I spent hours and days and years as a ropes course facilitator. You take a group, you start low and slow, and you build. You build familiarity, esteem, respect, challenge, and comfort. It’s an exercise that is meant to translate beyond the woods, something that will help you cope a little better with daily life.
The last activities are usually quite hard: climbing poles to zip lines and obstacles courses 30 feet in the air. As an anchor and instructor, I care about one thing: that last step. I made some version of the following speech every time:
At some point in the next couple hours, you’re going to reach your limit. You’re going to look down at me from the pole or the platform or the wire or the rope and you’re going to say, ‘I am done.’ I get that. Everyone has different limits, and that’s absolutely fine. But, I’m going to look at you in that instance and I’m going to say, ‘I hear you. I need you to go one more step.’
I’ve worked with you all day. I’ve watched you work and I’ve watched you play. I’ve stepped in and I’ve stayed out of the way. But here… here is where I use what I’ve learned about you today. Here is where you tell me you’re done and I say, ‘Yes. Fine. AMAZING JOB. Please do me a favor… and go one step past what you think is possible. I PROMISE YOU IT’S POSSIBLE and you will be fine.’
For some of you, that will be putting on the harness and then touching the pole. For others of you, that will mean climbing the pole and doing one obstacle. For a few of you, it will mean doing it all blindfolded. It matters not to me where you are in that spectrum… only that you trust me in that moment when I say, ‘Alright… one more step. One past where you are, and you’re done.’
Are you in? Will you trust me to take you one past whatever?
Inevitably, they would all agree and we would finish out the day surpassing all our expectations and then some. Without exception.
Our transition into private Kindergarten has been remarkable. Rylie is thriving with the mental and physical challenges of a new school and new teachers and new friends. She loves everything. We love everything because she loves everything. It was absolutely the right choice.
Our transition into a new district of special-needs therapy has been less-than remarkable. I spent most of Monday crying to people I do not know, trying to understand why- after 3 years of meticulously documented and continuous therapy with public school district A- we must start all over with public school district B. Why am I filling out forms again, writing out birth stories again, stating objectives on State papers, pushing for therapy we do not want but desperately need… why am I doing all of this when it has been done and done and done- again? We are losing precious time! Why are they doubting- and even discrediting– what therapists who have worked with and loved Ry for three years have found, discovered, and recommended? The frustration turned, as it always does, to doubt.
Hey, God? I’ve reached my limit. Are we done? Can we be done? Is there more in that kid or can I just let it go and slide into maintenance mode? I’m here to tell you, I am done. Finished. Tired. There is no fight left in me. I cannot prove to one more person the potential that exists or the needs that persist in my child. I cannot do it. I am done.
I cried ugly tears because I was exhausted and defeated. Then, because there is no rest from life even when you cry ugly tears, I picked up Ry from school. I asked her to show me what she had learned that day, expecting a quick game of charades explaining she played with her friends and she loves Mrs. B- the usual. Instead, she backed up to the wall and signed for me to watch. She took a big step forward with her right, took a big step forward with her left, and then began to skip.
TO SKIP, Friends.
For seventy-thousand-th time that day, I cried. It was not just skipping, you see. It was proof. Friends, Rylie skipping is proof that it’s possible for both sides of her brain to communicate together and for her muscles to interpret that communication quickly and correctly. Rylie skipping means she may be able to read one day. Rylie skipping means… well, it means we are not done. I can hear my God as clear as day:
I know you are discouraged. I know you are tired. I hear you. But, I need you to go one more step. I’ve prepared you for this your whole life. Look at how far you’ve come! Look at your little girl!
Where there once was no sound, there are words. Where there once was no writing, there are letters. Where once there was no walking, there is skipping. There is more to come. We are not finished. She is not finished… not by a long shot. There is more in that girl and she needs you to fight. I need you to go one more step. Take one more step. Let me take you one more more step. Are you in?
Brilliant Teacher, to use my own words against (?) me. Like He knew they’d only make sense to me if I’d used them myself to move a thousand other people stuck in a moment. Like He planned my life around me working through other people’s limitations so He could help me through my own. Like He knew I would have a little girl would need me to fight for her… to go one past whatever for her.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Rylie has no clue she has different limitations than most kids. It would appear that her special-needs are meant to draw me into a better Light. You have to love a God who makes things like skipping into miracles.
Send the papers, the evaluations, the meetings, the questions.
I’m in. Let’s go.
One past whatever. I’m on the ‘whatever’ part.
[really great article HERE… read when you have a moment]