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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “Don’t Try to Walk before You Can Crawl” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/17/08)

TITLE: "Get Your Inch"
By Tim Manzer


I had just spent the last three and half months in a hospital bed. Occupational and physical therapists had tried to exercise my bruised muscles and prepare me for the day they would stand my broken body up and help me to take my first steps. I had spent a few sessions in outpatient therapy exercising on my back on the green mats. I was satisfied with my slow progress but my PT was ready for my return to the world of walkers.

So my pushy little red-headed grandma therapist decided I was ready to take my first steps. Her PT goal for me was to take eight steps. The tiny woman put a safety belt around my waist and stood in back of me. Then she demanded that I move forward. Easy for her to ask but my broken body rebelled from the mere idea of taking one step.

The first step was an earthquake of throbbing pain. Every part of my body seemed to beg for mercy. The eight step goal sounded like being asked to hike the Appalachian Trail. I would like to say that each new step was easier and easier but each step was pure torturous anguish. Tears filled my eyes. My head began to swirl. Sweat covered my body as if I had been in an hour long workout.

To my surprise I was able to complete my eight step goal. I sat down in the wheelchair and was rolled back to the green mat. It did not feel like a victory. Back at the safety of the mat I wept and wept. In the past I had climbed mountains, run cross-country, guided white water trips, gone on week long bicycle trips and enjoyed a very physically active life. I was left alone in my personal misery and physical pain.

Then an elderly voice spoke hope into my soul. I heard the old man say “Get your inch.” I looked through my tears at an ancient man that had slowly inched up to my green mat. He was using a walker to secure his steps, the very same recovery aid that I was trying to master. He smiled and said again, “Get your inch!”

The sound of his voice told me that he was recovering from a stroke. He smiled at me and reached out his hand and said “You will make it! Just try to get your inch each day.”

It was the most profound advice that I received from anyone during my year long rehabilitation. I took it as words from God. “Get my inch” was the words that helped me start each occupational or physical therapy session. At first I could never picture myself walking again. The goal was very distant and hard to visualize. Yet I could see myself taking another step with the help of a walker or riding the exercise bike for ten more minutes.

When I face problems today, I still think, “Get my inch!” I try to break each problem down into small steps and get the first step completed. I am only responsible for the inch not the big picture. The big picture is God’s job.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 01/24/08
Very inspiring!
Marita Vandertogt01/25/08
Excellent advice - in a nicely written package. So glad I read it first thing this a.m. - what an encouraging way to start the day. Thank you so much for sharing this.
Yvonne Blake 01/26/08
What a great slogan! I'm sure I'll remember it when I get discouraged.
Great description of a therapy session.
Well done.
c clemons01/28/08
Wise words, thank you, good job.
Marilyn Schnepp 01/30/08
Tears popped into my eyes when I read the old man say, "Get your inch." Great title, great story and a brilliant way to tackle this week's Topic. Kudos!