I was “up north” in Michigan for a couple of days’ vacation, Friday to Saturday, and it’s always a mixture of relief and strain to be away from home for Mark and me. We like to get away from responsibility but even though we take a caregiver with us, my physical limitations suck the enjoyment out of everything that could be fun. Like a pimple needing to be popped, I think that the strain caused my heart to say “enough!” Away from the comfort of my adaptive equipment and super cushioned electric bed, I became so put out that I began to set my mind on life after the wheelchair. I focused on how close to being over-with that this stage of my life was. My ladies group had been meeting daily now as I witnessed a friend of ours who was step-by-step, walking out her healing of cancer for the last time. This miracle happening before my eyes raised my faith to the point that I knew my body was improving; it had to be.
On our way up north, we met for breakfast with some friends from church who, for an hour and a half retold their testimonies. I asked her to re-tell of when she raised her husband from the dead twice. That excited our spirits so much we were ready for anything. Every irritation I felt, I countered with thoughts like “it’s almost over.” We talked about life after I’m walking, planning our ministry and traveling. The trip home was long and uncomfortable. When we got back to our “comforts,” more of the irritations crept in. I kept ignoring them by focusing on life after the wheelchair, as if today was the last time I’d be dealing with all of this.
Next morning, Sunday, same thing; like today was the last day of life in a wheelchair, nothing bothered me. I heard a song in my head, “I’m already there…” by Lonestar, so I sang it. I thought of a new Tshirt, “Think Outside The Wheelchair.” On our way to church, I thought more and more about how different life will be after I’m walking. Then a thought, a phrase and a feeling came to me that I knew was not my own. I began to be teary-eyed and grab napkins to wipe my tears. The more I thought about it, more tears. I knew it was God but I didn’t know what it could mean. It was silly, yet profound. That’s my God, humorous and profoundly wise all at once. Like a day vision or dream that says so much more than you can explain to someone, I couldn’t tell my husband what I heard. He knew I was crying but he also knew I wasn’t ready to explain. Something was happening in my heart so spiritual, it was beyond understanding.
I don’t know if you’ll weep or even comprehend it, but God said to me, ”Let’s blow this popsicle stand.” The coined 1920’s phrase means to “leave this less than interesting place.” God said “Let’s” as in us, we, plural. He was referring to the wheelchair, the handicap, the life of paralysis. The vision would be when a gang leader stands up with a look of disdain on his face when he’s had enough of the place they are occupying. God said to me “let’s” because he’s been in this chair with me the whole time. He said “blow” because it’s effortless to leave. It’s a decision. He said “popsicle stand” referring to the handicap, the paralysis, the wheelchair because the giant my heart thought I was facing is merely a childish, flimsy, easily-defeated place not even worth remembering. The feeling of disdain began displacing my feelings of helplessness about the place I had been for 29 years. I wept through church and wrote down the experience. I didn’t get up to walk physically during church but I think spiritually, “I’m already there.”