Sunday night I went to a fun event at church with my friend Leah. She asked me that morning if I wanted to go. “Yes! Do you want to go early for the helicopter ride?”
Leah hesitated, “I will IF you go with me.”
We had a general plan, but I didn’t fully know how it’d work. Would I sit on her lap? Would they even let me go up? Can we do this?
We arrived and got in line. Two men saw I wanted to go. Word spread to the people in charge. Suddenly we were told to jump to the front of the line.
“Uh, Leah. What’s happening here? What do we do?”
“You hate this part, don’t you?” She whispered to me. I nodded, growing more uncomfortable every second. Slowly we navigated between people, around muddy areas, down and up the hill to wait our turn.
Others had been standing in line for at least an hour. Thoughts ran through my mind, is this right? is this fair? I can sit in line too. Leah knew I wasn’t comfortable with the situation, but the expression on her face told me — just go with it. We kept moving forward.
The next man said, “You’re next and you’ll be going with these two girls.”
On the inside, I panicked. Leah looked to me. I responded as calmly as I could, “No, I’m going with Leah. We’re supposed to go together. And that mom should go with her daughters. It’s ok!”
Technically we did not have to go. Two ladies spoke up and said we could go in front of them. We agreed and had a new plan. “You’re stretching my limits, Laura.”
I assured Leah, “We got this!” I still wasn’t sure exactly how.
We invited our friend Natalie and her young son to go with us. We discussed who would carry me to the helicopter. “I have to leave my wheelchair here. Can you carry me that far, Leah?”
Now Leah was the one saying, “I got this!” Our mantra to each other the whole night.
She carried me to the helicopter. A man from church carried me back to my wheelchair. And friends looked out for me when I got stuck in the mud.
Sunday night we bonded at new levels. Literally. We took a ride in the sky in a helicopter.
Life is a mix of…excitement and fear, wildness and wonder.
So is this photo.
It was worth the awkwardness, confusion, and obstacles to conquer. Later Leah reminded me that all these people care. They found out I wanted to go and everyone wanted to make it happen. This was a specific something they could do for me, a beautiful display of love-in-action.
I’ve been learning to better accept the awkward moments. I often don’t like standing out or being put on the spot because of disability. At the same time, I get stuck trying to figure out details related to my own limitations.
I am thankful for friends who:
- Instantly problem solve for me.
- Navigate the dynamics with me.
- Extend a sense of peace and calm.
- Jump into the adventures I create.
I pushed Leah out of her comfort zone, but she and others move(d) me beyond my limits. All the time.
I love this community I call home.