For years, I had buried words deeply into the earth
and I feared they were beyond hope of emerging.
If you picture an avalanche, the initial sliding snow
is relatively small, like frozen skidding pebbles, seemingly innocent.
As the speed increases, more snow becomes entangled with force
and anything in the path of an avalanche is obliterated.
I felt an unparalleled ambush of words, illustrations and images.
Notebooks were scattered all over the house for
quick retrieval to scribble down ideas.
I am sure I possessed a glazed expression as I
tried to upload the words coursing through my mind.
I am also sure it wasn’t always a joy to live with me.
After taking a few writing courses,
I started to gather scraps of courage
to share my writing beyond my journals.
What was I to do about physical therapy?
How does one who entered the field to help people
announce the need to exit?
It felt so counter and harsh to admit this reality.
However I could barely care for my family
much less physically shoulder the needs of patients.
I feared I would disappoint the people in my life by saying
I was abandoning the profession.
Undoubtedly I had put a lot of effort into becoming a P.T. but
others had been a tremendous help and support.
Was I going to let them down in the process of following my heart?
I recently heard author Sue Monk Kidd explain her decision to no longer
be a nurse. She knew nursing was one of the noblest of professions
and she had chosen it because it was traditional and safe.
She recalls that she was a pretty good nurse, she cared,
did her best but she never felt as if it were her true
place of belonging.
She felt homesick for home.
When she began to write, it was a homecoming.
She believes it takes courage to find out what lies
at the bottom of our hearts.
I could have expressed the same sentiments.
I was a pretty good physical therapist.
I worked hard, I cared deeply about my patients but I
never felt exhilaration in the way I did holding a pen.
I did not work outside the home in any capacity until Caleb was 8 years old.
I decided to give physical therapy another try.
Perhaps after this long absence, the old feelings wouldn’t resurface.
My first day of holding a list of patients to treat, I felt nervous and rusty.
As I was working with my second patient, her two sons anxiously hovered
as I positioned a walker before her wheelchair.
She had emphatically told me she was not going to walk today.
Perhaps this is why I loved working with children, it doesn’t
occur to them to answer no to your requests.
I gently told this sweet lady, I was there to help and
all she needed to do was make an attempt.
She amazed herself and her sons by raising to stand and taking
some slow shuffled steps.
I placed just the right amount of contact on her back to keep her
moving forward, out of the corner of my eye,
I saw one of the sons writing something and putting a piece of
paper on my clipboard.
At the end of the session, I gave my final instructions and issued
a good-bye to this precious family.
As I walked back to the office to tackle the computer
charting system, I glanced down at my clipboard and
saw this note:
I set my clipboard down and I touched the words written by one of the
equally concerned sons.
I had extended simple kindness and expertise and considered it the natural
course of my work day.
To this dear son, it was everything.
I worked another 6 months and it became apparent
a shift in my heart had not occurred as well as aspects
of the practice had flown past me in my absence.
I also needed physical therapy myself for a neck injury.
At this juncture, I don’t know if I will work again in this field.
On the first day back in the trenches, what others
saw in me, despite feeling awkward and out of
practice was Christ in me, the hope of glory.
This was the visible reality of what others had
always seen leaning against each hospital bedside and kneeling
There is no other way I can describe how
God worked through me repeatedly in spite of my weakness.
Two letters following my name allowed me to present an offering
to each patient on the hallowed ground of need.
Physical therapy had been a vehicle for His glory.
Writing was just a different make and model purchased
by the same God.
To be continued…