I walk behind her, hands outstretched

01 Aug

I walk behind her, hands outstretched.

For a brief moment, free of the chair that seems almost an extension of her. She grips the walker. Lunging and lurching with disobedient feet. A body in rebellion.

How does she do this?

I want to scream. Alternating between rage at brokenness, at the imprisonment of our bodies, and an internal abyss of sorrow and pain that knows not how to empty itself of tears. Well wishers pass by busily heading to their own destinations as she struggles on. Composure on my face is maintained. Sheepish, courteous smiles.

And she struggles on.

Images flash. I see her running to me in the Chapel. Her words spilling out, running nearly as fast as her feet as I greet her with coffee. No idea. No comprehension or appreciation for how precious the treasure contained  within such an ordinary moment.


A display of black boots, army style, gothic feeling. She pleads, she begs. I refuse. How could she possibly be seen wearing those? No. No. No. Now I would buy her fifty pair just to see her run in one of them.


I walk behind her, hands outstretched.

Will she ever be free? Free to achieve dreams nestled deep within? Freedom to be on her own? Freedom to love, to marry, to raise children, to drive that shiny red corvette that fills her imagination? Or is it my freedom for which I yearn? Freedom from pain and constraint and helplessness.

Will we ever be free?

And she struggles on, walking into a waiting sanctuary where words are often spoken for healing of back pains and joints, for relief of headaches and sinus irritations. Such healing words go down hard for me. I wait for the word of the empty chair, the useless walker. The empty cross. The word that never comes as healers’ eyes are drawn towards other prospects.

Will we ever be free?

Is this in fact our freedom? Am I kicking at goads of freedom for her, for me? Is this in fact the path of greatest blessing for her? For me? Why must blessing be borne with such pain?

She reaches the seat. She angles. She shifts. She sits. My outstretched arms are lowered. I hear Booth’s final words, propped up in that burning barn, wounded, dying, staring at his hands, saying, “Useless.”  I want to hurl the walker against the wall. I want to hurl it, smash it, break it. But I place it against the wall, and smile at the next passing well wisher.


And still we struggle on. Blessings borne with pain. Falling upward.


Posted by on August 1, 2011 in musings, Suffering


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10 responses to “I walk behind her, hands outstretched

  1. Dottie

    August 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Wow, Mike! This was beautifully written. A good writer can cause emotion in their readers. You did just that for me with your honesty in struggle.

  2. wordhaver

    August 1, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I’m actually afraid to go back and read it since I wrote it between 2 and 3AM…bless you Dottie 🙂

  3. Cliff Gaunya

    August 1, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks Mike. You are truly blessed and I’m grateful to God for for Him allowing me to know you.

  4. Joshua Hopping

    August 1, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    I think Dottie nailed it…

  5. wordhaver

    August 1, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Thank you Cliff!

  6. Jon T

    August 2, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Beautiful. Thanks.

  7. Angie Harvey

    August 3, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Your writing is emotionally stirring and I empathize with your pain and struggle. Thanks for sharing a piece of your heart.

  8. wordhaver

    August 3, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Thanks Angie!

  9. Matt

    August 3, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Oh Mike,
    I don’t pretend to know or understand your pain…or Hannah’s pain….but the way you have shared here in complete vulnerability I feel it and sense it. My thoughts and what some would describe as prayers (I don’t know what to call it anymore) are turned to the very picture you described of Hannah walking…and freedom. She is an inspiration to many and for that I groan for her freedom….

  10. wordhaver

    August 3, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Matt, I will take and be thankful for your groanings any day of the week! Such groaning is no doubt much more in tune than volumes of verbalized “prayers.” 🙂


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