walk: hope in the helpless

A post about God’s love and continual grace throughout my walk with him.

I plan on one day becoming a physical therapist. To become a physical therapist, however, you must first spend at least 150 hours of your life observing other physical therapists at work. So instead of working at the movie theater, traveling abroad, or sunbathing beside the pool everyday, I spent my summer waking up at the crack of dawn to go to a “work” where I didn’t get paid, and nobody cared whether I came or not. Talk about delayed gratification. While I at first resented this and dreaded going every morning, I came to realize that even in this, God was at work. Looking back at the last few months now, I can’t imagine spending my summer any other way.

Because of all the confidentiality papers I signed, I unfortunately cannot go into detail about the amazing people I’ve met, or tell you the inspiring stories I’ve heard from nearly every patient who walked in the door. If you’ll allow me though, I’d like to give you an idea of what my days were like:

I’ve watched technicians turn all of the wall art upside down in the rehab center to keep the elderly patients in a lighthearted mood. I’ve witnessed physical therapists getting on the mat alongside their patients, matching all of their exercises move for move. I’ve seen a frail old woman who could barely lift her own head cling to the words of her therapist: “You did good today.” I’ve watched a gentle giant of a man become frustrated with himself, not realizing that the stumble in his step and the tremor in his hands were sure signs of Parkinson’s. I’ve joined in on group singalongs with elderly patients who insist on remembering the good ole days. I’ve talked politics, Olympics, and statistics with patients who desperately need someone to listen to them. I’ve watched people lie about the amount of exercise they’ve done, and I’ve seen people fake an injury to get special treatment. I’ve comforted a grandmother who wasn’t released from the hospital in time to attend what could very well be her last family reunion during her lifetime.

These last few months have simultaneously disheartened me and encouraged me. They have filled me with despair about the frailty of life, but also filled me with hope for the human race. More than ever, God has made me realize how much I want to do this for the rest of my life. There are so many hurting people in this world, people who crave not only physical healing, but the abundant life that only God can give.

The pastor of the church I attend while I’m at school has a favorite verse that he cites almost every Sunday: “The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6). Observing physical therapists at work these past few months has awakened my God-given desire to live out these words, one patient at a time.

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One thought on “walk: hope in the helpless

  1. Pingback: walk: physical therapy school | walk. live. love.

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