Closer To The Other Side

  • Nov. 16, 2006
  • #6404

Joni shares that her paralysis reminds her to look forward to her heavenly body.

When I wheel my wheelchair into a hair salon, people panic. Oh, no, they look at me in this wheelchair and they wonder, "How in the world am I going to be able to wash that woman's hair?" I've had more than a few hair stylists say, "You mean you can't get up? You can't walk?" They really start worrying when I describe that I just need to lean forward over their sink. "But you'll drown!" they warn me.

Well, almost 40 years of paralysis have passed by and I haven't drowned yet. And every week, for me in this wheelchair, shampooing my hair requires parking in front of my bathroom sink, leaning forward, and letting my friend Dana 'go at it' as she stands to one side and lathers my hair. Oh my goodness, it feels so good! I just love the feel of water on my face. 

The other week the most fascinating thing happened. Dana was about done with my hair, and while my head was still over the sink, the faucet running, she asked, "Joni, would you like me to wash your face?" "Sure," I gurgled. She took her soapy hands and began lathering my cheeks, using the flat of her fingers to gently wash around my eyes and around my nose. 

At that point, I gasped, and, yes, I nearly choked on water. "Am I hurting you?" Dana asked. "Oh, no, no, not at all!" I said. "Please, please keep going!" How could I explain it to her? You see, for that brief moment, it felt as though her hands were mine! She was rubbing my face exactly the way I used to do with my own hands, decades ago. And those few brief moments were about as close as I've ever felt to being healed! 

When we finished, Dana patted my face and hair dry with a towel. She also had to wipe away my tears. But they weren't tears of sadness or regret over not having hands to be able to do a simple thing like wash my own face. No, I wasn't sad about not having hands that work. My tears were tears of joy about the future. I was happy to say out loud, "Dana, this was a reminder that soon I will be able to wash my own face with new, glorified hands!"

I know that sounds silly, but please don't laugh. Being paralyzed, it seems that almost everything reminds me of our heavenly future. And the neat thing is, there is less distance between me and the future than me and the past, before I was injured. I have come to the place where a memory can push me joyfully into the future rather than pull me somberly back into a sad, disappointing past.

Because we are believers in Jesus, friend would you allow the future to have a happy, magnetic pull on your heart. Take just a few minutes today (or maybe tomorrow when you're in the shower washing your hair) take a minute to think about the new, marvelous, perfect, immortal body that awaits you-really, it's waiting for you just a few years away on the Other Side.

© Joni and Friends

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