The Initiates

Walking is exhausting. Whether it’s my weird rhythm gait ataxia or my full body melt, something as simple as walking a few feet requires Herculean effort and I need help to make it happen.

This was the week I needed help to make anything happen.

My husband Chris was traveling for business all week and I just don’t sleep well when he’s not home. Of course, a full week of not sleeping well makes anyone tired, but I wear my fatigue on the outside in grand fashion. And each day that I don’t get enough sleep, the fatigue increases exponentially.

My trusty cane helps me get around, but in my worst moments I need a friend by my side as well. Mostly that’s my big strong husband, but my children are now old enough and strong enough to drag me along as well. They are always ready to jump in and they never complain. I am grateful.

And there are the days when I have to initiate a new supporter. The other night, my friend Emily gave me a ride to Open House at the middle school, escorted me to my son’s classes, and then helped me out to the car and into my house. She was so sweet and cheerful and laughed with me about how silly it is that my legs don’t go on their own.

At church yesterday, I asked my daughter to track down one of her brothers to help me to the car since Chris was staying to run sound for the next service. Before she began her search, she volunteered her boyfriend Ethan to get me to the car. I protested, she insisted, and once again I was on the arm of someone new. He, too, was very kind, saying it was no problem at all.

Folks, this is hard for me. I know it’s easy for you to link arms with me and walk slowly. I know it’s easy for you to hold a door open or say “excuse me” to people who don’t see me coming.

But when you help me walk, you do so much more than lend me your physical strength. You align with me. You identify with me. You give me the emotional strength that I am faking with my positive attitude and humor.

Maybe it’s my pride that doesn’t like the pitiful looks people try to hide as I drag by. But when I say thank you for helping me, I’m really saying thank you for entering my world and joining my journey. Thank you for giving up your own pride to shoulder this load with me.

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