% of prayer is just showing up. Please, if you can remind yourself at some point on February 4th, show up for me. Present these requests to God:
Pray that God is glorified. Always number one since day one of paralysis. Let my story point to Jesus.
Pray that my feet feel more. I'm asking for specific new nerve connections all the way down to my toes. There haven't been improvements there in a while. I'm asking for everything, but let's be specific to include my toes.
Pray that my heart feels rightly. This is a vulnerable request. I'm not a big fan of feelings when it comes to the feely ones. I want to feel my toes; I don't want to feel emotional pain. I do, however, know that part of my holistic emotional health is honesty with what is happening in my heart.
Pray that I witness well. This has come up in different forms over the years, but I want to continue to be a responsible witness to the work God is doing in my life.
Pray for an avalanche of reconciliation. Honestly, I'm not sure what that looks like, but those words have been on my heart for a long time, and I want to pray faithfully to see the Holy Spirit show up in surprising and beautiful ways.