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.