Crutches and Braces

They were always with me. I didn’t go, heck I couldn’t go, anywhere without them. They were as much a part of me as my hands, or my heart were. They were so familiar to me that they were hardwired into my brain as being a part of my body. They were my crutches and braces.

So, how often did you outgrow your clothes, or outgrow your shoes when you were growing up? Well, that is how often I needed new crutches and braces. These are not items that can be readily found at our local Sear’s store. Every time I needed new crutches and braces, they had to be custom-made. custom-measured, custom-designed, custom-built, and custom-fitted. It should come as no surprise to you that the brace shop in Macon, was considered my second home.

It is true that I hated having to put on my braces every single day. I hated the pain and inconvenience of it all. I did not, however, hate my crutches and braces. I was actually in awe of what they did. It’s asking a lot, and a nearly impossible task to be leather and steel scaffolding for the human body. Braces weren’t pretty. They were neither easy nor forgiving. There was one overriding and inescapable fact, however, that made it easy to overlook any shortcomings braces may have had. It’s the fact that they allowed me to live.

Crutches and braces would gladly take me anywhere I wanted to go. They took me to school, and to work. They could take me to a stadium full of sports fan, or back into the woods at a secluded spot by the river. They gave me freedom and independence. And all under the pressures and energies of a growing boy. They really are an amazing creation of human craftsmanship.

While out there soaking up the good life with your amazing crutches and braces, there is always a little voice in the back of your head that never lets you forget one dreaded fact. It doesn’t matter where you are, or who you’re with, or what you might be doing. At any given time, and at any given place;….braces can fail. And when braces fail, and you’re falling, and only a moment away from being a crumpled crippled mess on the ground, you remember;…….. crutches and braces are an illusion. They only make you “think” you can walk. You can’t.

There is a hymn, “Just As I Am”, that is sang as an invitational song, at the end of countless church services. The hymn inspired me to, at different times in my life, seek out a secluded place to pray. It might be an empty football field or playground. Sometimes a quiet place by the river, or just a nice place to pull over on the side of the road. Once I found a good spot, with no one else around, I would sit on the ground and take off my braces. After taking them off, I would throw them in different directions around me. I wasn’t angry with them, or “…tired of being crippled…”. I wasn’t pitching a crippled fit. Throwing them was just a commitment. A way of saying there’s no turning back. See, every once in a while I wanted to experience being before God, before my life, before myself, like the hymn said. Just as I am.

It was always a breathtaking reality check. Like diving into cold water. Without crutches and braces, this was the real me. A vulnerable me. Without crutches and braces I could only sit on the ground before God. But I sat as the truth of myself before God.

The reason I would throw my braces in different directions, was so that I would have to crawl to them if I wanted to get them back. It wasn’t intended to show humility, though it most definitely accomplished that. It was in a way to experience the truth of who I really am.

It seems obvious I know, but don’t overlook it. We are never any more, than who we are without our crutches and braces. They get us through the day, but never forget that they are only an illusion. At any time, and at any place, the things that we use to brace ourselves, the crutches that keep us standing upright, can and will fail. When it does, the illusion is broken, and we will be seen as we really are.

Let God see you without them, before everyone else does.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Kenneth
    Jul 11, 2012 @ 03:03:50

    Yes…I think the most important thing is that you can still “stand up” even without the crutches or braces. “Stand up” here refers to the faith in your heart. Be Confident and Never Give Up!


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