by Shelby Ballif
We were driving the familiar roads through our childhood city, heading home after work for a family party. Conversation was easy after a long work day, and we were just on the homestretch, we saw something that took our breath away.
There was one of those, blind-you-with-beauty sunsets going down, but what was beautiful was below it, earthbound and awkward – a sweet girl in a wheelchair and her father pushing her along – the rest of her family up ahead on the walking path.
The simplicity of the moment kind of stole up on me mid-sentence, and I found myself just staring. Then, it got better. The dad leaned in, putting his weight into propelling his daughter, and began running. They were just coming to a slope on the walking path — a big downhill dip. The daughter flung her arms out wide like wings, and the most beautiful smile broke onto her face, and then his.
(Which obviously, immediately, made me cry with joy.)
And I thought, what a beautiful testimony to God, who is our Father. Who stands behind us and propels us – handicapped, crippled, and flawed people – forward. He of all people, with his son, our Savior, knows the ways we are weak. Yet He is behind us. He has faith in us. He moves us beyond where we can go by ourselves. He pushes us further than is possible for us alone. He, by standing behind us and placing beauty around and in front of us, helps us shoulder difficulty and become more. He takes us from rolling, to walking, to running.
And most importantly, He helps us find those moments where, despite our obvious ailments, trials, and limitations, we feel like His children, glorious, like capable winged-things, taking flight.