I don’t think anyone had a better time at the picnic than I did, rolling around in my “freedom wheels!”
I thought the picnic would be the perfect time to try out the motorized wheelchair that was given to me (…a generous, thoughtful gift, thank you Sheila!) back in February. For the last few weeks, I’ve been practicing with it. I realize that sounds a little silly, after all, what’s to practice? However, the chair is a pretty sophisticated, powerful machine—with a sensitive control—and it can really move! In the days before the picnic, I managed to put a few nicks in the walls of the sacristy, almost plow over a White Elephant table laden with glassware, and bruise the right ankle of Rose Corr (…so sorry again, Rose!). Not a perfect track record, I admit, but since the Emergency Room was never involved, it wasn’t the worst either.
So with a deep breath, I rolled off the deck on the day of the picnic…..and never looked back. It was wonderful to be free to move around and talk with people again, not having to worry about finding a seat that wasn’t too low to get up from, or feeling like I was tied to the back porch like a dog in a Country Western song!
It takes a little getting used to. Things like looking up at people when conversing, allowing room for your feet to swing around in a turn, figuring out that extra “roll” space when coming in for a stop, all of that needs some adjusting time, which will come with experience, I’m sure. Most of all, I don’t identify myself as a “person in a wheelchair” so getting over the idea of “imposter” is a kind of hurdle, one that I know I’ll have to get over as I will probably need to use the chair more and more.
On Sunday, regaining the ability to move through the crowd and talk with people far outweighed any negative images I might have of myself wheeling around a polio ward or something. Plus the weather was gorgeous, the crowds were consistent, and nobody got hurt (best of all not by me!). To me personally, Sunday was yet another example of how God might close some doors in our lives, but never fails to open others. Not being able to walk so well doesn’t mean we cannot move, run, fly…..rise!