What Speed Limit?
The measure of faith is the degree to which we are willing to risk telling the truth about what we used to be like, what happened to us and what we are like now.
—Pat Mana—“Spiritual Infusion”
Did you ever think that life has speed limits?
DO YOU REMEMBER when you were nineteen-years-old? What were your hopes, dreams and thoughts of your future? What kind of values and goals did you have? Did disabilities even enter the picture? Life was easy to accept. When I was nineteen, everything seemed to be going my way. I had everything I wanted or needed. I loved cars, motorcycles, and one special gal.
My job as a hot-tar roofer earned me enough money to customize my Camaro and buy a brand new Yamaha 650 Special. To make life even sweeter, I had a gorgeous girlfriend named Cheryl who wore my diamond engagement ring. She loved to ride on the back of my bike, with her arms wrapped around my waist and her bronze hair flying behind us. The thought of life being a challenge never entered my head, why would it? Life was good. I was glad the Christian school I’d been attending expelled me for smoking weed. Who needed school?
Living with NO LIMITS
On May 7, 1980, my friend and co-worker Joe Storm and I planned to meet after work and go to a concert. I stopped by Cheryl’s house on the way to meet him. Time flew by when Cheryl and I got together. Before I realized it, I was late, “Oh-no!”
I kissed Cheryl one more time then jumped on my bike. The freedom and joy of my life filled my head and heart as I gunned out of the driveway. Wind screamed past my helmet and tore at my leather jacket as I raced down the street. I should have slowed down, but I sped up.
The orange speedometer needle climbed to vertical. I loved the wind in my face. I gave my bike more gas, more gas. I felt free, happy and powerful. I loved the feeling of being in control! Up ahead, teenagers in baseball uniforms stood around the Lake Washington High School baseball diamond.
I never saw the pick-up truck that pulled out of a side street right in front of me. Cars packed both sides of the road. People watching the game had tried to park within walking distance. An illegally parked van blocked the view of drivers approaching a stop sign. We’ve all heard that timing is everything. It sure is! My timing was at exactly the wrong moment. My bike slammed into the truck’s front fender, stopping dead and knocking the truck 12 feet sideways. Police estimates said I was going over twice the speed limit.
I shot over the handlebars like I’d been fired from a circus cannon. My head slammed into the front fender of the truck, cracking my helmet and breaking bones in my face. My limp body crumpled to the pavement. Someone called 911.
Is this the end of the road or the beginning of a path leading from disabilities to diverse perspectives and the overcoming of obstacles?