This year Dancing With the Stars is blessed with the most inspirational contestant ever, Noah Galloway. Mr. Galloway is an Iraq War veteran who lost his left arm and leg due to an IED. Every time I see him dance I am moved to tears.
Hearing Mr. Galloway’s story and seeing what he has overcome reminds me of my second oldest son, R2, and his struggle to regain the use of his left side after a speeding truck ran over the car he was riding in and placed him in a coma. Watching Mr. Galloway dance, listening to the comments the judges made and remembering what R2 has gone through had me pondering limitations and how they impact our lives.
Some limitations are just plain wrong and should be ignored.
I am sure that Mr. Galloway at some point in his journey had people telling him “You can’t do ___ .”, “You’ll never be able to ____ .”. We heard plenty of those negative limitations with R2. “He probably won’t survive the night.” “He might never come out of his coma.” “He might never get rid of his tracheotomy or feeding tube or wheel chair.” Limitations like these are best ignored or viewed as challenges to overcome. Thank goodness we did, or R2 wouldn’t be a normal guy going to school, playing guitar and piano, or hiking up mountainsides to get to the top of waterfalls!
Other limitations are there for our protection.
Because he suffered a severe TBI, R2 will always have to avoid activities where he might get his head hit (dodge ball) or bounce his brain around in his skull (riding a roller coaster or bumper cars). This is merely an objective fact. If R2 wishes to live a long, full life then he’ll obey this limitation placed upon him.
Limitations are most often seen as negative or umm, limiting.
What is amazing to me is that limitations can often be the source for incredible ingenuity and creativity. In the video you can hear judge Carrie Ann Inaba comparing Mr. Galloway’s dance to a haiku. She says the haiku, and his dance, are more profound because of their limits. That reminds me of an English teacher I had who told us sonnets were so beautiful because of the limitations the sonnet format placed upon the poet. This freed the poet from worrying about how he would structure the poem and allowed him to spend his energy on being creative. I have experienced the same thing with art. Several years ago I decided to take part in a challenge by artist Brenda Swenson. The challenge was for seventy-five days in a row to make a drawing a day using only ink. No cheating and drawing in pencil first. The ink-only limitation was incredibly freeing. I quit fussing over little details in my drawings. I let go of being perfect and laughed at my mistakes or creatively worked them into the drawing. Freeing. There can be freedom in limitations.
A lot of folks think being a Christian is limiting.
They think we have a long list of “You can’ts” that take all the fun out of life. The truth is just the opposite. God’s limitations upon us are the kind that are there to protect us. God’s limitations upon us are there to give us structure for our lives and within them there is room for great joy and creativity. God’s limitations for us are there to set us Free!
Remember, faith works!