I don't have writer's block really. I can't seem to focus on a subject. In fact I have too many of them. Too many questions. In one single minute on Sunday I had five random thoughts, most of them somewhat deep and all of them taking me down a different rabbit trail.
Scripture says in Ecclesiastes that "there is nothing new underneath the sun...". Yet all of us respects originality. We respect new fashion, original ideas, new stories, personality changes, original parenting techniques, original tattoos etc.
Wisdom given to any of us by parents, mentors or friends often pares down to, "Think outside the box." If nothing is new underneath the sun, if there are a specific set of rules, if there are boundaries that are not to be crossed, then what does it mean to "think outside the box?"
I was born with a birth defect that might've killed me, shouldn't have allowed me to walk and most certainly could not have allowed me to get rid of my leg braces. I have limitations--I'm not the fastest Joe in the world and I'll never win a balance contest. However, if you want me to teach you how to fall properly, I'm most certainly an expert! Is that thinking outside the box? I'm within my circumstances, but have learned how to use what I have somewhat originally. Do you want to learn how to fall properly? My services are cheap but I don't pay your hospital bills should your "trip and fall" learning curve be steeper than some.
SO I won't win a marathon or a sprint...but what happens if I didn't have to be on my feet? Bicycles! Motorcycles! I know my limitations--I'm not great on my feet, but I'm awesome off my feet. I know my limitations--my calf muscles are small and insignificant, so in order to ride well I need to develop my hamstrings, quads and my thighs. I know my limitations, I know my boundaries. I need a car that sits a little higher and that has excellent back support--or I need a motorcycle. Sounds weird, right? Think outside the box--I can lean into the bike, my back really has no support but it's allowed to stretch and lean and I'm allowed to move relatively freely. I don't have to lift myself out of a motorcycle in the same way that I have to lift myself out of a car. And, with a little adjustment of the shifter, I can adjust the bike to fit my right foot.
I fit within my boundaries--it's just that one or two of those boundaries are flexible. I won't murder, steal or cheat on my wife--those are fixed boundaries, but I can't see myself in a box from which I just think my way out of. I'm going to ride my bicycle 500 miles in one week, in just over a month. What's so amazing about a Spina Bifida on a bicycle? Everything and nothing. I ride as if I know I can. I ride because God gave me legs. You're amazed, and I'm just doing what I can. Maybe I'm limited in my scope? Being on a bicycle is normal to me...an absolute joy for me...then what would be thinking outside the 'box' for me?
Gravity is a rule right? Even astronauts must succumb to limitations caused by atmosphere and gravity. They can't enter or leave the atmosphere at, or from, any angle--astronauts follow a very particular flight path. I have Spina Bifida, I can't escape that. Therefore everything I do, including a bicycle ride, must follow a particular regiment - a specific "flight path" - in order to successfully navigate the limitations imposed by Spina Bifida. Because I know those things, I'm rarely held to any particular distance or dissuaded from many challenges. I'm on a bicycle all the time. I've biked all over the world--Alaska, Amsterdam, Adel (IA), Ashworth Road (nothing significant about Ashworth, I just needed a fourth "A" word). Boundaries stretch.
So nothing is new under the sun, people haven't changed much, the world hasn't changed much. Everything is, at the very core, familiar. Denise at her blog called "A Sacred Longing" said, "I tend to cling to the familiar. Hide in the usual. Wither in the expected." I'm not distressed by the common. I enjoy my routine. But within the common routine, realize that some inescapable boundaries are also stretchable. Our lives are made of moments that look much like slipping on a littered banana peel that you yourself threw to the ground and stepped on--on purpose!
We turn "life-litter" into walls, impassable boundaries. We slip and trip, then retreat. We can't seem to move beyond them, most often because we fear everything beyond them, even though the self-devised boundaries, your walls prove more damaging than anything beyond them. Thou shalt not litter!
I'll never become a ballerina--my boundaries don't stretch that far. But I'm going to eat my banana, and I'm going to throw the peel in a can well off my path. Then I'm going to gear up, clip in, and ride.
If you are interested... here's my first RAGBRAI ride: