For Ladies ...

Lessons Learned From A Wheelchair

Anita Montgomery

Recently, I was confined to a wheelchair for three months due to a fall in which I injured my knee and shattered my ankle. During that time I learned many valuable lessons. The first was not to take life for granted, as James says in chapter 4, verse 14, "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow." We never know what a day may bring. For some it brings sorrow, pain, or even death. For me it was a realization of just how unpredictable life can be. Fortunately, I did not have a fatal accident. If I had, would I have been prepared to face my eternal destiny?

Without prayer I would have been completely overwhelmed. I'm not saying that I wasn't worried or afraid, but, through prayer, I gained comfort and strength in knowing that God would sustain me and that I could face whatever was to come. Remember 1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing." We must pray in good and bad times and remember to be thankful when we overcome our trials.

I gained a new appreciation for my Christian friends. This congregation came to our aid immediately. A wheel chair ramp was built; food was brought in; and there were offers of help in many other areas. I received cards and best wishes from home and other congregations.

There are so many things that we do every day without thinking, "What if I were unable to do this again at all or without help?" Simple things like washing your hands or face without having to ask someone to bring you a basin of water, soap, washcloth, and towel.

Fortunately, our home is attached to the building, and, with the wheelchair ramp, I was able to attend worship. I was so grateful for that blessing. Although getting dressed in a wheel chair is possible, it is not easy. This taught me two valuable lessons. First, if you are healthy, you should make every effort to be at every service possible. We never know when that privilege might be taken from us. Second, we should admire and respect those in the congregation who are older, sick, or handicapped in any way, who do make that special effort to attend.

I relearned the value of a faithful, caring husband who waited on me and even slept on the couch while I slept in a hospital bed in our living room. Ladies, let your husbands know how much you appreciate them. (Ephesians 5:24; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:4)

When facing a long recovery time, you must have patience. Don't think of the months ahead. Just take one day at a time. Remember that "the trying of your faith worketh patience," and patience is one of the "fruits of the spirit" that we are to add to our lives.

Every experience makes us better able to understand what others are going through. Before my fall I didn't know what it was like to be unable to walk. Now I do, and I can better understand people's feelings and frustrations.

Fortunately, I knew that I was eventually going to be able to get back to my regular routine, but there are those who will never get out of their wheelchairs and those with terminal illnesses who will not live their lives to their full extent. This knowledge made me see how thankful I need to be. We are not promised lives without sickness or trouble or pain, and, because of that, we need to be truly thankful for the health that we do have.

My prayer is that I have learned to be more empathetic to those who are having health problems; to do more than ask, "How are you?"; to try to help in any way I can.

Probably one of the most important lessons I learned is that we need to get to know each other better. I was brought closer to everyone who visited or called. It was more, and it takes more, than just saying "Hello" at the building. Good, close, and lasting relationships need to be established. We are God's family, and we should treat each other as such.

Even though this has not been the most pleasant time in my life, I have learned valuable lessons. We should learn something from every experience we have, and, then, take what we have learned and use it to help ourselves and others around us. -16150 St. Clair Ave., East Liverpool, OH 43920. (Editor's note: Sister Anita is the wife of Will Montgomery, minister for the St. Clair Avenue Church of Christ.)


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