At my age, my annual Senior Wellness check-up is an interesting event. After preliminaries, the nurse said, “I’m going to say a series of three words and ask you to remember them after I ask you a question.”
“Last year one of them was apple,” I offered.
“OK, I’ll give you credit for that… The words are apple, table and penny. Repeat those. (I did.) Now spell “world” backwards. (I did). What were the three words?” (I said them.)
This was six days ago now. I’m hoping to remember them all before the test next year and really wow the nurse.
Then she announced a walking test. “Get up from your chair and walk to the door. Face the door, then walk back to your chair and sit down.” Was that to test my ability to follow instructions or to walk without toppling over? Did the nurse notice I cheat, using crutches?
Nurse didn’t crack a smile during either test. I sure did! Take note, young friends. Fun times with the doctor are coming up.
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
Tomorrow the 22-minute video, “Bad Legs – Elinor Young, a Missionary Story” will be launched by my mission agency, World Team. See the one-minute trailer at:
This photo was taken shortly after my seven months in the hospital recovering from Polio. I was learning to walk using parallel bars on a ramp built by my dad off our kitchen porch. I felt as pleased with myself as I look in the picture.
But it’s about more than that.
I am not a parent, but reflecting back over my life, I am blown away by the power of mother and father love. I was just one of five kids, but my mom spent two hours a day doing physical therapy on me, and my dad built for me equipment they could not afford to buy. They were such models of a “can do” attitude that for years it didn’t dawn on me that there was any other kind! How MUCH I admire them – both in Heaven now.
Not all that many years ago I would not have titled my Weblog “Polio, Jesus and Me.” Call attention to the fact that I had had Polio? – Never! Mind you, my body did. It couldn’t run, jump or walk up stairs in a normal manner. I couldn’t even ride a bike. And my walking gait had a pronounced “galumph”. But I did everything I could to make people either forget that I was different (I also would not admit to being actually “disabled”), or at least get them to look at my polio-caused differences on the same level as color of eyes or hair. Descriptive, but no big deal.
So why the change of heart? Why do I now put “Polio” right up front in my title? Because I now understand, with actual gratitude, that polio had a profoundly positive affect on my life and in fact is the central factor that shaped me. It made my mind sharp, always having to search for alternative ways of doing and being. It forced me to think deeply theologically – did God play a cosmic joke on me, or was His plan to make something intensely beautiful from what appeared to be ugly. Something only He can do. Just look at what he made from a handful of nondescript clay. From that statement you know the conclusion I came to. I wrote a some of articles about these musings. Check a couple of them out and tell me what you think. One is “Faith Healer Experiences” (Yes, I even explored that). Another is “What I Learned About God When Things Crashed” And “Good-By to Irian.” On a lighter note, there is “God’s Secret Weapon“. Any come-back?
I have long resisted entering the Blog World, but finally here I am. I don’t see much use to the “stream of consciousness” stuff, but I do think I have some helpful things to offer the world out there. For one thing, I have had unique experiences in two arenas. What I have learned from those may be helpful to someone.
One arena is polio. I am a polio survivor. Having polio at the age of five means I can’t even remember what it feels like to run, skip or ride a bike. Medically I am a quadripregic (significantly but not completely paralyzed in all four limbs – note the difference between “..pregic” and “..plegic”.) My torso and breathing muscles were also affected. Therefore, the other arena of my experience is an amazing surprise. I worked for several years as a missionary in one of the most physically rugged areas of the world. WHAT?! I told you it was a surprise.
So now you see why I am going to have to give some thought to where to begin. Stay tuned. For now, you can read some of my stories about these experiences by going to my formal website.