Thursday, October 23, 2008

we are all stroke victims

i was reading a children's book with lucy that we'd checked out from the library called "Now One Foot, Now the Other." the story is about a grandfather and his grandson and all the special moments they share together. it was a magical relationship until the grandfather had a stroke. the boy was devastated because his grandfather was gone from home and in the hospital for months. but he was even more so when his grandfather came home and couldn't do any of the things they used to do, and instead sat in a wheelchair, staring out the window.

the boy didn't know that his grandfather's mind still wanted to play games and go for walks, but his body wouldn't let him. the grandfather still had the capacity to move and talk, but the stroke had greatly hindered his abilities.

aren't we all just like that grandfather? our minds want to change our pasts, modify current behaviors, or control the outcomes of our futures. we all have great capacities for love, forgiveness, gratitude, generosity, selflessness, but the stroke of pain, betrayal, abandonment, shame or suffering has hindered our abilities to exercise those capacities.

there are many things i want to do and ways i want to be, but just wishing for them doesn't make them so. i want to break the cycle of my generational sin. i want to do what i need to do, instead of only what i feel like doing. i want to wake up happy every day. i want to put other's needs before my own. i want to act gently and kindly, especially in frustrating moments and unending days. i want self-control. i want to feel good about the mundane things i do everyday, knowing that my sacrifice is benefitting someone. i want to sacrifice without thinking about how my sacrifice is good because it's benefitting someone.

i believe God has given us the capacity to do all the things he lays before us. but, we've all had strokes of pain: wrong-doings done to us, had our shame laid bare before us, been betrayed, felt alone for too long, had needs repeatedly go unmet, had feelings unreciprocated, fears have been realized, doubts have been confirmed. all these strokes paralyze our abilities to live into our potentials and our capacities. while our minds say we can, our bodies and our spirits act otherwise.

but stroke victims do have hope. through physical therapy and much needed attention and care, stroke victims can recover from their paralysis - maybe not completely, but they do move closer and closer into the capacity their minds have been telling them they were capable of all along.

we have hope to recover from our strokes too. but the effort - oh the effort required to recover is titanic! through time - a lot of time - and careful attention to our wounds - not ignoring them and hoping they'll resolve on their own, we can recover from the fears that paralyze us, the emptiness that haunts us, or the pain that still causes us grief.

most days i sit and stare out a window. and yet, my mind is telling me that i can walk and talk. will it take a grandson believing in me to motivate me to live into my potential? no. but it has taken a daughter.


1 comment:

:::No Longer Mute said...

I watched and episode of Oprah the other night and her guest had actually recovered from the effects of stroke. The woman was a doctor of neuroscience and so she wrote a book about what it was like to go through and experience like that and coming out of it with the knowledge she had. She had a stroke on the right-side of her brain so essentially she was left with a fully functioning left-brain (the more creative/experiential side) and yet she had lost the ability to communicate and didn't even remember how to eat or take care of herself. Her mother nursed her back to health with the assistance of an incredible medical team. But during the years of partial brain paralysis she said that she was there all along. Who she was before the stroke was located within her body and that she just needed other people to come and find her.

I agree with you that in a sense we are all stroke victims. Since the fall who we are and what we were created to be is hard to see upon first glance. That is why relationship is so crucial. Are calling is to pursue through relationship with others their being - the very being that bears the image of God in a unique and specific way.