November 11, 2010
Erik Sundquist, Director
The other day I was riding the bike at the gym staring out the window, passing time until my ride was over. Normally, there is nothing exciting to look at- just the usual people coming and going in the parking lot. This day was different though, what I saw was truly inspiring.
A van pulled up and a man who I frequently see (we’ll call him Dave) came down the side ramp in his wheelchair. His story is that he was paralyzed several years ago in a skiing accident. He is an inspiration in that he continues to work his job and work out at the gym doing what movements he is able to do. He was followed down the ramp by his teenage son who was also in a wheelchair- not because anything is wrong with him but rather he just wants to be like his dad! I sat there riding and thinking this thought- “what is there in my life that would make my kids want to be just like their dad”.
It was remarkable to me that Dave’s boy wants to be just like him even though Dave can’t run the trail with him, throw a football or ski down mountains with him anymore. Rather, Dave’s son sees the inner character qualities in his dad¬ – namely the ability to look adversity in the face and declare that adversity will not win.
So, Dave and his son went in the gym and I went about my ride and listening to my iPod. My heart could not help but focus on James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. And perseverance must finish its work so that you may become mature and complete, not lacking anything”. I long to be a man who allows trials in my life to allow the rough edges in my character to make significant gains in the growth process. I deeply desire to be a person who is becoming a more mature individual through trials that God allows to come my way.
Meanwhile, as my ride was nearing its end, I saw Dave getting back into his van in his electronic wheelchair. Then, his son began his ascent up the ramp in his wheelchair pushed by his own arms. The son’s first attempt failed miserably as he moved about a foot, got stuck and then rolled himself back down the ramp to start over. He tried again to go up the ramp and failed…. Now, he got a look of total determination, put on his “game face” and tried even harder. Finally, he made it up the ramp and into the van on about his 5th try or so.
What I found amazing was that he did not even consider it a possibility to simply get out of the wheelchair, fold it up and put it in the van and walk into the van. It is simply not in this DNA of this boy to do anything other than live with the same fervor that his father has. Quitting was not an option…..
At Safe Harbor, we encounter clients who are experiencing significant hardships in their lives. Trials have a way of either taking the heart out of me and you or helping us become people who are rich in hope, compassion, strength, mercy, fortitude…….At Safe Harbor, we are so honored to be able to walk with others and watch as they become more mature and complete.