‘Limited Sight Distance’ – this is the sign that greeted me as I crested the hill leaving my Dad’s house en route to visit my friend Kyle at the Shepherd Spinal Center 30 minutes away. She would only be there another week before she was discharged to begin the next phase of her rehab – tackling life at home in Virginia. Four kids, two dogs, loving husband.
She had stood 5 foot 10 until a fall from her bike landed her in a ravine by the bike trail with no feeling in her lower body. Her tragic accident and the plea for prayer came about 5 weeks before. My desire to connect sent me to Facebook where I “friended” both her and her 20 year old daughter. I remember thinking it odd that either one of them was accepting friend requests, but they let me in. To the life they were now leading. One so much different than the one they were living a few weeks before. And each post was full of thanks and praise. Amazing.
So, having watched it all unfold – or at least what they shared on Facebook – I realized that I would be in the Atlanta area before Kyle went home. I could go and visit. I would be able to see what all our prayers had accomplished. But what in the world would I say when I saw her? That was what ran through my mind as I crested this hill and took in this sign.
And God said, “walk by faith, not by sight.” Or at least that was my translation. Trust that you’ll have the words or the silence or the presence you need even if I don’t show it all to you now. Just walk in faith. After all, this was what Kyle was doing, even though her legs weren’t working. In fact I expect she was doing a better job of it than I was.
I drove the 30 minutes, parked, prayed and climbed the flights of stairs to her floor. She wasn’t in her room so I admit it – I snuck a peek around at the walls lined with cards, scripture passages, and posters with well-wishes and happy birthdays. Particularly touching was the poster-card on the door, “Best Mom” it read.
I tip toed out and took the self-guided tour to what they call the gym, the cafe, the atrium. I read the signs about posted classes. Still, no Kyle. I went outside and took a photo of the bronze caste statue of a wheelchair athlete readying a javelin that greets visitors in the front of the building. All the while wondering whether I would miss her. I hadn’t been able to get in touch to tell her I was coming.
So I climbed the stairs one last time and stepped into the 3rd floor hallway. In she rolled, followed by her husband and sister. They were returning from lunch. I didn’t stay long, but it was nice to see her. To tell her I was sorry that this had happened. To ask what she looked most forward to about being home and what she would most miss when she left the Shepherd Center.
The conversation really was unremarkable. But I felt glad. Glad I had heard about her accident, had prayed, had friended her, had posted to her wall, had invited myself to come. Sight-limited as I was. I returned to my car to start the trip back to Dad’s. When I opened the door, there on my drivers side seat was a small, shiny penny. It must have fallen unnoticed from my change purse when I dug for toll quarters on the way down. Mr. Lincoln was looking up.
That was sort of a moment for me and God. “Glad you made the trip,” it seemed to say.
I will take that as a reminder today. When I’m concerned about knowing exactly where I’m going and what I’ll do when I get there I lose my grip on trust. The “in God we Trust” part. When my view of the way is obscured God says to me in Christ:
You wanna know the Truth? I am the Way to your life lived well. Follow me.