I cooked my turkey and baked the pies. We spent nine wonderful hours at Thanksgiving parties; I even ran the Black Friday gauntlet from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. with my good friend Anita. We did Thanksgiving Big! Before I move quickly on to Christmas, I want to pause a moment and truly BE thankful.
When I think about thankful, one word flashes across my mental screen: walking. I will never take walking for granted again. It’s amazing how much one appreciates something when one has lost it. And I lost my ability to walk last year. I actually started the 2010 school year in a wheelchair!
My physical struggles began years ago….isn't that how all good stories start? Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away and all that. Well, this isn't THAT cool of a tale, but it will take more than one post. I’ve always had trouble with my muscles. They are tight and inflexible. I have one unfortunate childhood story of the time I tried to do a back flip into our swimming pool, but I hit the edge with my head because I couldn’t bend far enough backwards. I wound up with a cut on the head and the conviction that I would never be a gymnast.
I was a serious distance runner in high school, logging 40-60 miles a week year round. I won multiple state championships and set the state record. I even went to the Olympic Development Training camp. My senior year I trained like a maniac, wanting to break my own record and set it back so far no one could touch it. I ran through one of the worst winters ever--the roads were covered with snow for six weeks! I can remember jumping into a snow bank every time a car went by on the small track the plows had carved out. Not exactly the best environment for record smashing behavior. In the end it didn’t really matter. I tore my hip flexor two weeks before state. I won at state but my time was slow and my scholarship prospects gone. I never really ran competitively again.
In the 30 or so years since that time I’ve gone from struggling over losing my running career to struggling over losing my ability to walk. It’s amazing how life’s circumstances change one’s perspective. As I take a moment to be thankful for walking, I am also very thankful for the road I’ve traveled. It’s made me who I am, a woman who knows that it’s God who makes the world good, regardless of my circumstances.
Psalm 100 NIV
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he, who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.