The Threshold

For years I have whispered a fleeting prayer when I see someone walking on a prosthesis.  My first personal encounter was with a beautiful 12-year-old who lost her left foot and half her shin that we amputated in surgery one winter night.  She came back a few months later and we danced a little in the hall of the hospital — her on her new prosthesis.  I never got over the courage in a smile from that child.

Wars and accidents have increased the number of friends and new acquaintances sporting the latest in prosthetic fashion.  All face pain: mental, emotional, actual, continual, and memory based.  All must make daily overcoming part of their diet and regimen.

So my prayer is for their daily courage.  Courage to face the pain.  Courage to gear up for battle for the new day.

Courage to cross the threshold of his or her door and go out into the world and live life.

It takes continual courage, a reservoir of bravery, a small surplus of audacity to leave the womb or nest and cross the threshold into exposed life, doesn’t it?

And so for us all.  Even being down for a couple of days with a virus, and then we must get up and go back out to work.  Go back to school.  Go back to the project running over budget with no answer on the drawing board, yet.  Go back to fighting for a marriage.  Go back and face today’s battle.

So today’s whispered prayer is:  help me cross the threshold and step back into life, if not fearlessly, then swallowing my doubts and smiling enough to keep everyone else guessing! And help me use my abilities well, rather than as if someone only strapped them on to me yesterday in rehab.


Nursing Your Emotions

I was so impressed that you decided to go to a counselor, friend.  To realize that you are “the happy medium” in emotions, but that you have placed guards against too much of either the highs or the lows is tricky.

It took courage to go see a counselor or therapist and find why you guard against too much emotion.  I have yearned for you to see, feel, immerse yourself in some experiences for years.

I never told you that when I was eleven or so, I would crank dad’s media system down in the library to blast the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky.  I would close my eyes and slip  into the sound stream to direct the orchestra — and be overcome.  I might barely be able to concentrate on the different pieces’ entrance in the restatement as tears welled up from deep inside.

I held to times from camps when God seemed to infuse the moments and something in the music or sermon or a quiet time with sealed orders up on a cliff overlooking the lake would sweep me away.

When Anna Cavalier died after our first date at 16, within an hour of having seen her, that pain swallowed me.  But that pain taught me a lesson I have used with grieving people all of my life.  I tell them how rich they are to have loved so deeply that they feel torn, bereft, shattered at the absence of the deceased.  I have spent that pain at her loss over a hundred times into others’ tears and bereavement, and there again, the courage to walk into another’s deep emotion draws on skills to keep the leather over your heart, but once in a great while, I have had no finer gift to another brother or sister than to share tears.  I find wisdom and eloquence cheaper, but wading and sharing the grief has a more profound impact for Christ or their sanity or whatever is important at the moment.

So let the God who stirred David to write the Psalms that grip us, Isaiah who wrote the stunning grief at what was coming and unshakable hope of what would follow restore the emotions, restore their ability to teach you life, and life more abundantly to you, my dearest friend.