“Some people believe holding on
and hanging in there
are signs of great strength.
However, there are times
when it takes much more strength
to know when to let go
and then do it.”
I was told when I was 12 years old, that it would be a miracle if I could see past my 20th birthday. That same year I was told I would NOT be walking past my 25th. Well I turn 40 this year. I can still see, and I am still walking. This has been a source of pride for years; that I am still beating the odds. But that's only part of the story.
Over the course of the past 16 years, I have been capable of increasingly less. First I gave up cycling. Then it was running with my children. Sledding, picking up preschoolers, hiking anything but a paved trail - they've all slipped away, along with countless other things most people take for granted. This month, it was my sewing machines. Every year another sacrifice is made. With each loss, my pride has reminded me that at least I didn't need to use the wheelchair - yet.
Last winter, I spent nearly half the season wrapped in a comforter, homebound, because it hurt too much to walk. The wheelchair sat just down the hall, shunned, because I didn't need it - yet.
For 28 years, I have known that the wheelchair would be a necessary part of my life. For 28 years, I have fought with increasing degrees of failure, the concept that if I just work a bit harder, lose a bit more weight, become a bit stronger... I won't need the wheelchair - yet.
This week, for the first time in years, I allowed my husband to bring me to the store in the wheelchair. I wheeled the aisles, faced the curious stares, asked for help reaching things on higher shelves, (which SHOULD seem like a small thing, since I'm 5'1" tall... and shrinking) and - didn't hurt when I got back into the car.
Such a simple thing really, not hurting after purchasing toilet paper and lemonade. THIS is what I have been fighting? Why? Do I enjoy pain? Did I honestly believe that somewhere, there was a man handing out badges for hurting when it's not necessary?
Pride. My ugliest stumbling block, has earned a serious chip in it's slowly decaying facade. May I live to see it crumble completely.
In the meantime, over the next few months, I shall slowly be working on a small but fun project. I am going to "steampunk" my wheelchair. If I'm gonna use it, I plan on having FUN with it! Bring on the bronze spray paint, and the velvet cushions... I'll be riding in STYLE this winter!