Sprained… October 21, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

I was thirty-eight years old, traveling on the road with my family, staying at a Mom-and-Pop motel with mis-matched towels, decor from the Nixon Administration and parking spaces set apart with a paint job that looked like it was done by a drunken sailor from the Caribbean.

We were late to our gig. I was trying to be the mature, energetic father leading his family out the door as efficiently as possible ( and consider–I was traveling with an eighteen-year-old, a fourteen-year-old and a four-year-old. As I stepped out the door of our room, I forgot that the drop to the sidewalk to the sidewalk was a little lower than I had recalled, so I did one of those stupid things we often do by trying to address my step-down. In the attempt to adjust my step, I slipped and sprained my ankle–very severely.

I sat on the ground for a moment and finally my two sons were able to pull me to my feet. I went in and sat on the bed. It was time to make a decision. Was I going to call the church and cancel the date? Was I going to go to the doctor and find out some form of bad news? Was I going to put my foot up on a pillow, ice it down and watch television? Or was I going to get to my feet, find a way to get to that church and do the gig?

That particular scenario–in diverse forms, areas and situations–has been the story of my life. I have no criticism for anyone who decides to cancel a date, go to the doctor or ease on a pillow and watch television. It’s just not me.

I got to my feet and with the help of my children and my wife, I hobbled to my car and made it over to the church, only to discover that the sanctuary was 125 years old and was up two flights of solid oak wooden stairs. I was looking for a break and instead got broken by new challenges. It took me nearly twenty minutes to get up those stairs. My children went ahead of me, unloaded the equipment and kept passing me over and over again as they carried things up the stairs with their youthful zeal. I inched my way along like I was crawling on razor blades.

I got to the top of the stairs and sat down on the back pew, allowed my family to put together all the equipment, putting my foot up on the pew in front of me. Gradually, I was given a sense of relief. My leg actually went numb. I was completely free of pain–that is, as long as I agreed not to walk on it.

But walk I did. Matter of fact, I stood on it for two hours while I played piano, sang, taught and then, during a particularly sweet time of fellowship, prayed for about thirty-five or forty people who came up seeking wisdom, guidance and a touch from God.

As the evening wore on, my leg occasionally fell asleep, so I had to bounce it against the floor to wake it up so I wouldn’t accidentally fall over. There are two things I remember from that evening: First was the amazing grace that was imparted to me, allowing me to finish out my responsibilities and make it back to my room for a beautiful night of rest. The second thing that sticks in my mind from that night was that even though I was hobbling around, none of the congregation seemed to be aware of my affliction or terribly concerned about my limping. They were focused.

Yes–they were focused on their own needs. I know there are some people who would find that horrible or insensitive. I disagree. God gave me the ability, the tenacity and the mercy to do that show so I could help someone.

Ever since then I have used that night to remind myself that life is always a decision–and usually there are three choices: you can decide to wait, you can decide to ignore, or you can decide to do.

Some people think that waiting is smart, and it might seem that way if there was a guarantee that opportunity actually knocks more than once.

Other folks will insist that variety and possibility just don’t ever come their way, when what they have really done is establish a lifestyle which filters out anything that is foreign to their simple experience.

I have been a person who decides to do. Even though I’ve had failures and experienced set-backs, I have never regretted setting into practice what I preach instead of just printing a book or sharing a sermon about my theories.

It took me six weeks for my leg to heal from the injury that happened that evening so many years ago. I didn’t miss a date. Most of them were done in pain, but today I don’t remember the pain, only the fact that something was accomplished and adversity was overcome.

Most of our lives are sprained. Just like my leg, we have plenty of reason to call ahead and cancel our plans. Yet, life is just too short a span to be spent wondering what you missed. Yes, life is brief, so you might as well use all the space available, because there are no guarantees that you will ever get another crack.

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

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