The lesson

Rich Dixon keeps unfolding his story:


So…what’s the lesson of the elevator story?

That’s how it works in inspirational speeches and sermons, right? The parable (short, if possible) leads to the practical application, the takeaway. Because what’s the point of 3 posts about an elevator if there’s not gonna be a lesson?

But perhaps the story is part of a bigger narrative, one that requires us to just sit with it or to take a longer view.

We want our stories chopped into chapters and verses. We’re accustomed to Twitter and Instagram posts. We prefer comfortably-quotable lines and easily-memorizable passages, often stripped of context and nuance.

My injury, the story of Relentless Grace, taught me real-life stories don’t happen in bite-sized bits.

There actually was a lesson, one I wasn’t equipped to absorb at the time. It was a moment for someone like Jon to say something like, “This is hard.”

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Let’s lighten things up a bit…flash forward:

Prior to my accident, I taught junior high school mathematics. Now, more than eighteen months after falling on my head and losing the use of most of my body, I once again encountered a new group of adolescents.

How would kids react to a teacher who couldn’t stand? I’d learned the basics of life with paralysis. Now came the next test in reconstructing my life: Could I still manage a classroom?

I. Was. Terrified.

Lesson planning, conducting classes, grading, the myriad tasks that comprise my profession – a few months ago I couldn’t even turn over in bed by myself.

Now this group of fresh young faces looked to me for direction, as though I had any clue how to be their teacher. I wondered if they could see the fear. I struggled to keep my emotions under control and pretended I knew what to do.

To be continued…

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