Trek 2008 - Hands Free
Trek 2008 – Hands Free
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess 5:16-18 NIV
As a child I longed to race my bike down the street, hands in the air, shouting, “Look Mom, no hands.” Other children did it. Mama told me I could do anything I made up my mind to do so I kept trying. I’d pedal, lift my hands an inch from the handle bars, only to grab them again just as I started to fall sideways. I tried letting go one hand at a time and that made things worse. Determined, I kept trying through crash upon crash. Even today, I occasionally try it but it seems Mama was wrong. I could not do anything I made up my mind to do.
When I started driving Halleluiah, it became apparent that using my hands for a cell phone call was a bad idea. When ear buds came out, they advertised as “hands free.” Since I didn’t want to be cut off from the world when I was trucking down the road alone, I bought an ear bud and a phone that allows for “voice recognition” dialing. Now I’m one of those ridiculous people who walks around talking to themselves wearing a funny looking ear ornament.
The bottom line to both of the above examples is that I think I need my hands. On the first day of Trek 2008, I was standing in a grocery story line when I noticed a woman pushing a cart with her chest. I realized she had no arms. (see photo gallery – Arizona – Phoenix Grocery Store) As she deftly rolled the cart in line behind me, I asked, “Would you like help putting your groceries on the conveyer belt?”
“I’d love help,” she said cheerfully.
I unloaded her groceries and turned to pay for my own. When I started to leave I asked, “Is someone meeting you here to take you home?”
“No,” she smiled. “I will drive myself.”
“Wow,” I said. “I’m impressed. Would you like help getting your groceries to the car?”
“No, I come here all the time. They help me.” About that time, the grocery clerk moved the conveyer belt forward and a box of cereal fell off. In a split second, the woman removed her flip flop and kicked the cereal mid-air back on the belt. Without missing a beat, she slipped her foot back in the flip-flop. If I had tried the same thing, I would have missed the cereal and probably fallen over.
“You’re amazing. You’ve done that before,” I laughed.
“A few times,” she quipped.
I walked out to my car and as I started to pull out, I noticed she was parked beside me. I walked over to her car and knocked on the window. She used her toe to roll it down.
Feeling guilty for making her work so hard, I sheepishly gushed, “I just wanted to compliment you. Most people in your situation would be letting people take care of them. Here you are, independent, driving, and buying your own groceries.”
She laughed. “I used to have prosthetics but they were so heavy, they hurt my back. I decided to do without them. I’m pretty good with my feet.”
“I’ll say,” I said. “I don’t see any special equipment on your car.”
“No,” she said. “When daddy taught me to drive, I said that if I couldn’t learn to drive a regular car, I didn’t want to drive.”
“So you drive with your feet?”
“I do,” she beamed proudly. I looked at her car and realized she had to use one foot for steering and one foot for braking. I didn’t even see any dents in the car.
My writer's curiosity got the better of me. “I’m a Christian writer and I travel the country writing inspirational stories of the people I meet. You’ve inspired me. How long have you been without arms?”
“I was born this way,” she said.
I told her about my missionary journeys and about how many troubled people I met. “You seem so positive." I said. “Is it faith? What is your secret?”
“Well,” she said. “I’ve always been positive. I’m a Christian so that has helped but having a good attitude is essential.”
“There is an Abraham Lincoln quote that says most people are as happy as they make up their mind to be. You have sure proved that,” I remarked.
“I am happy,” she said.
I gave her a business card and asked permission to write her story and take her picture. She seemed delighted. I walked away wondering if she could ride a bike. She gave an entirely new meaning to the words, “hands free.”
In the story of the lost coin, the coin did nothing to get lost. Circumstances beyond his control caused him to lose his way. This woman was born with what most people would call a debilitating problem. Many people I meet find themselves overwhelmed and beaten by unavoidable circumstances. This woman proves that we can overcome and even thrive in all circumstances.
I remembered me wanting to race my bike shouting, “Look Mom, no hands.” Who would have guessed this woman could and would literally soar her way through life singing, “Look Mom, no hands.”
Grief is a process that we cannot avoid but our attitude about life is our choice. When things go wrong, we can grieve and move forward or wallow in misery. With the help of God, when we lose something precious, we can choose joy, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances, shouting, “Look Father, no (fill in the blank.)” If we had to, we could all serve God and be happy hands free, job free, house free, spouse free, and even child free.
Cheryle M. Touchton is a ministry partner with and the Director for Pocket Full of Change Ministries. For more information or to schedule a speaker for an event, go to www.pocketfullofchange.org or call Gail Golden at 904 316-5462.
This ministry exists because God calls people like you to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road as a traveling missionary, send your tax-deductible contribution to Pocket Full of Change Ministries, POB 51205, Jacksonville Beach, Florida 32240.
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