Come Along … October 11, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

My legs are not working very well.

It is a simple statement. Looking down at it typed on this computer screen, it seems rather insignificant. Like most truly profound realizations, it comes suddenly, sits on top of your life and demands attention. The question is, what is the nature of the effort I will give to such an interruption?

First of all, I am not surprised. I am often amused when people act shocked by events which certainly had many warnings. One of our greatest human hypocrisies is the instinct to be wounded by the knife that is often in our own hand.

I weighed twelve-and-a-half pounds when I was born. For a myriad of reasons, I have continued to escalate from that point. A conversation on the issue would include a discussion of my metabolism. Also in that exchange would be a lifestyle which certainly has enjoyed fits of festive excess. Matter of fact, it is rather unusual for a man of my girth to survive to the ripe old age of sixty years. I am here courtesy of three miraculous ingredients: vegetables, exercise and the grace of God.

Unlike many people of my circumference, I have always been a consumer of fruits and vegetables. I also have partaken of much physical activity and exercise, even up to a few days ago, when my legs decided to take a much-needed vacation without giving two weeks’ notice. But mainly, God has found it, in His infinite wisdom, to forgive my many indiscretions, accept my fits of repentance and allow me to be a productive citizen of both the kingdoms of earth and heaven. For this I am grateful.

I have on occasion in my life, taken advantage of the medical field to improve my situation. If you will allow me a bit of candor, it has been a mixed bag. There are things that science does well, and things that the knowledge of man does absolutely poorly. If your particular affliction lands on the list of well-known cures or acceptable remedies, you are blessed and usually can receive relief from a doctor or nurse. If you fall out of the parameters of present research, comprehension or understanding, you will have the sensation of being a guinea pig–inflicted instead of affected. You can feel free to disagree with me on this and your opinion is just as good as mine.

But as I look at the work that God has given me for the past forty-two years, reaching out to my fellow human beings with a message of hope, compassion and common sense, I am not inclined at this point to turn myself over to the Philistines so they can cut my hair and rob me of my strength.  My hair, in this case, is the talent God has given me, and my strength is the joy I have in sharing it and seeing how, in my own simple way, I am able to touch the lives of my equals.

So what am I to do with a pair of legs yearning for retirement, when the top half of my body is churning for the thrill of the pursuit and the ecstasy of victory?

I would like you to come along with me as I pursue a miracle–or discover the true heights and depths of my foolish quest.

Here is the miracle: can I learn the wisdom afforded me about my health, weight loss, exercise and even water retention, which will enable me to take this temporarily detained body of mine and move it back into a position of mobility?

Or: will I discover that I have crossed some line, where my lack of attention to my own physical well-being has left me destitute and without recourse?

You certainly can understand why I find it difficult to believe that my Friend, who art in heaven, would abandon his buddy, who is bound by earthly limitations. I have trusted Him all my life, and on this Thursday, October 11th, I will trust Him again.

So what does that mean? It means that I am heading off tonight, by faith, to Sycamore, Ohio, to share my hopes and dreams in front of a small gathering of people. I will be doing so in a unique way.

I will be sitting in a wheel chair that I have rented for the occasion.

Do I feel a sense of personal loss or vacancy over appearing debilitated or weakened? Of course. I am a man. (Ignore that little piece of macho.) I am a human–and therefore, I want to appear strong and in control. But the issue comes down to whether I wish to sacrifice my pride, or lose my mission.

Let’s talk about what I DON’T know. I don’t know anything about a wheel chair. I don’t know if I have enough leg strength to get in and out of it to perform my duties. I don’t know if people will accept me as I am, and realize that the most important thing about me is the message I bring. I don’t know if you can sit in a wheel chair and play a piano. I don’t know if any of this will work.

But faith is not the substance of things “checked out;” it is the substance of things hoped for. Faith is also not the evidence of tried and true practices, but instead, the fierce pursuit of things unseen.

For the next little while, I would like you to come along with me on this journey. I am sure some of you will desire to rebuke me. Others will pray for me. There may be a few who will just find this a piece of fascinating poetry and prose. It makes no difference.

What I can promise you is an odyssey–and that it will come to an end. Our story has this beginning, many conflicts, I am sure, and will culminate with a third-act conclusion.

So I am off tonight to Sycamore, God willing. And I never ask Him to be willing until I make sure of my own stockpile of desire.

  • I am embarrassed, but not defeated.
  • I feel lonely, but not alone.
  • I feel weak, but not destroyed.
  • I feel abandoned, but also reinforced.
  • I feel selfish, but also generous.

I feel it’s time to close this particular jonathots … with the tale incomplete.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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