by Darci Steiner
Today was the day I had my heart set on walking to the end of the block. Over the past year, I’ve walked around our cul-de-sac about a dozen times—a tremendous victory. Oh, how I miss my former 40-minute daily walks. I wonder now how I ever made it to the end of the block. I want to reclaim this ability that seems unreachable, that I haven’t achieved in almost four years because of a foot injury.
As Mark and I set out down the driveway, I remember, “Oh, gosh, we need to grab the wheelchair!” If I can’t make it, I need a backup plan. Mark lets go of my hand, and within a minute, he pushes the wheelchair with one hand and grabs mine with his other. We cut across the cul-de-sac. I cannot wait! My mind already dreams of the view at the end of the block—a magnificent panorama of the front range of the Rocky Mountains, which never ceases to take my breath away. It was my favorite moment of my everyday walks.
Each step I take, I find myself slowing. Walking on concrete is definitely more difficult than on carpet. Before we even begin up the block, I realize this walk is over. I reach for the wheelchair and sit down, defeated. The nerve pain from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is profound. That’s why it’s called “The Suicide Disease.” This condition was initiated when a leaning chair slid down the wall and hit my foot at my daughter’s wedding.
Mark wheels me toward home, then turns the chair back around. Apparently, we are going on this walk anyway. I quietly sob as Mark pushes me up the block. He gives me space to grieve, saying nothing.
We reach the top; the view of the front range is breathtaking, which triggers me to weep more. Mark stops and picks a small flower for me on the side of the trail. As we continue, my tearful eyes transfix on the snowcapped fourteeners. I continue to grieve the loss of my ability to walk, but I also remember a quote I recently wrote: “Do not destroy what you can enjoy by wishing things could be better.”
There is still good to enjoy in each day, even if it looks different than it used to. We haven’t taken this walk in the wheelchair because I’ve been waiting to do it on my two feet. I don’t know if I’ll ever have that ability again, but it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy this walk in a different way.
Mark leans over and picks me another tiny flower from the side of the trail to add to my bouquet. My weeping lessens, and I begin to appreciate my surroundings. We reach the incline, and Mark continues pushing me. I bask in the sight of the glorious rugged mountains, observe the paint-stroke rainclouds in the distance, and listen to the ensemble of birds singing in surround sound. I’ve missed experiencing nature like this, as most of my time is spent indoors.
I can’t physically walk; however, I can go on this walk with Mark. I realize now I even get a little bouquet when I go with him! I haven’t wanted to take this walk in the wheelchair because I wanted to remember it how it was before, walking it, feeling my feet take each step. But before is no more.
I must “walk” humbly, accepting this new plan is not to harm me but is for his higher purpose. My God has something better planned for me in this dissonance. For his ways are not my ways, and his thoughts are not my thoughts.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8 NIV)
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About the author: Darci J. Steiner has served in full-time ministry and assisted with church plants in Denver and Los Angeles. In 2001, she nearly lost her life after a debilitating fall down the stairs in her home. During her recovery, she earned her Master of Science degree in Holistic Nutrition and implemented natural remedies into her diet that helped save her life. When Darci became disabled a second time after a foot injury in 2018, she wrote her award-winning debut book, Beauty Beyond the Thorns: Discovering Gifts in Suffering. Darci and her husband enjoy two adult daughters, one son-in law, and a baby granddaughter. They live in the Denver area. Please keep in touch at www.darcijsteiner.com
Join the conversation: When has God’s plan turned out to be far superior to your own?