“At what Cost Sienna? The Lord doesn’t want you working yourself into a state of exhaustion.”
Senior year was nearly over, and still I was not walking. Physical therapy was grueling and I was making progress, but after two plus years I was hoping for more. I guess at seventeen your not much more patient than you are when you are fifteen, but one thing I had not given up on was hope. I still believed I would walk down the stage to get my diploma. I was going to stand up and give my speech, because the class had asked me to, my grades were great, but I still had not made Valedictoian, still the staff and the teachers wanted to hear me. That year, my Senior year I had been voted Most Inspirational, and Most Likely to Succeed. I was blessed by this, and Myra was by my side. My best friend.
Lord thank you for the many blessings you have given me, thank you for giving me the strength to fight, and Lord if its your will give me the ability to walk down the stage and receive my diploma, stand up and give my speech.I only had two months for this miracle to take place, to much until I graduated. And I found myself working twice as hard at therapy, working out at the gym gaining upper body strength, but my legs stilll were lifteless. I prayed and prayed that I would be given a sign but so far nothing. I still could not feel my legs. I couldn’t feel anything below the waist, but my upper body was strong and I was active, so I had to look at the postive side.
I am not giving up hope Lord, as silly as people think I am, I know that you still work miracles and even the tiniest of steps right now would be a miracle. I am not asking to run races Lord, but somehow give me the strength and ability to walk down stage on graduation Lord. I know you are an all powerful God and you have that power, but Lord even if that does not happen I am not giving up on hope and faith. I will always know the importance of leaning on you. You have got me through the scariest times in my life. I love you for that and praise you.“Sienna I know you are growing frustrated, but no matter what you should be proud of all you have accomplished, how far you have come.” Mom told me after a particualry grueling physical therapy session. The truth was I had a way of pushing myself beyond what I should, not realizing at times that could hurt me more than help me. I guess you have to learn things the hard way sometimes.
At least I was not so stubborn that I refused to learn from my mistakes though. With the strength of the Lord I was able to learn from my mistakes and move on. I was able to realize that sometimes it was okay not to be the superhero sometimes it was okay simply to lean on those you cared about and the truth was I was doing that. Even now I had those moments though not often, I did have them where I was faced with what happened to me, and I found myself crying out both figuratively and litteraly.
There were times when I had to let myself grieve over the loss of my ability to walk. Even after two and a half years I had moments of grief, but they in no way took control. My strength in the Lord was stronger than that. But there were those moments when I allowed a few tears to spill or moments when I was reminded that sometimes people set more obstacles for those with disabilities than should be allowed. I had a knew respect for those like me who had fought to make things fair, but I could not understand why people didn’t always listen. We were in the twenty first century now but some treated those in wheelchairs, those with any sort of disability, like they had some sort of plague. Being in a wheelchair is not the plague, it is not something someone is going to catch. A disability is not the end of the world either, and pity is not what most are seeking its understanding.
“I know Mom, I know that in my head. I am still going to do everything I can to grow stronger and work hard to achieve my goals Mom. I want to prove to the world just what I am capable of. I want to show them that with the Lord you can truly do anything.”
“Sienna you already live that, people around you see that. They see how far you have come, how you refused to hate the man who put you in the chair, and how you have lived forgive as you have been forgiven. You have spoken at church, and you have shared your heart with others, anyone who knoces you can see what a stregnth you have. A strength that you and I know comes from the Lord.”
“I know all of that Mom. I still feel that I need to show more to others, that I need to work harder and reach higher.”
“Sienna I believe in hard work you know that, but I don’t believe in pushing yourself to the brink. I do not want to see you crash and burn just before you head of to college. You have held so much back, so much in I know that Sienna, and I know you are trying to be strong for everything, but it’s okay for you not to be superwoman every moment of every day.”
“I know Mom, I am not trying to be super woman. I am just trying to prove myself.”
“Sweetie you have already done that more times than I can count.”
“I just feel I need to keep doing it.”
“At what Cost Sienna? The Lord doesn’t want you working yourself into a state of exhaustion.”
“I know Mom and things will slow down.”
“Sienna you have been saying that for the last two and a half years. I don’t think even you believe that.”
Mom was of course right as Mom have a way of being. I did not believe things were going to slow down. I was going to continue working until I accomplished my goals. I knew I was going to work at it until I litterally could do it no longer. I was that determined to walk in time for graduation, but it was going to take a lot of effort and prayer on my part.
My family and friends were starting to question if it was worth the effort not because they didn’t want to see me walking of course, but they didn’t want me pushing myself to the brink the way I was. Two years ago my life had changed, but I was still only seventeen and I still thought at times I had an endless supply of energy as many teenagers do, but the fact was at times it seemed I ran myself to the point where it seemed like I was running on fumes. I knew it was not good for me, but I was thinking more in terms of how to reach my goals. When I should have been thinking of my health and well being.
The truth was I think at times I was driving my Mom, Myra and even Sheila crazy, because being so exhausted a good amount of the time I could become moody. That had never been me before, but when you push yourself to far, it starts affecting your attitude and not always in a pleaseant way. I wasn’t trying to make those I cared about most in the world miserable but the fact was, I was, and I needed to get a grip.
Maybe I was going through the denial stage, two years late, but whatever it was I needed to get a grip. I certainly didn’t want to make myself sick before graduation. I didn’t want to end up back in the hospital, this time for my own stupidity. I needed to get a grip.
“Sienna I don’t know what’s gotten into you.”
“I’m sorry Myra, you know how much I want this.”
“Sienna you’re my best friend and I hate to see you hurting yourself like this. I know you are not meaning to but their has to be a point when you slow down. Whether you walk down to get your diploma or not isn’t the issue right now, the fact is you are making yourself miserable. I miss the best friend I could laugh and joke with, now when you aren’t at PT or the Gym you are to exhausted to enjoy family and friends, and you have always been close to your family and friends.”
“I know Myra, I am going to let up. I have to.”
The good news was I was finally coming to that realization. I wasn’t going to give up on my goal of walking, but I was going to let up, and start enjoying life more. I needed to get back to the way I was before I started pushing myself this hard. My Mother who always praised hard work, had to remind me to slow down, because even though she always praised hard work she knew to that there was a point that you just had to slow down and enjoy life. You needed to look around and count the blessings the good Lord has given you, and at this point I was taking all of that for granted. I should know better now than ever, that it only took an instant for you to lose everything, so you needed to cherish the people you had in your life.
“I really am sorry everyone, I know I haven’t exactly been easy to live with the past few months. I got so wrapped up in my goals, in wanting to walk again, that I didn’t see the damage I was doing to myself and to those I care most about.” I told Mom, Myra and Aunt Sheila as we sat in the kitchen one day. Myra and I had just got home from school and Aunt Sheila was visiting Mom. Mom was busy telling her about this guy Kenny she was dating. He worked at the News station with Mom and they hit it off. I was happy for Mom and I had met Kenny he seemed to think Mom hung the moon and she needed that kind of devotion. Mom had waited so long to feel comfortable dating after what my Father had done to her she deserved to be happy, and Kenny was funny, and kind. He didn’t treat me like I was someone to be pitied. When he came by to visit Mom he had talked to me about my goals, about what I wanted to do after college, and when I told him I wanted to be a novelist, he didn’t give me the whoke that’s not a real career speech that some did.
“We forgive you Sienna, but the truth is we were more worried about what you were doing to yourself more than what you were doing to us. I want to see you walk about more than anything sweetie, but not at the cost of losing you, you are pushing yourself to a point that is going to make you sick or worse sweetie. I nearly lost you once I don’t want to go through that again.”
“Mom please don’t worry so much, I am slowing down now. And I know you guys care. I am either going to walk or I am not, either way I am always going to appreciate what you have done for me. What you all have done for me, and I am going to keep leaning on the Lord. I let myself get to busy for the Lord lately, I have neglected my faith and I know that is the most important thing.”
“Sweetie I am so glad to hear that.”
“Sienna we want the best for you. You may not be my blood niece but I couldn’t love you anymore if you were. I have been so blessed to watch you and Myra grow up and mature together, and it hurts me to see when you are hurting yourself.”
“I know Aunt Sheila, I love you too, and I promise you all I am going to slow down. We only have a couple of more months of high school left, and Myra and I plan on having fun. We both got asked to the prom, the truth was I was a little nervous to say yes at first, but I realized that Chad likes me for who I am, and he doesn’t see the chair as a hindurance so why should I?”
“I am glad to see our old Sienna emerging again, we have missed you.”
“I’ve missed you too. I’ve been so wrapped up in everything I was making everything a bigger deal than it was, and I was out to prove myself to people who already saw my worth. I was being silly and I am sorry you guys.”
“We forgive you Sienna, and I am glad to see you aren’t going to be running yourself to the ground anymore.” Myra said. “I was getting to the point where I was becoming to exhausted to keep up with you.”
“I am sorry about that. I guess I was just not thinking straight.”
“I am glad to see you are now, and I am glad to hear you have agreed to go to the prom with Chad. We will all have a great time.”
“I know we will Myra. I am going to allow myself fun for a change.”
“Good we’re in the last months of our Senior year, we need to have fun. College is when the real work starts.”
“I know Myra, and I promise I will try not to let myself get to this point again.”
“Good, because I honestly can’t keep up with you, when you get to this point. I am not the energizer bunny you know.”
“Very funny. I guess at times I acted like I was.”
“You could put it that way.”
I was going to prom with Chad. I had not expected to be asked. Some of the guys for awhile had acted a little weird at first. But they generally took cues from me, and I think seeing that I wasn’t always down on myself allowed them to realize that I was just like other girls our age. The only difference I went through life sitting down.
Chad was always comfortable around me though. He never treated me differently and I had prayed for a long time we would go on a date. I just hadn’t been expected to be asked to the prom. I couldn’t dance at least not in the traditional sense but I was certainly going to enjoy myself. I was going to enjoy the fact that Chad had asked me to the prom and Rick had asked Myra, we were both going and going with guys we really liked.
Lord thank you for letting me see that I was hurting myself by pushing myself to far, and hurting those I cared about. Thank you for letting me see that no matter what I have a lot to be thankful for and that I really do need to get a grip. I apprecaite all you have given me and continue to give me and I pray for continued blessings. I am so glad I came to realize that having fun was okay, that it was something I am allowed to do. I know now that everything doesn’t have to be about whether or not I will walk again. I am going to leave that up to you, instead of pushing myself to the brink. I should have done that to start with, but I wanted to feel as if I had more control than I do I guess. I am sorry for that, and I thank you for everything. I am sorry for neglecting spending the time I need to with you as well Lord. I know now that I was in the wrong and I am glad my family has forgiven me for that, and I thank you for doing the same.I was glad I was back to speaking terms with the Lord. I had let myself fall away when I got wrapped in trying to do everything for myself. I could not perform a miracle and I realized that now, if I was to walk again it would take a miracle and the Lord was in control of miracles, and if I didn’t walk again I was not going to let that define me either. I still had dreams, and plans after high school. I still had every intetion of being a novelist. I was still writing my thoughts and feelings down in that red journal Aunt Sheila had given me, and getting my inspiration from those pages.
A few days before the prom I found myself praying and reading the word in a way I hadn’t in a long time. The truth was it felt good to allow myself to be reconnected with my maker. I had let myself stray but the Lord hadn’t gone any where. Whenever someone did the straying whenever someone allowed their faith to be shaken it was their issues not the good Lord’s and I understood that now. I also understood as human beings we were going to have tests of faith, and questions we may never know the answers to on this side of heaven but that wasn’t what mattered what matters was that we turned back to the Lord. We needed to ask the Lord for forgiveness when we made mistakes, when we slipped up. I was glad I served a forgiving God, one who sent his only Son to die for me.
As I sat in my room a few nights before the prom getting my heart right with the Lord. I found myself turning to 2 Corinthians Chapter Three finding comfort in the words that were written in those pages not any words though definely inspired words, because the word of God, was written by men, but the Lord controlled their pens and I knew that.
2 Corinthians 3
1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4 Such confidence we have through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
The Greater Glory of the New Covenant
7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[
a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. a]b];
we will praise your love more than wine. c]
6 Do not stare at me because I am dark,
because I am darkened by the sun.
My mother’s sons were angry with me
and made me take care of the vineyards;
my own vineyard I had to neglect.
7 Tell me, you whom I love,
where you graze your flock
and where you rest your sheep at midday.
Why should I be like a veiled woman
beside the flocks of your friends? I loved the way you could turn to the Lord and his word for anything including feelings of love. Perhaps some think at seventeen you can’t know love, not in a real and genuine way, but I truly did love Chad. I could see us having a future together, but I didn’t want to do anything that God wouldn’t want me to do. I knew he was a believer as well, and he respected my beliefs, so I was blessed in that area as well. I closed my Bible allowing myself to be moved by the spirit. I found myself crying for the first time in the long time. Perhaps the tears were the Lord’s way of telling me it was okay to let go, it was okay to have those moments when you just needed to cry. I didn’t really know, but what I was feeling was not pity. I wasn’t having a why me moment then I was having a why did I let myself stray moment. But I had come back to the Lord. I hadn’t completely lost my faith. I was grateful for that.
A few moments later Myra came into my room and wrapped her arms around my shoulder, letting me know that whatever it was. She was there for me. She was staying with us for a few days while Aunt Sheila was on a bussiness trip meeting with one of her well known authors client. I knew when she got back we would hear lots of stories and would be given the authors latest book signed.
“Sienna it’s okay.”
“I know Myra, I just had to let somet things go.” I sniffed. “I am not feeling sorry for myself, I just have let so much build up.”
“I know you have Sienna, believe me we have all seen it, and if you need to cry, cry there is no shame in tears.”
“Thank you Myra.” I sniffed. “I just can’t believe the way I was to everyone else, what I was doing to myself.” I told Myra between my tears.
“We didn’t like seeing it either Sienna. You were hurting yourself more than you were hurting us, and I couldn’t bare the thought of losing you. I felt guilty enough for not being here when you were hit by that drunk driver. I know it’s silly, because I was living in Georgia at the time, but I was so relieved when Mom said we were moving back. I knew she did it for us, and I was glad for that. I wanted to be here for you.”
“You were and you are Myra you don’t even need to question that.”
“I know but I felt so helpless. I was so afraid you were going to die when I first got that call.”
“I didn’t though, and I am okay, despite being in this chair I am okay. I am healty and I plan on sticking around for a long time. As long as the Lord has something for me to do, I will be here Myra, and you will always be my soul sister.”
“Sienna you will always be mine too, and I will always look up to you. I don’t know anyone else who could have been as strong as you were after what happened to you. Even just after you got out of the hospital you were telling everyone everything was going to be okay, when you should have been the one receiving the encouragement not given it.”
“You guys have given me plenty of encouragement, and you have helped to make me as strong as I am. I know the Lord made us best friends for a reason.”
“Amen Sienna. But please remember that if you ever need a shoulder I am still here, because no matter what we all need a shoulder to cry on sometimes.”
“I know Myra, and you have been my shoulder tonight. I have no doubt the Lord sent you in here for a reason.”
“I have no doubt about that either, I felt the nudging to come check on you.”
“The truth is My, I am a little scared about prom. I know Chad is an awesome guy, but I am nervous. I can’t dance for crying out loud.”
“Hello My, where have you been?”
“Seriously Sienna, you do everything else, why can’t you dance?”
“ I don’t know My. “
“There are people who are in wheelchairs that dance professionally, you can go to the prom and even dance.”
I knew Myra was right. She was doing everything in her power to encourage me, but the truth was more than anything I was afraid of embarrassing myself. I guess in that way too I was like most Seniors. I wanted to leave a lasting mark but not one that was made by doing something embarrassing. I just wanted to prove to to others, that I really was no different than I was before I was in the chair. Yet I was making every excuse not to dance. I needed to get a grip.
“Sienna please just relax and enjoy yourself at Prom. It’s not really about the dancing anyway. It’s about making memories that we can take with us for the rest of our lives.”
“I know My, thank you for reminding me of that. I am sorry I am getting so silly. I don’t usually let things like this get to me.”
“I know Sienna, and it’s okay. Just have fun okay. You have had enough time for worrying and working so hard you nearly make yourself sick. Now is the time to enjoy our last months of higschool. It’s hard to believe it’s already April and we are already Seniors.”
“I know I can still remember preschool.”
“Me too, even then we were the best of friends.”
“Yes we were, and you know what I am blessed for it.” Myra said, giving me a hug.
“So am I My. Now let’s go raid the fridge I’m hungry I said.”
“Alright, sounds good to me.” Myra agreed and we made our way to the Kitchen I had our conversation in the back of my mind, but I truly was hungry, and it was making it hard for me to focus on anything but getting something to eat.
It was funny how you could be in such a serious mood one moment, thinking about life, talking about serious subjects and the next all that was on your mind was getting something to eat. I could not believe how quickly my mind could shift, but I was seventeen, I was still growing and working hard, and I needed fuel. I may not be able to walk, but I burned plenty of calories, I worked out, and I was active. I had slowed down some but I had not stopped. I refused to stop completely I was not going to give up on everything. I actually enjoyed keeping in shape. The fact was I had to work harder than some just to keep at a healthy weight, because I couldn’t run or jog to burn off the Calories, but I could excericise in other ways, and I could make sure I didn’t starve myself nor overeat. I had never understood why some girls and even some boys starved themselves. The truth was they could not help that anymore than I could help being in this chair though, it was a disease, and not one any asked for. Being anorexic wasn’t sexy in anyway. In Junior high a classmate had nearly died from anorexia, dropping down to the weight of a small child, and still thinking she was fat.
I remember the school counsellors talking to us girls back then, and Myra and I making a packed that no matter what we were not going to go on any crash diet or anything like that. We would stay healty, by exercising and eating right. We could eat just about anything we wanted if we did so in moderation with the sweets and the salty foods. The fact was I preffered fruits and veggies anyway, and Mom’s cooking. I loved Mom’s cooking when she had time to cook, but now I did the cooking. A year ago Mom had the kitchen remodeled now everything was in reach and I had free reign of the kitchen I enjoyed being able to cook again, and having the ability to clean up after myself, because everything was in my reach.
Before my life was changed I had taken things like that for granted, but now that I was facing the world sitting down it was nice to have things that I could do. I did not take even the little things for granted, because I knew how hard I had to work to do most things, even taking care of my personal deeds had been difficult at first, and more than once during those early months of relearning to do everything from a chair I had a few accidents, and embarrassed myself a few times. At fifteen I had not expected to have to have my Mom clean up after me like I was an infant, but it had happened, and she had never said anything. She didn’t want me dwelling on anything she wanted me to get strong enough to do things on my own.
I was completely self sufficient at home now, and I knew which places had restrooms that were accessible, so I went to those places, and I also knew that if I did need help and if Myra was with me she would help me with whatever I needed no questions asked. She would remind me that I helped her plenty of times as well, and the truth was I had.
The night was magical.
I truly felt like a princess, in a way I hadn’t since I was a little girl.
Chad truly loved me, and Myra had been right the fact that I was in a chair didn’t matter. Prom was more about making memories than it was about dancing. I had the guy I really liked and my best friend and my best friend had the guy she liked. It was a night of magic. A night that I knew I would never forget.
I couldn’t walk so what. That didn’t matter I was enjoying this night. The fears of making a fool of myself were all gone. The worires, the working myself to the point of exhaustion were gone. I was allowing myself to have a good time, not to take things so seriously and to accept things as they came. Most importantly I was getting right with God, because I had allowed myself to sway before.
Lord thank you for giving me this night, a night I will never forget. I know I am blessed that I got to spend this night with the people I care about, and I thank you for giving Mom Kenny. She deserves to be happy and for the first time in a long time I think she really is. You have sent her a good man in Kenny Lord, and I praise you for that.I felt beautiful in the dress that I had chosen for this occasion, and the nice shoes, it was nice to be dressed up. I certainly didn’t have to worry about the shoes killing my feet. I couldn’t feel my feet, my legs, but none of that mattered. The night was something that I only dreamed of. A memory I could carry away with you.
“I am so glad you talked me into getting over my fears.” I told Myra.
“I am glad you listened Sienna. I hated to see you letting yourself get worked up the way you were. I missed my best friend when you got like that.”
“My I missed you too, when I was to busy to think about anything other than ways I could make myself strong enough for a miracle. I know that was silly I am not in control of miracles the good Lord is.”
“Now lets get back to our dates, and enjoy the rest of our night. It’s going to end far to soon.”
The evening of magic did end far to soon, but it was an evening I would never forget none the less.
I was going to carry that memory with me for the rest of my life.
I prayed it would be a long life.
“I can’t believe what a wonderful night this was.”
“I told you it would be, didn’t I Sienna. You were worried for nothing.”
“Yeah I know it was silly now, but at the time my worries seemed founded.”
“I guess at the time they generally do, but looking back sometimes, we realize we were in essence worrying about nothing.”
“That’s very true .”
Thank you Lord for giving me such a wonderful night. Thank you for giving me someone like Chad in my life. A young man who really likes me for who I am. I am blessed in many aspects of my life.“I really love you Sienna. I want you to know that.”
“Chad I love you too.”
I had questioned at first, whether or not I was going to ever fall in love after I was told I would never walk again. I had wondered if I would ever know romance and now Chad had told me he loved me. I did not want to think about the fact that we were both going to heading off to college. We had under two months of higschool left, and then we would be go off to college. I didn’t want him to feel as if he had to change his plans nor did I want to feel as if I had to change my plans.
I knew that if it was meant to be though, Chad and I would make it work. We were young though and no one but God himself knew what tomorrow would bring. I just had to keep believing and having faith and no matter what if it was meant to be Chad and I would be together.
I found myself turning to the Song of Solomon after trying unsuccessfully to go to sleep after thinking about the prom, and what Chad had told me. He had told me he had loved me before, but for some reason this seemed different, more real perhaps.
Song of Songs 1
1 Solomon’s Song of Songs.
2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
for your love is more delightful than wine.
3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the young women love you!
4 Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.
We rejoice and delight in you[
How right they are to adore you!
5 Dark am I, yet lovely,
daughters of Jerusalem,
dark like the tents of Kedar,
like the tent curtains of Solomon.[
8 If you do not know, most beautiful of women,
follow the tracks of the sheep
and graze your young goats
by the tents of the shepherds.
9 I liken you, my darling, to a mare
among Pharaoh’s chariot horses.
10 Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings,
your neck with strings of jewels.
11 We will make you earrings of gold,
studded with silver.
12 While the king was at his table,
my perfume spread its fragrance.
13 My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh
resting between my breasts.
14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
from the vineyards of En Gedi.
15 How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes are doves.
16 How handsome you are, my beloved!
Oh, how charming!
And our bed is verdant.
17 The beams of our house are cedars;
our rafters are firs.