broken but not crushed

Helping each other live successfully and abundantly in the face of brokenness.

Location: Columbus, Central Ohio, United States

Monday, June 19, 2006

Finding Simple Freedoms

Dear friends,

Last week I had a most free-ing thing happen to me. I went to a local establishment to buy a pair of shoes. Now, because I’m in the wheelchair and have diabetes my legs and feet have done some fairly strange things, so I was getting one of those “prescription” kinds of shoes. The shoes I had been wearing were beginning to look a little worn and were getting snug across the tops of my feet. So I thought a new pair of shoes might be in order.

To make a long story short, after going through the process of being “fitted” for these shoes, and waiting six weeks for them to come in, and then going back for a second fitting, I can’t wear them. The soles are so thick, supposedly for my comfort, that they drastically changed my balance while sitting in the chair. If I wear the shoes, my feet are supposedly safer – but I get saddle sores in unmentionable places because I’m not sitting properly in my chair anymore. I’m sticking to the old shoes.

While getting the second fitting I mentioned to the shoe technician that these new shoes were the ugliest things on the planet. That’s when it happened. He looked me in the eye and said “So what?”

“Excuse me?” I responded.

And he answered “So what! If they fit and are comfortable, and if they help you live better every day what does it matter if they are ugly or the most beautiful shoes in town?”

I looked at him and a flood of thoughts raced through my head. “He’s right” was my final conclusion. What was I afraid of? And what really was my problem with ugly shoes? Was it pride? Or maybe some screwed up sense of self-esteem? All I know is that at that moment something in me broke – broke in a really good way!

Goodness, those of us who are broken already know that we sacrifice our pride early on in the process. We get poked and prodded by any number of health care professionals in some pretty “unmentionable” places. I’ll never forget being in the hospital in nearly unbearable pain, almost out of my mind in fear, and wishing I could just die and go to heaven - when what I just knew was the entire population of female nurses on duty at that hour gathered at my bedside to put in my very first catheter. I swallowed my pride and silently let them do their job – which wasn’t really that much of a deal when you think of it, and probably didn’t phase the one or two that were really there one bit.

Back to the subject, I looked at my old shoes when I got home. They really weren’t all that bad after all. So I took out a cutting tool and with a little snip here and a tuck there I solved the snugness problem. What incredible freedom I experienced when they just slipped back on my feet after my limited version of shoe surgery. No, I didn’t make them beautiful, and they are still the same old shoes, slightly worn and now with a visible nip and tuck. But they “fit and are comfortable”, and they help me live better every day. So really, what does it matter if they are ugly or the most beautiful shoes in town?

So what lesson have I learned that I can pass along to you? It is simply this: Our dignity and self-respect do not depend on whether our shoes are in style. These really important things depend on my character and the quality of my moral fiber. I need to look at myself like God does – more concerned with who I am, rather than on what I own or look like.

When you are broken, personal freedom comes in small packages, and we are grateful for each gift of freedom along the way. Don’t let pride or an exaggerated sense of self get in your way of having a better life. The freedom I experienced when I put on my old, altered shoes was like a breath of fresh air on a hot, muggy summer day.

I intend to apply the same principle to other parts of my life. “Pride brings about destruction, and a know-it-all attitude will make you fall flat on your face!” the Bible says in Proverbs 16:18 (PDV)

My hope for you is that today you will enjoy great freedom - from self, from pride, from unrealistic expectations, from fear, and from worrying about silly things. As a child of God, though, my greatest hope is that you will experience freedom from the enslaving guilt of sin that causes all of the above. If you have questions about how to do that, please email me and we will talk. I’d love to help you find ultimate freedom.

Till next time,


Anonymous Sandy said...

People who survive illness's, diseases, or whatever, have an intense feeling inside that says, "No, I'm not suscumming to this thing." Where that feeling initially came from for me, was a mystery.
When cancer came to my door, there never was an "angry" period of why me? There was just an inner peace, & "ok, let's deal with this, beat it, and move on." 6 1/2 yrs. later, I've gotten on so much with life that I often forget the cancer was even there! Only when I look at my scarred body and see the results of surgery, do I pay attention. Or when the annual cancer walks come around and Ter says "You ought to do that", and I refuse, saying "It's over with now."
The support didn't come from friends, I didn't have many here to confide in. It didn't come from family, they lived too far away, (although I can't discount them, they were there!) Ter was my biggest supporter, or so I thought. Little did I realize that God was behind the scenes working, doing His own little thing.....or should I say big thing, by healing my body. He was my biggest supporter by caring for me more than is imaginable. The "why" appeared later, in the form of "Why have I lived when so many others I know have died, are dying or afflicted with cancer?" Uncles, 2 sets of grandparents, cousins, friends, friends of friends, the list goes on.
Then the question comes, why do I have to be a friend in all of this?? My job consumes all my energy. It is emotionally draining. Talking to anyone else after 13 hr shifts of selfish, psychotic, or defiant adolescents, who demand every minute of your attention while you are there, is mind boggling. How can I possibly be a friend to anyone else and listen to more gibberish???? Good grief!!!! Why? Because God expects me to. He gave me talents to use, and despite the "ugly illfitting shoes" of my life, there is a responsibility that's mine to bear. I've been places others haven't, experienced things someone needs to know about, been given opportunities that need to be shared.
"D", I didn't know we had that big of an impact on you. All I know, is the first time I saw you, and you asked if you could give me a hug, and there I was, w/litte to no hair on my just felt right. Standing there was this big burly thing of a guy, whom I've come to respect, love, and miss terribly! I don't care what "our shoes" look like, it just feels pretty darn comfortable being in them!!!!


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