Wondering while Wandering…
…an artist’s limp toward finding ‘Radiance Through the Rain’
‘May the Rain of Suffering Soften Our Hearts,
Seeping Radiance to Our Thirsty Places.’
J. Douglas Thompson© 2023
When walking, running, or limping along very carefully putting one foot in front of the next, how will you maintain your balance? By again and again, choosing through your actions to delight in his way! Proverbs 4:12, Psalm 37:23, 24 Paraphrase JDT*
I ran, flat out, sprinting the 220 and the 440 yard dashes in track meets. I was not the fastest, but fast nevertheless. Later, I sprinted for airplanes and buses.
I played tight end in football, racing downfield and cutting left inside from my right end position and snagged those short important six-yard gains that over time, often won the day. One day in Ecuador during mid-life, I played flag football one afternoon with my co-workers against the Marines from the American Embassy. I caught several of those short passes and enjoyed once again being in a football game. The joy of movement!
I loved to hike! Endless days, hourglass sand painting high castle moments, passing the twenty-four, without the thought of limping. From times when my life was measured in months, I revelled in walking.
Those were the days!
My steps have taken me pathways of stumbling dreary days and sometimes long-valued ecstasy. Sometimes I chose the movement, sometimes I was handed reality that demanded my movement. From each, I walked toward the sun through fog and rain.
In my studio, I paint, usually standing up, moving, and walking back and forth. I do this to constantly gain perspective on my work. I now do it more slowly and with premeditated thought. It would have been wise to have interjected more of that in earlier life.
Hiking, as I said, was a passion. I loved the aloneness of the green pine scent breaths while breaking a trail through some wild place. My legs have taken me through high mountain passes, rivers up to my waist and rainy mud-sucking bottoms. I’ve slowly strolled curved beaches inhaling the beauty only the tropics provide. I’ve explored cities worldwide, galleries in them all, regions far-flung, valleys and heights galore. I drank deep as I ran, leaped and skipped through experiences gallons full, but seldom gave it a passing thought as to how my legs gave me the freedom. I had expectations. My legs would work! I was, however, a ‘dead man walking.’ I was numb emotionally—(another subject)—and seemingly was becoming numb physically.
My legs were doing as expected, or so I thought, but then things began to change. Electrical impulses from my brain raced currents of complex wiring through my spinal cavity to nerve endings telling each muscle how to react and mobilize me forward.
During the last 30 years, little red flags have warned me that not all was exactly as it should be. I would be walking, and suddenly, my legs sent me on an unintended journey downward as they collapsed, and I had to grab onto something to keep from falling. Electric shocks radiated from deep inside my muscle core to the surface. Hot needles sank deep into my feet and insisted on consideration. Finally I had a diagnosis of CMT, found in the family of Muscular Dystrophy. It could have been substantially worse as we investigated MS and several other considerations, but after years of various doctors probing the possibility, the pro’s settled on this.
I’m thankful. I can still walk! I’m semi-mobile. I now use a cane and often pull myself upstairs with my arms. A walker is engaged for taking out the garbage and so on. Walking is a luxury I intend to follow daily for as long as possible. There is however, no longer free-wheeling dance jiving except through the distant fog-insistent memory bank.
I need to choose daily upbeat thinking and rest in the fact of Proverbs 4:12
Brushstrokes and Color notes
So to me and maybe for you, let’s keep walking and living full out while we can, each day a joyous choice. And then, when we cannot, let our light shine in ways in our days that may seem fog thick, but give just enough hope and direction to the next person or ourselves for their next step. Each season brings the joys of acceptance, the tears of realization that the seasons change, and the choices of enduring.
As Thou Goest Step by Step I will Open the Way Before Thee
Having my promise, needing nothing more
Poem by Arthur C. Ritchie
Child of My love, fear not the unknown morrow,
Dread not the new demand life makes on thee;
Thy ignorance doth hold no cause for sorrow
Since what thou knowest not is known to me.
Thou canst not see today the hidden meaning
Of my command, but thou the light shalt gain:
Walk on in faith, upon my promise leaning,
And as thou goest all shall be made plain.
One step thou seest – then go forward boldly;
One step is far enough for faith to see;
Take that, and thy next duty shall be told thee,
For step by step, Thy Lord is leading thee.
Stand not in fear thy adversaries counting,
Dare every peril, save to disobey;
Thou shalt march on, all obstacles surmounting
For I, the Strong, will open up the way.
Wherefore go gladly to the task assigned thee
Having my promise, needing nothing more
Than just to know, where’ere the future finds thee,
In all thy journeying I go before.
“Let’s consider…When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.” Proverbs 4:12 (NIV)*
The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. Psalm 37:23, 24 (NIV)*