The amputation of my left foot guaranteed that I would spend time and maybe lots of time in a wheelchair. For weeks I did everything I could to stay away from that chair preferring the comfort of my bed. I did this, in part, because I felt “normal” in bed while sitting in the chair reminded me that I really wasn’t.
Today I see things differently. I see myself as healthy, active and strong and my chair as playing a big part in making me that way and for me that counts it as a gift. Admittedly wheelchair travel has it’s challenges but it seems to me that facing and overcoming challenges is the very thing that makes us wise and strong and gives life a spice of adventure not just for wheelchair jockeys like me but for everyone.
As I look back on my earlier attitude toward the chair I realize that my problem was actually fear. My amputation had opened for me a world of joy-filled opportunities (including this blog) but I was only feeling loss because I was clinging to what used to be while failing (or was it refusing) to see the radically new life spread before me. Today I still don’t love my chair but I am grateful for it. I’ve even learned to enjoy parts of wheelchair life like that handy placard that guarantees the car I’m riding in a first class parking place, the advantage of an excellent seat wherever I go because I always bring it with me and the awesomeness of being able to turn 360 degrees on a dime anywhere anytime. In the end the device is just a tool and when it comes to tools their value depends on what we do with them.