I have discovered that some people think that because I am retired and (according to the government) not “gainfully employed,” and because Im disabled with little strength and energy, I don’t do much. If they mean I don’t go to movies and football games; play golf, bowling and pinocle; chat for hours with people who have nothing substantive to say; or play computer games, then true, I don’t do much. In fact, I don’t do any of those things. Rarely does a good energy time coincide with a friend’s so we can go to lunch, even. Some days it takes all my energy to just clean, dress and feed myself.
But when I have enough energy left over from the necessary tasks, I invest in young lives for the sake of God’s glory in their generations and for eternity. I put my strength into things of eternal value.
That IS being gainfully employed, is it not?
This morning a local TV station aired a story about today’s Iron Man contest in Couer d’Alene, Idaho. One of the athletes is a blind soldier. He lost his sight to shrapnel from a car bomb blast in Iraq. For some weeks afterwards he felt angry, useless and hopeless. How that changed is another story, but it did, and he was about to run his first Iron Man. How? Tethered to his brother-in-law, the same way he trained for the race. His wife’s brother, a successful Iron Man, knew exactly what this soldier needed to do to train, and knows the guts it takes.
They trained and raced tethered together at the wrists by a short rope. What struck me is what the soldier said: “I am free when I am tethered to him. I never imagined I could be this free.”
He is free when he is tethered because the one he is tethered to has successfully gone through this before. He knows the push, the emotional ups and downs, the fear of failure and the joy of success. He knows exactly how to lead his blind brother-in-law. He can be implicitly trusted.
What a picture of Jesus and me. I have always been blind to the way ahead. It was impossible for me to succeed at the wild dreams in my heart. Impossible unless I stay tethered to the One who has gone through it all before me, and won. Who knows exactly how to get there with success. I am free because I am tethered.
My mission agency, World Team, has put the 22 minute video, “Bad Legs” on their YouTube channel. It’s a very short summary of God’s story in my life – a whole lot shorter than my memoir will be! The p,oject was not my idea originally, but I’m glad that it was done. The video can go places and reach people I can’t. See it at
I took a tumble off my patio this morning. Wasn’t paying attention to a common law of physics. I was weeding, which would not be remarkable, except that the weeds were by the patio and I was standing about seven inches above them. You gotta understand – because I don’t have any quadriceps, I can’t bend my knees very much, let alone squat. In fact, to stand I have to hyper-extend my knees some so my legs won’t collapse. No quads also means I can’t get up from the ground without crawling up on something. Now you get the picture…
I was standing on the patio, bending at the waist pulling weeds seven inches lower than my feet. One can’t mess with center-of-gravity laws without consequences. Yep. Over I went, a face plant. After doing a mental checklist and finding nothing was hurt, I rolled over, sat up and decided those varmints would be a whole lot easier to pull from ground level, where I was now. When I was done, I put my crutches where I could grab them when I was ready to, crawled up on the patio and used it for leverage to get my legs under me and stand up again.
Metaphorically I’ve done that lots of times. You, too, I’d guess. We do something dumb, like maybe ignore one of God’s laws? and take a tumble. I have found it pays to assess the damage, redeem the experience, file it away in my mental “warning” file, get up and go again. But that’s always with the Lord’s help. He’s the solid thing I crawl up on to stand again. I know it is fashionable these days to “believe in yourself” and do things your way. Yeah, and end up with your face in the dirt and no way up. Like a bent over bruised reed. I prefer to rely on the Solid and Strong One.
I wrote a story that talks about all this, “Bruised Reeds“, about a simple tribal teenager with a big heartache. Check it out! What do you think? Send me a comment.