There are moments in your life that becomes fixed markers along the timeline. Afterward, time is marked as “before” and “after” that moment.
For me, one such moment came in 2010 on the street near my home in NJ.
If you know me even a little bit you probably already know that 1) I was born with only part of my right arm and 2) I hate running. These things are important to keep in mind as I tell this story.
For some unknown reason in the spring of 2009 I started to get an itch to run. Maybe it was my desire to run away from my problems, or run away from life, or maybe it was divinely inspired. I tend to think it was inspired. And if you had any idea the pain my knees suffered and the terrible resentment I held toward “running Wednesdays” in high school, you’d probably agree this was inspired.
By the summer I had settled into a pretty consistent running course around the neighborhood. One day after work I changed into my work-out clothes, donned my iPod, removed my prosthetic (because who needs extra weight when they run, really?) and set out on my usual 2-mile route – completely unaware that a defining moment was on it’s way.
A few blocks down the street, I was just getting into a rhythm when a car pulled into the driveway ahead of me. Close. Completely cutting me off kind of close. Even worse, they did not pull in the driveway. The car simply sat on the sidewalk.
Annoyed, I ran around the back of the vehicle not wanting to lose my pace. That’s when I heard voices just over the blare of my iPod.
“Excuse me!” they said. “Excuse me!”
Even more annoyed I thought, “Seriously, now I need to go back and give them directions!?”
I turned around and walked back. It was a father and three kids. The daughter in the passenger seat next to him, and two younger boys in the back seat. They were all very much calling after me. It was a little weird to think these 6-ish year old kids were so very interested in finding the right street.
That’s when the daughter lifted her right arm through the window. She pointed to it with her left and said, “Look! I’m just like you.”
My heart stopped. My life stopped.
I had never met anyone with a congenital condition like mine. Not even close. There had been some amputees that crossed my path, but this was the first from-birth I could remember. And this little girl (about 8) wasn’t just a little like me, she was EXACTLY like me. Her right arm stopped short several inches below the elbow. It was the closest I had ever come to understand what other people must see when they look at me.
Somehow I had spent almost 30 years on this earth and only met folks born with 10 fingers. And if I hadn’t been running, I never would have been at the right place to meet them. And if I hadn’t been running I never would have removed my prosthetic and they never would have noticed that I was different.
I wish I could have connected with this family in some way that was truly meaningful beyond a few moments. In my surprise, I could only get out a few questions. I’ve since completely forgotten her name, but not her face.
The most important thing I could get out was to assure her that she could do anything, and never to put limits on herself. She made a look that said, “duh.” And nodded in agreement. Then, just as quickly as they came into my life, they were headed out again to their appointment somewhere in town.
I ran the rest of my route, but I’m sure my time was in the toilet because I spent the next 1.75 miles sobbing. I must have looked a complete mess to the passing cars, but I was well beyond caring by then.
For the first time in my life, I wasn’t alone. Yet, before that moment I had never really struggled or felt alone. This wasn’t a space that previously longed to be filled by any means. It was more like finding a room full of love in my heart that I never knew existed before.
I was expecting to help some lost souls find their way. Instead, I discovered I was the lost soul who found a new family member.
Isn’t that how God works, though? Just when you’ve found a rhythm in life and things are going along well (or so you think) He throws a wrench in the mix. You get frustrated and annoyed that things aren’t going “according to plan.” But as you deal with His fly in the ointment, you find a blessing you never expected. A new door is opened with new people to love and a new reason to praise God.
My conclusion, therefore, is this: interruptions are invitations to experience greater love. Maybe we won’t accept the invitation that same day. It might take weeks or years to heal from a painful interruption. But the invitations are there for us to accept nonetheless; and I’ll do my best to accept them as they come.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.” – Genesis 50:20
“For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things.” – 2 Corinthians 1:6
|Ginny Priz is a Christian coach, writer and speaker. Ginny has overcome her own drama with a prosthetic arm, alcohol, panic disorder, and codependency. She has a passion for guiding others toward the same peace and freedom she has come to experience. Ditching drama is possible for anyone “armed” with God and the Serenity Prayer! It’s never too late to start your own Serenity Journey.|