On a beautiful Saturday morning, I was walking down the steps of my deck when it suddenly attacked me – as decks sometimes do.
I fell down a couple of steps, and all I remember thinking was, ‘This isn’t going to end well’ as I landed hard on the ground with a crack. I thought that if I just had a couple of Advil I would be OK. It turned out that I needed more than that.
Fast forward: Some friends took me to the emergency room, the ER doctor tells me I must be very old to have such brittle bones; I’m arrested for punching out the doctor; then I’m bonded and released with my left leg broken and my right leg in a brace with a severe tear and/or sprain (Okay … I made up the part about punching the doctor).
So I’ve been out of commission for a while. And I have to tell you that my reaction to it all has surprised me. I have been filled with gratitude – from the top of my head down to my purple, bruised toes. Gratitude.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a martyr. But I find that all my prayers have been of thanksgiving. I’m not thankful that my leg is broken, but I am thankful that it is my left leg. When my right leg heals, I’ll be able to drive and get around while the broken leg heals. I thank God for that.
I’m grateful for this very small peek into the world of the disabled. I am in awe of their constant courage and perseverance; they are my heroes.
I had to hire a caregiver for a bit because I couldn’t take care of myself. It worried my family that I lived alone. So for a while I had someone with me to help me up or tuck me in bed. The only thing that was missing was a blankie and pacifier.
Being this dependent on others is very difficult for an independent person like me. But I am grateful even for that. I don’t know this for certain, but I feel sure that gratitude shares the same root word as grace, the grace of Jesus which surrounds all of us.
I once read that all of us are just temporarily able, that at some point in our lives we would all be disabled to some degree.
For the time being, I’m disabled. Scripture has a lot to say about being disabled – not just physically, but spiritually. A friend sent me a text saying, “Enjoy Psalm 94:18, ‘As often as I said, ‘My foot has slipped, your love, O Lord upheld me.’ ”
That got me on a hunt through the Psalms for similar passages. It seems that there were a lot of clumsy people just like me in the Bible.
I texted back with a quote from Psalm 38:16: “For I said, ‘Do not let them rejoice at my expense, those who gloat over me when my foot slips. Truly I am on the verge of falling and my pain is always with me.”
There is also Psalm 37:24-25: “Our steps are directed by the Lord, he strengthens those in whose way he delights. If they stumble, they shall not fall headlong, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”
And that is really what I want to share. We all get tripped up sometimes. We stop watching what we’re doing and we slip. It’s not God who causes the accident – stuff just happens, or maybe we had a hand in slipping up. But God will use the event to get our attention.
That Psalm is correct, the one that says, “As often as I said, ‘My foot has slipped, your love, O Lord upheld me.’ ”
Three thousand years ago, someone slipped up and it hurt. But he discovered that God’s love upheld him.
For thousands of years, humanity has slipped and fallen, only to discover that someone was always there to hold them by the hand.
We discovered the name of that life-giver in Jesus. If you find yourself disabled in any way, I pray that you reach out your hand and touch the face of God, who is touching you to heal you, to love you, to forgive you and hold you up so that you will never slip from his grasp.
THE REV. CYNTHIA TAYLOR IS PASTOR OF CHURCH OF THE HOLY COMFORTER IN MARTINEZ.