Have you ever found your life interrupted by things you couldn't control? How did you adjust? Did you wonder if life would ever become "normal" again? Tim George talks about adjusting to the curve balls that life sometimes throws at us. As a writer, God has given him the ability and grace to overcome his physical issues and continue to minister. I hope this post inspires you as it did me.
On two occasions in my life I have had the opportunity to learn both to hate and become grateful for crutches. Three weeks before I entered first grade, a German Shepherd and I had a misunderstanding. I climbed a tree because he couldn’t; then he got bored and went off to chase something more interesting. Not to be outdone, I dismounted the tree in a most unsuccessful manner. Then I grew up, had a family, finished college and like many semi-mature men do, I kept right on asking the woman in my life if it was okay to play ball with the guys. Which was fine with her until my illustrious softball career came crashing down during a spectacular double play followed by a compound fracture to my left ankle. Crutches were sort of fun in first grade but not so much as a grown man with children and bills to pay.
There have been plenty of other crippled periods in my life along the way but none that have caused me to examine everything about myself like the last decade. Since 9/11 my wife and I have experienced major changes in career, location, and at times the stability of our marriage. One son has gone off to war three times. The other nearly died due to progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Then three years ago I became a medical oddity as I contracted the same disease at the age of 52. And those were the easy parts.
Over the past four years I have read and reviewed hundreds of novels. Some are masterpieces of literary excellence. Others are fun entertainment that probably won’t stand the test of time but well worth the few hours spent reading them. During that time I have also conducted numerous print, audio, and in-person interviews with other writers. One thing I have learned to discern pretty quickly is this; some are just telling great stories but a special few are giving us something more.
Author, Robert Liparulo once noted on my web site, “Baring yourself is a major part of what it means to be a writer…or any artist. It’s sort of like self-autopsies while readers watch. Even characters that are very different from us reveal much about who we are.”
I think Bob is talking about the willingness of some authors to bleed on the paper so to speak. Maybe it is intentional or maybe it just happens, but there are those rare stories I have no doubt were birthed in painful personal experience. When I read The Cure by Athol Dickson, I knew here was fellow struggler, dipping into the ink well of his own trials, failures, and personal redemption. Dickson’s willingness to speak of a darker time earlier in his life during an interview was both refreshing and made the story all the more powerful.
A friend of mine often ends an email with her own personal tag line, “from a pit-dweller”. If life has left you in some pits along the way, don’t waste the experience. You may not be a writer but how you allow God to use those bangs and bruises is story telling none the less. Some of us may be on those crutches the rest of our life. So what? Consider the crutches of life training ground for saying something that matters. So pick them up and run for the prize.
And how are things for us now? Our youngest son is still at war. Our oldest is much better and preparing to go back to work after six years. My wife and I are looking forward to our 37th anniversary in a couple of months. And me? Still running on crutches in what I like to call the new normal. But compared to Christ there is no suffering. Every day, every step, and every word He allows me to write is a gift of grace.
Connect with Tim on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tegeorge and Twitter: twitter.com/tegeorge for more inspiration and encouragement.