The Ramp: By Karen Lindberg
I was backing out of the house this morning and as the garage door was going down, I looked back into the garage at the wheelchair ramp that now goes into our house. In a flash I was strolling down memory lane to that Sunday three years ago when I got the garage ready for that ramp to be installed. I remember that day like it was yesterday – but this stroll isn’t a happy memory – that day was anything but happy. That Sunday had been looming over me the entire week before as I mentally prepared to clean out our garage and move everything so that a wheelchair ramp could be installed that Monday in preparation for Nash’s homecoming. I spent the Friday and Saturday before looking over things and trying to figure out where I would move everything to make space, but I was dragging my feet on getting it done.
That Sunday, after church, Mac headed to volleyball practice, and I decided to “put on my big girl pants” and get it done so I headed to the garage. I was frustrated when I started but as I worked, my thoughts got louder, and my anger grew – in a short amount of time, I was mad – anger isn’t a normal emotion for me, but it settled in HARD that day! I was mad at Nels for leaving this job for me to do (which is silly but I wasn’t reasoning much that afternoon), I was mad that we had so much junk in our garage that needed to be dealt with, I was mad that we didn’t really have room to fit everything now that part of our garage was being taken, I was mad that I wasn’t big enough to easily move everything by myself, but most of all, I was devastated that I was in our garage getting it ready for a wheelchair ramp for our 12-year-old son. The devil started talking and I started listening and that’s when I lost it. That afternoon was the culmination of two heart-wrenching months that I had spent broken and sad and lonely, and I fell apart. As I was cleaning, I found myself standing in the middle of our garage crying as I yelled at God and told Him how angry I was that this was our life. I told Him all about how unfair it was that Nash would be coming home and we would need a ramp to get him into our home. I begged Him to heal Nash immediately so this could all go away. I stomped my foot as I pleaded for answers and my heart to heal. I broke – I completely broke right there in the middle of the garage – it was the first time that had happened to that degree since Nash’s accident. It was the first time that I just let myself feel it all – the good, the bad, and the super ugly! I had a complete emotional meltdown and then pulled myself together and finished the job.
The next day the ramp was built, and I hated that ramp. I hated what that ramp stood for, and I hated that there was such a visible reminder of what had happened to Nash every time we pulled into our house. Somehow it felt like a little bit of our peace was being stolen with that ramp being built. I knew I had to come to terms with it but that felt like a mountain I couldn’t tackle emotionally just yet. For some reason, I needed to sit in my anger for a while. I knew the ramp was a step necessary in getting our family home together and a tool Nash had to have but I needed a place to put my anger, so I chose the ramp. I realized in those moments that I had so much anger and sadness and nowhere to go with it – it wasn’t fair to be angry with those around me and as much as I wanted to be mad at God, it wasn’t His fault either, so I picked the ramp and let that be where I focused my bad energy. I cussed that ramp every chance I got!
Over time I have slowly become accustomed to the ramp and it’s something I rarely even notice anymore. It’s nothing more than a means to help Nash on the rare occasion that he uses his chair outside of the house. It actually comes in handy when we are loading up the car or moving heavy boxes. Most importantly, that ramp has allowed us to host some really amazing individuals in our home that wouldn’t have been able to enter so easily without it. That ramp has become part of our home.
I couldn’t help but smile as I lowered the garage door this morning and thought about that poor ramp and the weight that it carried for me during that time. So today I would ask you, what “ramp” do you need to free yourself from? I think from time to time, we all need a “ramp”…a neutral and private place to hang our sadness, fear, frustration and disappointment. We all face the need for a moment in time to let the weight of the world melt away, but it’s up to us to appropriately choose where we channel those feelings and to make sure that it’s only a pit stop, not a permanent place to stay. Oddly enough, I am thankful for that ramp and all that it has made possible in our home. Who knew a silly old wooden ramp could be such a powerful tool for me - sometimes we find the strangest ways to help heal our broken hearts! Here’s to you and whatever “ramp” you may be facing – I will be praying for you!