Stories from THREAD is a four-part series about the life lessons I gained while applying to THREAD, racing to meet the tuition deadline, and sitting side by side with other non-fiction storytellers. They are not new or groundbreaking lessons, but God thought I needed to relive and relearn them. You are reading part four of four.
Do you not know? Have you not heard?The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
[Isaiah 40:28 -31]
A toilet stall in a public restroom is not designed to provide a great deal of privacy. All you get is the minimal amount of privacy needed to handle your business, but it was the perfect place for me in that moment. I was peeing while crying silently to myself. My heart was also lunging within me. I was sure handling my business…multiple businesses.
It was the end of day three at THREAD at Yale, and the euphoria and nerves from the previous days and hours had thinned. I was in the most humble position I could muster and afford in the tiny enclosure: heads between my thighs, eyes closed and I was crying. What in the world happened? The first few days of the program were great, but somewhere along the line, something within me stumbled and I began to limp. I was still there, still taking notes, still engaged, still smiling, still listening, but within me, something wasn’t right. I was hobbling to every class and lecture.
And in that toilet stall, one word was splashed across my mind in bold black and white letters.
And as I stared at the word, I knew it aptly described how I felt in that moment, like a cripple — in mind, in body, and in spirit. I kept asking myself “Why do I feel so crippled? Why do I let life cripple me?” I had used words like wounded and hurt to describe how I sometimes feel about life, but never in my thirty - some years of living had I used the word cripple. But it was exactly how I felt.
And if I hadn’t vowed to take full advantage of my time had Yale, I would have pulled my pants up and gone back to my room to sleep. Sleep is my go-to for avoiding everything. However, there were a few more items on the agenda for the day.
There was work to be done!
I rose up, pulled my pants up, pushed the stall door open and stepped back into the world with my self-doubts, fears, negative self-talk and helplessness clinging to me. If there is one thing I know for sure…I HATE carrying them around...I HATE IT! Don’t we all? Carrying just one of these negative emotions is debilitating, but two or more hanging on to your being can wield power that even Hurricane Irma could only dream to harness. "Have you been there? Have you felt the power of those emotions in your life before? So angry you could throw a brick through a wall?" Phew! And life kicks on!
I woke up the next morning, and the first thought that popped into my head was, “Read everything you can find on what Jesus said to a cripple in the Bible.” "Well, sure why now?" I grabbed my iPad, opened up Google and searched for cripple* in scripture. A few scriptures popped up. I read everything I could find, and the defining theme I picked out that morning was Jesus told almost every cripple, invalid and paralytic he met to “RISE UP, PICK UP YOUR BED, AND WALK.”
No cuddling, coddling, petting or pampering — just a simple yet powerful instruction — get up and walk. Humph! I wanted to be hugged and cuddled, but God was simply over it. The truth is I’m already positioned, free, alive, loved and in his arms. I’m repaired, mended, healed and whatever still needs to be done he is working on. I’m not allowed to lie in bed feigning illness or hurt, I have been patched up too many times to use that as an excuse. The only thing left to do is to get up — to use my muscles, to work out my limbs, my heart, and my mind.
I have been here before, a lot actually. I get out of whack and I allow everything to fall into pieces. God was lovingly not interested in coddling me. AdeOla, you are already healed, and you have walked through worst. Get/rise up, pick up your bed and get to working and walking. Crying will solve not a thing and a pity party doesn’t help either…the only thing left to do is to walk.
With that in mind, I did so that day and every other day after [even after I left Yale], and I had a blast. Of course like in a wildfire, the wind still tends to move the tides of my emotions and my brokenness to the forefront of my view, but I have resolved to keep walking, because the one who commands me to walk walks with me.
* Some Bible versions translate cripple as invalid or paralytic.