Walking is like Life – A Metaphor.

“There are like a gazillion examples in the Bible and a gazillion verses that mention walking and there is so much about “walking” that is like life and true to life that it’s almost like, if you stop walking – you die life is movement. Learning to walk holds many lessons for life, there are spiritual lessons in the physical world because we know that a lot of things in life are physical and metaphorical and a lot of stories in the Bible are like that as well.

Being born with cerebral palsy I have many physical challenges, which means that physiotherapy is a very important life line to me. Towards the middle of 2020 I had to engage in a battle with our medical aid to try and convince them to pay for additional physio sessions as they only pay for 10 sessions a year, less than one a month which is not nearly enough to help me cope. They turned down my request for additional sessions, even after we’ve gone for second opinions, applied for ex gratia and the case manager even came to see me and to assess my situation. After all that they just turned me down, saying that cerebral palsy is not a prescribed minimum benefit and according to law they are not obliged to help me. The case manager said that I had to be realistic and know that no medical aid is going to through thousands in the water when there is no hope of recovery. I said that it’s not money in the water but literally my livelihood, it keeps me going, it gives me hope, it gives me a reason to move and keeps me sane. They kept on saying that I need to do things on my own and at home, which I do. I go horseback riding, I do gym and there is only so much that my mom can do as she works full time. I need to see a physiotherapist regularly.

After this lost battle I fell into a deep depression and stopped walking all together, my thoughts being that this was never going to get better. (I know mostly I am childishly naïve, living in positive denial, believing that my life can be better). At that time I have had enough, thinking that I couldn’t do this anymore…I had no hope for the future. I just wanted to ‘be’ for a while and stopped ‘doing’, it hurt too much to fight this loosing battle.

God reminded me of when Jesus met the lame man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5) and He asked him: “Do you want to get well?” This man had so many excuses of why it wasn’t possible for him to get into the pool on time but Jesus just replied:” Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Through this it was as if God was saying to me to get up, to stop feeling sorry for myself and to get my act together. This moment came on the 1st of February 2021 when I said to my physiotherapist that I have stopped walking for a long time, because of the lockdown, the lack of funds and not being able to see him for a number of months. I could not see the use of trying to keep it up on my own when I could get no therapy, nothing was ever going to improve and it was useless to through all the money for therapy down the drain. I started to believe what the medical aid was telling me. I regret doing that because it may be the truth for someone else but for met that is not true. When I believe that my battle is lost and those days will just pass by meaningless.

When I said that I don’t want to do this anymore, I am tired, why should I do this my physio said that he couldn’t convince me to do anything different but that he knew that I have done it before! That was my “get up and take your bed and walk!” moment. I realised then that even if I can’t have more physio, I can get up with my walker and walk on my own. The physio is amazing in helping me master, correcting and teaching me, the finer art of walking but I can still walk up and down the passage on my own. I just need to wait for someone to be around for safety sake.

From that day I have been walking every day, sometimes I could only manage a mere 12 meters from my room to the lounge, other days I managed more than 130 meters! It is very painful but not walking hurt more than the pain caused by walking. The hopeless despair of feeling sorry for myself and not doing anything is heavier than the pain of walking. When I was not walking I didn’t have hope, I felt depressed, despaired and desperate. There was a constant emptiness, a lack of purpose. I wanted God to take me away!

When I started walking again I had to start from scratch, I had no strength or co-ordination. Consistency, momentum and movement are needed to keep us going, in any part of our lives. By God’s Grace I got going again and have been at it for more than a month, reporting to my friends every day. Their support and the accountability I have towards them, to check in after my daily session, really keeps me going. I phoned a friend at the beginning of this walking journey, asking for his support and have often had to talk to him to ask for prayer and support, when things were tough but it made the world of difference to know that others were there for me.

                         

They go all out to assist me in whatever way they can, even providing the proverbial ‘carrot in front of the donkey!’

I have been sharing my walking journey on Facebook, believing that my perseverance can help someone else to keep going through whatever tough time they have to face.  I have launched a “Back-a-Buddy” campaign to fund more physio sessions too.

    Please use this link to support me in my fundraising campaign: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/brenda-klopper

‘There’s so much that I can say about walking being like life but for now I’m going to keep this second part of the analogy short and sweet!’

You see, walking is this thing that can only happen as long as we’re moving, it’s one of the first things ever that we learn to do, and once we learn to do it, we never really stop until it’s almost time to die, to “pass on and go home”.

The really important thing about walking is that you have to keep moving. If you don’t keep moving, nothing will happen. It’s like that with life too, if you don’t keep moving, nothing will happen.

The other fascinating thing about walking is that, at first, we don’t know how to do it. At first it’s foreign to us, we literally have to sit first, then crawl, and then we start standing on “wonky” legs, and then we can walk.  That’s like life as well, it’s these baby steps throughout all our phases in life, but initially, we don’t know what to do whenever a problem faces us and then we learn to “sit” with the problem. I think this is when you give it to God. Then we “crawl” with the problem. I think this is where you bear the burden of the problem, and it’s really difficult to crawl with a problem right?!  So you struggle to move but you still hold on to whatever it is. The problem can for instance be any of the following, name it – low self-esteem, addiction, judgements, sadness, broken relationships, etc. Sometimes things happen and we hold on to bits of it, feelings or grudges, we “crawl” with it, and it’s really difficult. It would be easier if we just let go of it, and that’s where the next thing comes in. In order for us to be free of a problem, we literally need to “stand up”. Stand in Faith, then once we are standing in Faith, we can start moving away from the problem. – Have you ever seen when a baby stands up, when they’re leaning against something like a table or a chair or they stand up and they pull against their parents legs or something or they hold up their hands so their parents can pull them up and give them a tug  to help them up. They hold out their hands so that someone will take them. I think that’s what God wants us to do with our problems, instead of struggling with them, instead of “crawling” around with it, holding on to it like this massive weight just keeping us back, making us not able to stand, He wants us to slowly but surely pull ourselves up against whatever it is we can (hopefully God Himself) until we realize, “Hey, it’s actually way good up here!” Being able to see the world from a different perspective and not be on the floor, crawling around, not being able to see everything, not being able to move freely. “It’s actually really good with this view and – wow – if I’m standing, I can really take a step, and I hold out my hand to God and I say “Here I am Lord!” “Take me, teach me how to walk in your way.” “Teach me how to live another day freely, teach me how to live with a joyful, childlike exuberance and enthusiasm and excitement, like discovering things for the first time.

It’s really special and I think that’s what God wants from us in our lives. He wants us to cherish every moment and He wants us to know that even when it’s difficult, He is right here by us, every step of the way, no matter what the problem is. He’s with us when we’re “sitting” and are unable to move because a problem has paralyzed us. He’s with us when we’re “crawling”, carrying the weight around with us, just figuring out how to move through the world. He’s with us when we’re learning to “stand” on wonky, wobbly legs, trying to find our balance, trying to find who we are in Him. He’s with us every step of the way, no matter what the problem.”

“Then the last phase comes, once you’ve learned to stand and find your balance and find your place, you get to walk freely in Him. The Word says “Freely, you’ve received Him, freely give” (Matt.10:8). God has given us so much, life in abundance.” Life in abundance is such a beautiful thing. I often wonder about that scripture, as I have had so many different experiences of that scripture. Is it life in abundance of blessings or good things? Abundance can mean so many things. Sometimes, as we go through life’s seasons, we may have a lot of trials and a lot of tribulations and a lot of sadness and a lot of heartache. It’s almost like it’s an “abundance” of different tuff to deal with feelings. But then we must move through other seasons and it’s an abundance of joy, an abundance of laughter, an abundance of love and life and God’s Grace, which is always with us. Whether you’re going through an abundance of calamity or an abundance of blessings, God’s Grace is always with you.”

How that then relates to walking is, when you’ve figured out and have been able to find your feet and your balance in Christ and in Jesus and in who you are in Him as his beloved child, then you gain the confidence to put out your hand and say “Daddy, here I am.” [You know the picture – when a baby is walking towards you, they get so excited and so happy, they run towards you – I can almost picture a Daddy embracing that baby]. We walk towards God and He stands there smiling, looking at us, being so happy, loving us, His children. His children who He says should accept Him with childlike Faith, because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to children and we need to see the Kingdom like a child would. I can see God just standing there, waiting for us to take a step, and another step, and another step and He says: “Come on little girl.”, “Come on little boy.”, “Come on, come on.”, “I believe in you.”, “You can do this, you can do this.”, “Take one step further, one step further.” Once you’re eventually there you say, “Yes God, you are my daddy and I love you and my life is yours. I surrender”. When you eventually just fall into His arms, you can just be there and feel safe. You walk towards God and He picks you up and He embraces you and I picture God saying: “You’re mine and I love you. I will take you and I will walk with you”. Then He will carefully put us down on the floor, with our hand in His hand and He’ll just walk with us, protecting us, loving us, keeping us every step of the way.

It makes me think of the well-known poem, “Footprints”, He’s just with us – all the way, every day of our lives, every moment God walks with us, whatever our day brings, whatever comes our way, God is with us every day.

So, life is like this journey where you go from being a helpless baby lying in a crib, not able to do anything, to crawling, to standing, to walking, to running, with Jesus every step of the way, we walk by Faith and not by sight.

That is why Life is like Walking!

Brenda Jean Klopper

March 2021

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