Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hands and Feet

Things have changed quite a bit for me in the last year.

[Feel free to call me Captain Obvious.]

Losing abilities is nothing new to me; I’ve sat by and watched parts of my life and talents slip away for the last fifteen years. Some of them faded gradually, others left in the blink of an eye never to return. I had become accustomed to walking slower, pacing myself with activities around the house, limiting any repetitive movements and accepting the flow of my body on any given day.

But then I spent many months completely immobile this past year. And like a wave crashes on the beach and throws the sand out into the abyss of the ocean, that immobility hit me hard. The changes I had become accustomed to were flung out into that vast unknown. So, I’m relearning my new normal.

But I never want the physical changes of what I can no longer do change who I strive to be.

I’ve accepted that my mobility is more limited, my stamina and energy has decreased, my feet are more tender and my hands are less useful. But what I’ve noticed lately is that, while my life and mobility stopped this summer, my sense of time stopped as well.

Months seem to run together. Days absolutely run together. I have no idea when I wake in the morning if it’s the beginning of the week or the end of it, until I look at my pill dispenser and realize what day I’m on. And that’s ok. I’m no longer as concerned with what is supposed to happen each day as much as I’m concerned with being open to the day. Being open to accomplishing what I can when I’m able… being open to resting when my body demands it… being open to remaining present in my moments so I can take advantage of whatever is in front of me.

But just because my hands and feet no longer serve me well physically, I don’t want that to be an excuse to not be the hands and feet of God.

Along with losing track of the days, I’ve also lost track of important dates. Important birthdays have gone by unnoticed and unacknowledged. I have so many thank you notes left unwritten that I’m not sure who I’ve sent them to and who has been neglected. Little people who always receive Valentine’s from me didn’t this year because I forgot the day existed until I got something in the mail.

I know I have an excuse. My pain and exhaustion has my brain flying at half mast on a good day. There are many things I have let go of out of necessity, but if there is one thing I should hold onto for dear life, it’s my focus on others.

Today is Ash Wednesday. It’s a day I normally would have been singing at our Lenten service and receiving the ashes on my forehead. It’s a day I would have been walking around with an outward sign of acknowledgement that I believe in Jesus, and that I honor the sacrifice He made for all of us.

For Lent this year, every time I try to use my hands and they fail me, every time I walk on my feet and feel the deep ache it causes, it’s going to be my reminder that while my physical hands and feet are weak, they are not limiting me from being the hands and feet of Christ.

Most days, if I accomplish one thing [typically writing the blog] I feel accomplished. Everything else I can do for myself is just icing on the cake. But for the next forty days, that extra energy is going to be put to good use. For His use. I know I’m not able to do grand things for great numbers of people, but I am going to consciously choose to stay focused on others. To be His hands and feet in the little ways that matter to people. I’m going to remember why I am here, even if I’m not sure what day it is. :)

What are you going to do for the next forty days?

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