How we cheer the first hesitant steps of a child. How proud he is to take them! And there is reason to celebrate, for the “baby” is now a “toddler,” and those feeble steps generate hope. They open a new world of discovery. Baby steps will soon before walking and running and sprinting.
We learn new skills by taking baby steps, but hope can get lost in impatience. We want to sprint right away. And when we don’t, we lose heart.
And then there are the times we lose ground and must begin again, as after a health crisis. I’ve learned a thing or two about this. And so has my mom.
I am writing this in California, having spent the week at Mom’s bedside. When I purchased my ticket, she had lost hope. Seven weeks in a care facility, having broken her ankle, and finally six glorious days at home. And then, a cascade of unfortunate issues brought her back to the hospital : pneumonia, kidney infection, kidney stones, and the beginning stages of sepsis. The topper was a slight stroke, which immobilized her right side.
Hope went out the window. For those first days, recovery looked insurmountable. Eleven years ago, she’d fought her way back to mobility after a stroke, but now it seemed like too much. Sepsis made her weak, the stroke robbed her optimism and she lost the desire to eat.
But God had other ideas. Many of you prayed with us, and a team of dedicated therapists went to work. “Give me a month,” her physical therapist said. “You are twice as strong today as you were yesterday.” My poor, defeated mom looked up at him and listened. And then, glory be, she agreed.
In an instant, my trip to California became a happy one. Every day she has gained ground: She moved her fingers, she wiggled her toes. Then she lifted her arm and worked at moving her knee. Hope surged with each accomplishment and gave her heart and strength.
If I had a scanner, I’d post a photo. I’ll leave it to you to imagine her smiles and her determination to be strong enough to go home.