FIG TREE AND CRUTCHES
I will Not use my disability as a crutch! I will however, use
it to gain more of what the abundant universe has to offer
me. Like a heavy noose around my neck, I could let it label
me. Weak, incompetent, unable. Instead, I will take that
piece of heavy, twisted rope that threatens to define me
as something I am not, and securely attach it to something
greater, bigger, stronger.
Six months ago my doctor told me the reason the left side
of my body goes numb, and some days I can’t walk or sit
and am in constant pain, is due to Sciatica. Sciatica is
simply the symptom of the lack of tissue in the lower two
discs in my back, so they are pinching the Sciatic nerve,
also causing Arthritis.
I am only 37 years old.
I am usually a very active mother of 3 children so when I
heard this diagnosis, my world was turned upside down. It
is not something that goes away or gets better; it is
something I have to live with for the rest of what I hope is
a very long, healthy, satisfying life.
Every day is a struggle to get out of bed, play with my
children, work, and do household chores. Some days are
better than others. Instead of letting this noose weigh me
down though, it has eventually, 6 months later, lifted me
As I visited the Santa Barbara, California area recently on
a family vacation, one of the highlights on a guided trolley
tour was an Australian Moreton Bay fig tree that had been
planted by a young girl almost 140 years ago.
As the captivating young trolley guide came to a stop, so
that we could marvel in its grandeur and stateliness, I was
in awe of its massive buttress roots standing several feet
out of the ground and reaching hundreds of fet in all
directions. Despite the nutrient-poor soil, those roots have
allowed the fig tree to grow eighty feet tall, the branches
to reach out almost two hundred feet, and it still produces
succulent fruit for locals and visitors to enjoy.
As I sat there quietly, I realized that I want my life to be
a testimony in the same way. Like the fig tree’s escaping,
winding and supportive roots, I also may be tied to
something that holds me down. And like the fig tree, I also
want to be constantly growing, reaching beyond the
captive boundaries of a diagnosis to offer the fruit of
wisdom, guidance, strength, and peace that so many need.
There is no rope, no diagnosis, nor nutrient-lacking soil in
my life that will now prevent me from striving to be a
better person, thriving in spite of a weakness, with the
willingness to help others so that they don’t have to use
their disability as a crutch either.
— Copyright © 2013 Stephanie Whitfield