I’m sitting in the physical therapy room at South Central Kansas Medical Center, watching Amanda work with four-year-old Faith. Faith’s adoptive mother, Lisa, who is also her grandmother, tells me that the little girl “was left in her crib sixteen hours a day, maybe more.” That absence of interaction has left Faith with some challenges that other four-year-olds don’t usually face. Although the little redhead is tall for her age, her coordination and motor skills lie toward the other end of the comparative spectrum.
Amanda has Faith standing on a tiny trampoline and tells her to get ready to catch a soft rubber ball. Faith holds her hands together and lifts them up just above waist level. She catches the first toss while maintaining her balance on the somewhat unstable surface of the mini-tramp. She has no idea how many muscles she is using nor how this activity is helping her remedy the deficiencies of her early neglect. Her lack of awareness is really not that much different than mine.
Time and time again, God has set me on some sort of slightly unstable surface and said, “Here, catch.” I don’t always enjoy the game and seldom accomplish the desired goal on the first attempt. But somehow he manages to keep me trying, feet shuffling about in their search for surer standing, elbows shoveling air as if my effort was all that mattered, head twitching about trying to find that ball lost in the sun, and lungs sometimes gasping for air. Me thinking “Man, this is really some kind of game!” and God softly murmuring encouragement and consolation, “Yes, it’s called ‘Life,’ and you’re doing better than you think.”
Noting that my presence is distracting Faith, I excuse myself from the conversation and leave the room for a while. When I slip back in later, she is joyfully hopping from the middle of the room toward the south wall. It’s a long room. It takes her a bunch of six-inch-hops to make it. As she turns, Amanda calls out to her, “That’s really good, Faith. Can you hop back over here?”
Lisa softly exclaims, “She’s never done that before!”
As long as faith works within us and we keep responding to the Voice that keeps calling us onward, we will find ourselves doing things we’ve never done before. Sometimes in slow, aching trudges. Sometimes resenting the nudges. But each little hop of faith is helping us reach places we’ve never been before. Our effort and the guiding of the Great Therapist.
Along with countless prayers and immeasurable love.