Can I tell you a secret to my success?
To my resilience, my abundance and ability to find solutions,
create opportunities, and get unstuck?
I do things differently.
I do things that make me feel good.
Allow me to relax and have fun.
And I take time to celebrate me.
This week I am celebrating because
I finished my first week of walking and “working out.”
I walked 15 miles,
Not all at once.
But 20 minutes at a time,
the time it takes me to walk a mile,
Up and down my driveway.
I am not a mall walker, and I don’t like going to a gym.
So this is something I am doing my way,
Walking up and down my driveway.
Several times a week,
Sometimes twice a day …
A total of 53, 677 steps …
One step at a time.
My neighbors who walk their dogs,
Or walk down the street and around the block,
Sometimes stare at me – I know it looks strange.
They don’t see what I see.
This is a miracle.
Because when I was growing up,
walking was something I didn’t like.
Despite two surgeries for my cerebral palsy,
I would still walk with a limp,
Both feet severely pigeon toed,
Hips and arms swinging.
Trying to be helpful,
My mom would remind me of things
that my physical therapist would say
to think about when I walked …
Stick your stomach in,
Don’t let your neck stick out,
Keep your feet straight ….
These things are what “normal” bodies do
when they walk – automatically, without thinking.
But my body required concentration,
And needed to be told what was “normal”.
The Church saw me as broken, even cursed
Telling me I needed to be “healed and whole”,
Always offering to “pray for me”.
It took me a long time
to accept and love my body,
Exactly as I am.
To see myself as beautiful,
Not broken, needing to be fixed,
but perfectly human, healed and whole.
This allowed me to let go of the “either – or”
Either I am “healed” or not.
Either I am “healthy” or not.
But I live in and appreciate the “and” …
I no longer live with chronic illness and pain,
I ended my disability benefits,
And stopped walking with my cane in 2018.
I am still living with lupus,
taking immunosuppressive medication,
My legs still walk with a slight limp,
My right hip is turned inwards,
and my right foot becomes more pigeon toed
after I have walked a lot or am tired.
Today I see the miracle in every step that I take
remembering the little girl with cerebral palsy,
who was told she couldn’t play the monkey bars,
but joined and competed with her high school swim team
even though she didn’t realize she didn’t know how to swim.
I remember and celebrate the woman
who ended years of chronic pain and illness,
gave up her disability benefits,
didn’t end up in a nursing home,
and stopped walking with a cane …
Disability doesn’t mean you can’t.
Being disabled isn’t a “bad” thing.
Being disabled means I do things differently.
I love walking now,
And celebrating every step.
You are worthy of celebrating!
Today I celebrate the marathon I will walk,
or maybe even run, someday in my future.
This is my story, and my journey,
One that I am celebrating for me.
I honor and celebrate your story and journey.
The miracle in me sees the miracle in you.
Big or small, remember to take it one step at a time.
I hope my story helps you get to know me,
And allows you to celebrate and accept your own.