South Park, in Darlington is a favourite place for families on a sunny Saturday afternoon - just like today. I have often walked to and around the park and enjoyed the exercise and the scenery, it is a familiar place.
This afternoon I went to South Park with Robert (my husband) but today it was different because I am temporarily unable to put any weight on my right leg due to a broken bone. This meant that I was not walking but being pushed in a wheelchair, kindly loaned by Barnard Castle Methodist Church. For me, this is temporary, but I have seen a walk in the park from a new perspective and it has been a learning experience.
I learned about the need to trust because I had to trust Robert. In one way this was not difficult or new, I do trust him implicitly and have done so through 38 years of marriage. I trust him but I was still nervous when we went down fairly steep slopes or towards the lake or over bumpy ground. I was very aware that I had no control, I couldn't even put my feet on the ground to slow things down and I am not used to having no control.
I learned about guilt and the futility of it in this instance. I felt guilty when we went uphill. I have lost a lot of weight recently but even so it was an effort to push me uphill. I wanted to help and thought leaning forward might do it - but it made no difference - so I had to accept that Robert was expending energy and getting a work-out for my benefit and all without complaint. I am grateful.
I was reminded of the sheer fun of being in a park. I found that I was at eye-level with the children we met and it was fantastic! They were smiling at me, talking to me and laughing with me. What a privilege, I enjoyed it immensely. On the other hand, I was not at eye-level with the adults in the park. Sometimes our eyes met, usually because their children had spoken to me but otherwise I was fairly invisible to them. Today, through the children around me, I was enjoying scooters and playing hide and seek and riding tricycles rather than walking briskly to make sure I did 10,000 or more steps and used up a few hundred calories!
I am not pretending or claiming to have gained great insights into what it is like to be in a wheelchair but the new perspectives on a walk in the park have been a cause for reflection.
I could go on to reflect on trust in God and playing in God's presence but I won't - I will leave for you to do - if you want to.
Thursday, 3 September 2015
Lament for Aylan
So small, so still
So beautiful in life
So unbearable in death
Carried by the sea
Carried by our tears
Carried gently in strong arms.
Open the eyes of those with power
To see your children in their desperate need;
Open the arms of those in government
To welcome those who come to our shores;
Open the hearts of each one of us -
Move us to sorrow, anger and action
That the salt sea of sorrow
May be turned to soothing waters
And that tears of desperation
May become tears of joy.
O God, help your people.
Aylan Kurdi, aged 3, from Kobani was washed up on a Turkish beach near Bodrum in September 2015. He was just one of thousands fleeing for safety from Syria and other parts of the world.
The local fisherman who discovered his body among others on the beach said, "I came to the sea and I was scared. My heart is broken."