* Victory before the victory

What on earth is ‘victory before the victory?’ Is it systemic cheating as featured in the movie Bad Genius? Is it positive self-talk? A new type of name-it-claim-it hysteria?

No, no, and no. Thank you, Kendrick: victory before the victory is a faith-based moment (or even years) when I praise God without knowing the outcome. For me, it’s giving over but not giving up. Praising Him no matter how miserable things look.

I had a serious knee injury at school that left me in a wheelchair for years. I HATED being in a wheelchair (although I did love racing through the hallways). I couldn’t walk more than 20-30 feet on my own. After the first year of despair and much prayer, I said, “Jesus, you bought my body with your own. This is your knee so it’s your problem. I want to be healed but if I must live this way, it’s up to you to keep me. Keep me from bitterness and angst and despair.” I should have added, “And impatience!”

Despite knowing that this was His knee, I perpetually complained about the school wheelchair and grocery store wheelchairs and being below eye level and people staring at me and people asking me how I was doing and people thinking I was healed because I could walk a short distance. I was bugged by relentless kids who said said, “Aha! I saw you standing up!” And I was bugged when I got my wheelchair stuck between tables in the cafeteria. Duh!

But I was content with the disability, even if getting around was a hassle. If this is how things were going to be, God was still in charge and promised to work it for good. Not my problem to fix.

My dearest teaching widower (DTW) and I made three annual trips to the beach after my injury and surgery. My DTW tried to pushed me through the sand the first time and was smart enough to realize that wouldn’t work the next time.

On the third trip, I decided to make it to the stairs by myself. He asked, “Are you sure you want to do this?” I was a bit grouchy as I explained that I couldn’t go too far! Duh!

So I made it to the sand. Very slowly. I walked 30 feet, then 50. I called my DTW and said, “Uh, I can walk!” He asked if I wanted him to come with the wheelchair. He cautioned me to call immediately if I collapsed. I kept walking. I called him back after I’d walked a quarter of a mile and over his objections, I walked another quarter mile with a big smile on my face. Miraculous!

Yeah, God is still working on my impatience. Duh!

* U is for uncontrolled

Blogging A-Z: U is for uncontrolled, otherwise known as “Me in a Wheelchair.”  I had a serious accident at school several years ago and ended up in a wheelchair for 2 1/2 years.  I could select from a multitude of adjectives to describe that period in my life, but uncontrolled is a start.  For the first months, I was in a manual wheelchair. wheelchair

I was a hazard just to myself in that manual model, smashing my hand into door frames and requiring four teachers to extricate me from a hallway and a couple of opened doors.  As my knee worsened and it became obvious that I was down for the count, I graduated to a Jazzy motorized chair.  That is when my uncontrolled phase began in earnest.  And I was a hazard to the world at large.wheelchair 2

This splendid machine had a joystick device with adjustable speed controls!  Woohoo!  The speeds ranged from “turtle” to “jackrabbit.”  Can you guess which speed I used?  There was not a door or wall in the school I hadn’t rammed, a kid whose feet I hadn’t rolled over.  My Jazzy had a horn, so I could shoo people out of the way, or at least warn them that they were about to collide with an uncontrolled teacher.  A school secretary took primary responsibility for reprimanding me about my poor driving etiquette.  I know she was right, but I ran heedlessly over everything she said.

I justified my outrageous careening as a way to start my groups on time.  Hey, it was a very large building.  The secretary would shake her head when she saw me rolling ahead of the pack of kids who trailed behind me, trying to keep up by power walking (a euphemism for slow running).

Perhaps I was overcompensating for being stuck in a chair.  Perhaps my true, pushy self was simply more visible on wheels.  I must admit to a certain pleasure from feeling the wind in my hair as I flew through the school.  Aah, uncontrollable!