Friday, July 21, 2017

Tippy Wheelchairs

Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him… 
Romans 8:28 NIV

Have you ever tipped your child over in his wheelchair? I haven’t just tipped my Liam over once. I have done it several times. You'd think that I would have learned the first time that his chair is tippy, but I guess I am a slow learner. To be very specific, I let Liam tip forward twice and sideways once. He wasn’t hurt in any of the falls, but they have made me realize how tippy his chair is and also how quickly a chair can gain momentum even on a very slight grade. Liam doesn’t self-propel or fasten the brakes on his own, so all wheelchair responsibility falls to the person who is pushing him. His tippy chair makes me extremely nervous and hesitant to let others push it. I think about all of the injuries that he could have had in his previous falls and how easy it was for the accidents to happen. I feel so stressful about Liam’s tippy chair that I try not to send him outside in it. He has a stroller that I prefer he uses for outside. 

This week we are on vacation with my husband’s family. A few nights ago, we had Liam in his wheelchair for dinner at the hotel restaurant. After dinner, everyone decided to take a walk to a little playground. The playground was down the road and then up on a big, grassy hill.  (Wheelchairs and big, grassy hills aren’t very good combos.) My husband was pushing Liam up the hillside, sort of tipping him back to get over the grass and I was a nervous wreck. My heart was racing. I was sweating. I was running after them trying to coach my husband on how to be safe (which you can imagine is not good for my marriage). I’m sure the whole family thought I was acting crazy. When Liam started to cry and gave me a reason to leave early it was a blessing. Of course, I was a complete wreck as my husband wheeled him back down the hill. Once we got inside the hotel, though, I sighed with utter relief. My boy was right side up and uninjured!

My concern about tippy wheelchairs has some legitimate basis, but I am not sure that the level of anxiety that I have over this is worthwhile. I have a fear that other people underestimate how tippy wheelchairs can be (because I did) and because of this will put Liam in danger. From a cognitive perspective, I know that I should warn the trusted people in our life that the chair can be tippy and then let them care for Liam. This feels impossible for me to do though. I end up watching them and wincing and getting short of breath with stress as they maneuver his chair. These are people who love Liam and care for Liam, yet I struggle to let go of control. Often I insist on pushing him myself.

When I think about chasing my husband and son around the park as I huff and puff with anxiety and yell out helpful hints about wheelchair maneuvering, I know it is ridiculous. The interesting thing is that it is a picture of how I can be with God. He is in control of my life and has promised that his plans are for my eternal good. Yet I chase after him grasping at the handles and trying to control things. My heart pounds with anxiety as I huff and puff and yell out my own ideas and desires. I know God’s love, but I struggle to let go of control of my life (or my children’s). In the case of the wheelchair, its tippy nature is a legitimate reason for me to worry and lack trust. The wheelchair has proven that it can cause harm and be dangerous. God’s perfect, good, and constant nature has given me no reason to worry or lack trust. He has always provided. His plans are always for my eternal good and he does not let his children come to harm. He provided for my deepest need when he sent his Son as my savior. Even when the hills are steep and the grass makes them hard to maneuver, God is with me. I can always trust him to keep me from danger.

Dear Heavenly Father,
When I feel anxious and overwhelmed please reassure me and give me your peace. When I want to control my own life or the lives of those I love, please help me to trust in you. Please remind me of your presence and your good plans for my eternal life. Amen.

Wendy Heyn

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this. Very appropriate for this season in my life. God bless you.