In our lives we all have those little moments (small encounters) when you walk away smiling and thankful for the experience. I recently had such a time. My family and I had gone to the movies, and when it was over, it was time for a much-needed bathroom break. Of course, there was a line after all it was the womens’ bathroom. While waiting in line there were two young girls and their mother. One of the girls looked to be about 5 and her sister was a bit older. The younger girl said to her mother in a not so quiet voice, “what is wrong with her? Why can’t she walk and stand?” The mother looked mortified and attempted to quiet her daughter. I turned, smiled, and explained to the girl that I have a spinal cord injury but in terms she would understand. I said, “I have an owie inside my back. It makes it hard for my brain (pointing to my head) to tell my legs what to do. My signals get mixed up.” She then asked, “We you born this way?” I told her, “told her no, my back got really sick about two years ago and I had to have special surgeries to my back. One of the surgeries made me brain and my legs stop talking to each other like hers do.” I also explained that I use my walker to help me get around and it helps me to keep from falling because I lose my balance frequently. As I finished washing my hands I turned to the mother and girls and said, “Thank you for asking questions. I love questions. “
This small encounter was a blessing. Often people just stare or stare and point. I can tell that they have questions and are guessing as to why I am in the state I am. I only wish more people were like the younger children who ask or at least speak out loud and say things like, “what is wrong with her? Or “how come she can’t walk?” Young children often have no filter and are curious. They don’t worry about or intend to be hurtful. So, why should I get upset by their comments or questions? Instead I view them as a blessing. It is another opportunity to help educate others about my conditions and show them that being different is not a curse.
I believe these little encounters are little nudges from God. He brings people into our life for different reasons and for different amounts of time. Some are brief and others for long periods of time. But weather brief or not I don’t want to miss the opportunities (blessings) that I am given.
As I sit hear waiting to see the neurosurgeon for a second opinion I feel at peace. A little over a month ago I had more MRIs done and it showed changes in the thoracic spine. Not what I was hoping for. The great news is my brain and cervical spine MRIs showed no new cysts or areas of concern. Even so, my neurosurgeon at LLUMC encouraged me to get a second opinion from my doctors at Cedars-Sinai regarding the the cysts(s) at T6-T9 before proceeding.
In the past these kinds of visits caused anxiety. My sleep would be affected. I would have very broken and restless sleep for days prior to the appointment. My mind tended to focus on the negative outcomes and the awful,”what if” questions. All that helped me do is become more anxious. Of course being more anxious caused more issues for me. As my pain increased, it caused me to have to take extra meds. By taking extra medication my tiredness increased making it harder to get exercise. It is a vicious circle.
Over the past 2 1/2 years I have learned to rely God more. My belief in God has never been a question, but ability to pray about something and accept that God’s got it all under control was wobbly. Sometimes I had no problem handing it off other times my worrying would take over. Over the time I have changed the way I pray. I am still learning to pray like Daniel. After reading “The Daniel Prayer: Prayer That Moves Heaven and Changes Nations,” by Anne Graham Lotz I began to change the way I pray. Learning to pray with deliberate purpose takes practice. For now, I am grateful that God has blessed me with peace as I keep moving forward. Prayer really does work and we must learn to be more patient about waiting for the answer.