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Putting Things Away

by Jan Ackerson  
9/24/2006 / Testimonies

A month after my daughter Jericho was in a terrible accident which shattered her backbone and injured her spinal cord, her physical therapist discharged her from the hospital with an item called a sliding board. This is a piece of polished wood about two feet long, used to assist in transfers from a wheelchair to another place to sit-a car, for example, or a sofa. One day, we took a hurried car trip and forgot to bring the sliding board with us. Jericho had to transfer using her arms and her stronger right leg. After that day, we put the sliding board away. Its collecting dust in the front closet.

Two months later, we had a follow-up appointment with the surgeon who had fused Jerichos shattered vertebrae. Everything was looking great, he told us, and it would no longer be necessary for her to wear a back brace. Jericho had absolutely hated that brace; it constricted her breathing and restricted her already limited freedom of movement. The doctor told her that she might want to wean off the brace, as she might experience achiness while her abdominal muscles got used to supporting her again. However, she took the brace off immediately after leaving his office, and she never looked at it again. Its collecting dust in the basement.

Jerichos first steps after her fall were taken with the assistance of a bulky device called an RGO. This molded plastic and metal contraption encased her from above the waist to the bottom of the feet. Jericho had great ambivalence about this device; it was helping her to learn to walk again, but it was so cumbersome that she vowed she would never be seen in public with it. A few months later, she had progressed sufficiently in her therapy, and her motivation was so high, that her therapists got her a sleeker and much less restrictive set of braces. From the day we brought home the new braces, the old robot set was put away. Its gathering dust in the attic.

A day came, several months into our ordeal, when I chose to take on a new heart. The old one was hardened with bitterness and anger, and scarred by sadness and self-pity. It sat heavily in my chest, preventing me from moving on spiritually or emotionally. The new, tender heart was a gift from God; He nudged it at me and whispered kindly, Isnt it about time for you to use this one? I still have the old heartIve put it away, but every now and then I take it out again, and shake off the dust. Sometimes I even try it out for a few hours or days, but Im increasingly finding it bulky and cumbersome, not unlike Jerichos old braces. It belongs on the shelf, with all the other discards of this adventure.

Jan is a Christian who has traveled through sorrow and depression, and has found victory and grace. She dedicates all writings to her Heavenly Father. Check out Jan's website at
Copywrite Jan Ackerson--2006

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