facing our giants…
when I am in a crowd of people. especially waiting in a line. there is something that happens that I find more than a little unpleasant. I went for years, hanging out in wheelchair position, without saying much about this. but, at 54 inches tall…or four feet six inches, i make eye contact with a lot of people’s posteriors. and sometimes people have this tendency to relax in certain ways that emit an odiferous offering. and my nostrils seem to be positioned to take the brunt of it. it’s just how it is in a wheelchair. am just being candid.
from this sitting position, i see people. i see most of life from this position. it is my vantage point. my perspective. and even if the difference in perspective does not seem huge, it is still a difference. sometimes, more than others, i think the difference in perspective is pretty significant. a lot more significant than my optical field being heavily populated with the gluteus clan.
i was asked to speak at a men’s retreat coming up this weekend. to tell a bit of my story of faith and life. suffering as well. and i follow a session about King David called “Facing Your Giants.” since being repositioned at four feet six some years ago, it feels like i have to look up at a lot of things. physically. actually. like i’m just a shorter guy in a world of taller types. i’m that squatty little guy trying to reach for the coffee filters on the top shelf at Target. reaching to the point that my shirt comes untucked and I show a little skin. fearful at times that i might lose my balance and fall out of my wheelchair. right there in aisle seven. so, i find myself asking for help much more than i used to do. much more than i want to. i am vertically challenged. sometimes i need help. i’m a man. i’m a dane. i’m a proud cripple. asking for help doesn’t come naturally to me.
“giant.” anything larger than us. anything that seems to have the power to intimidate us into being less than who and what we are. less than we can be. or simply a challenge. a challenge that asks something of us that causes us to get out of resting mode and exert. to stretch. to be. anything that requires us to ask for another’s help in order to __________. you fill in the blank. you’ve got giants in your life. with a little work, you can name them. and as you name them, find ways to face them.
facing our giants doesn’t always need to be alone. sometimes, it happens alone. but not always. and sometimes the proud cripple in me refuses to ask for help. for support. and then i miss out. sometimes in almost tragic ways. so, how about you? you “normals” as i sometimes playfully refer to the non-paralyzed people in my world. what do you miss out on because you’re too proud to ask? too insecure to appear in need? whatever the reason… you try to go it alone, and then what?
i think i reach more than i used to. i kind of have to. if i don’t reach, i go without. if I don’t ask for help, i go without. if i don’t own my limits, i don’t know that i need to do something to overcome them. what happens when we stop reaching? when we stop asking? questions mean that we dare to venture outside of our current answers. reaching means that we dare to go beyond our little realms of life-management. faith means that we dare to go beyond what is seen. what is felt. what is now understood.
there will always be giants in our lives. one kind or another. john ortberg makes this statement in his recent book: “The main measure of your devotion to God is not your devotional life. It is simply your life.” even this blog thing. “blog, blog, blog” sounds an awful lot like “blah, blah, blah.” i can sit here and write all day, i suppose. or i can get out there and live my life. face my giants.