I met Stacy Hanson as he lay in a hospital room weeks after he'd been shot in Trolley Square mall. He told us about the 18 year-old gunman . . . how he showed no emotion as he shot innocent people in the parking lot and then in the stores . . . and how Stacy had just been at the wrong place at the wrong time, buying a Valentine's day card for his wife. The injuries sustained by the bullets would paralyze Stacy and place him in a wheelchair.
It would be almost a year later that I would witness Stacy take his first assisted steps - in that very same hospital. Towering over 6 feet tall Stacy struggled to move his braced legs . . . one at a time.
The wheelchair will always be needed, but the attempts at mobility are monumental. Each attempt strengthens the muscles, reminds the tissues, and is a witness of the soul's yearning for freedom. It is incremental and elementary. It is starting over.
Life is not linear. It is not a horizontal beam, nor is it a staircase to be climbed, but more a circle of learning and relearning, coming and becoming. Sometimes to move ahead we must go back, farther back than we want in most cases, to retrieve the parts of ourselves that we have left there.
A grown man sweating and struggling with his second first steps. And rejoicing that he moved his legs of his own accord. Truly a miracle. Not one he would have chosen out of wishing to be a better person, but definately one he chose out of wanting to be free.
Sometimes to move forward it feels like we're going back. Remember, life is not linear. Trust that God brings it all back around. And you will be better for it. Even if it means starting over. Way over.