TITLE: Born to Soar
By marcella franseen
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Alanna fastened the prosthetic leg to the nub where her knee should have been. It definitely fit better than the last. She smiled as she thought of her small youth group who had worked so hard to raise the money for her to have a leg that “works for her, not against her,” as her Youth Pastor had said. She remembered the car wash, the bake sale, and the t-shirts for ten dollars that read, “We don’t want to give a hand, we want to give a leg.” That one had made her laugh hard when she read it, the kind of laugh that goes straight to the heart, like good medicine. Laughing was good. She appreciated laughter now, having gone a while without it.
Alanna had been a track star with possibility. The possibility of getting scholarships for college, even sponsors, but all that possibility had burned up in the flames that had consumed her car. A little over a year ago, 14 months to be exact (Alanna had marked every day in her mind), she had been driving home from a study group at a friend’s house. She approached an intersection only five miles from her home. Alanna's light was green. Without slowing down, she proceeded through. A mother of three was coming from the left, and replying to a text message. She didn’t notice her light was red. She hit Alanna on the driver’s side going 40 miles per hour.
The last memory Alanna has is of being at the study group. The empty space afterwards has been filled in by family and newspaper clippings. Her car flipped several times before landing on its side. Her leg was crushed and pinned. The mother of three was badly injured as well.
She has listened to story after story of the people who stopped to help, firemen who braved the flames coming from the car, and the threat of an explosion, as they used the Jaws of Life to remove her from the tangled metal, the doctors and surgeons who worked tirelessly to save her life, and then her leg. God blessed the efforts of all those people, and answered the many prayers, sparing her life… but He had chosen not to spare her leg.
Alanna squinted into the early morning sun, those first rays touching the grass and trees, giving everything a golden glow. She took in a deep breath noticing the cool of the air as it filled her lungs, reminding her she was alive.
She had lived the moments of her life, up until the accident, alive but unaware of being so. Now, she was consciously aware of it. It was as if the whole world sang to her of life. She felt it in the cool breeze against her skin, the warmth of the sun on her cheeks, the hug of a friend. She heard it in the laughter that rose from her belly, and the song the birds sang in the morning. She saw it in the smile of her mom and the glow of the fireflies at dusk. She smelled it in the wet, falling rain.
This morning she began her inaugural run as a slow jog. It was awkward at first, finding a rhythm, but she was getting it. She WOULD get it. The rhythm was there, she was sure of it. Running always had a rhythm, as unique and different as every runner. The rhythm she would find now would be different than the rhythm she had known before the accident, but she would find it, because she was determined not to stop searching.
For now, she could find joy in just moving, feeling her heart pumping hard, her lungs fill with air. The past 14 months of pain and struggle disappeared from her thoughts, her mind was clear, her soul at peace.
Old possibilities were gone, but she felt the hope of new ones being born. God had made her to run. She was certain of that. Before the accident her confidence had been in her legs, the wings God had given her to fly. Then, He clipped one. Now her confidence was in God. He would be strong in her weakness.
She was jogging at a good pace now, her leg was aching a bit, and she was tired, but she was finding her rhythm. She wasn’t near as fast as she used to be, and would never be again, but in her heart, she was soaring!
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