On my way to take the kids to school I saw a plastic bag blowing across street. This bag would turn right, left, go up and down. It looked as if it was alive with its movements. As I was at the stop light watching this bag it occurred to me that at times I am like that bag blowing in the wind. There are times in life that I seem to be going through the motions and feel lifeless at times. That bag certainly didn’t have life, it was an object. An object given life like movement by the wind. However, this bag couldn’t determine which direction to go or to even stop, all it could do was go where the wind told it to. How many times in my life do I get stuck in a routine of just doing? How many times do I let life events determine which direction I should go and how many times do I go through a day on flight mode without much thought. There are days where I wonder where did the day go and what did I accomplish?
Life is too short to just go where the wind blows you or to live a life that seems lifeless. Yesterday we said goodbye to a young man who in his 15yrs decided to make his own path, to take chances, never say I can’t, and most of all made such an impact in so many lives because he wanted to live life to the fullest despite what the world called a handicap. Chase was a young man full of life not just an imitation of it. Chase was in a wheel chair, but not confined to it. During his memorial service so many people shared about his I can do it attitude. This hit my heart hard. As I was seeing pictures of him living life to the fullest with the biggest smile on his face something clicked or should I say inspired me. There are so many things in my life that I have put off for a number of reason, but the biggest reason is fear. Chase seemed to have no fear or if he did he was able to put it aside and make it a catalyst to say he could.
On the back of the program was a poem that Chase wrote that shared his heart about being in a wheelchair. He was concerned about how other saw him and shared how it hurt when others saw him different or mistreated because of it. He wanted to help others so that they didn’t feel left out or different. He believed in himself and others. My favorite sentence in his poem was “I am strong and I have pride about being in a wheelchair.” Here I am struggling with many things that has hindered me for years and some of them for the majority of my life and I have let those thing define me and not me define those things. I need to be more like Chase and say I take pride in what life has given me and I can do it despite what others tell me.
As I said earlier fear has been a hindrance in my life. I have fear what others think, what I think about myself, about failure, success, and my physical limitations and so on. All these things have stopped me from taking a chance. I don’t want to be like that lifeless bag being tossed to and fro in the wind. I want to live an “I can” attitude like Chase, make my own path and make more of a difference.
I had the privilege to meet Chase at a youth camp called Falls Creek. Every year for about 8yrs I have been to this camp with our youth group from church. I met Chase last summer at this camp. When I first saw him he was playing around with the other youth bugging them. He wanted to make sure he was center of attention. As the day went on he singled out my husband Joe and got a kick out of running over his toes with his wheelchair. My husband kept on saying stop and finally said you do that one more time I’m tacking you. Chase of course took this as a personal challenge and ran over his toes right there and Joe tackled him to the ground. You should have seen Chases’ eyes as Joe kept his promise. Both of them went down to the ground laughing. Of course everyone in the room including me couldn’t believe what just happened. However, this was a beginning of a bond the two of them would have. As they were on the ground they continue to wrestle a bit and laugh. After that point they were buds and Chase knew that Joe wasn’t going to be treated any different than anyone else.
Every evening about 6,000 teens would meet for evening services that are full of praise and to hear a message about a loving God. At the end of the evening services the teens had a chance to come up to the front to learn more about God, to renew their walk or to accept Him as their personal Savior. The first night Chase at full speed ran down to the front. He did this again the second night and third night. Every evening as we would meet as our individual church in our cabins Chase was excited to share his decision to renew his walk with Christ. I personally think by the third night it was so much more. I saw this young man change. When I first met him he a little angry with life and others, but by the third night I saw peace in his heart and saw a smile of true happiness. I believe he finally understood just how much God loved him. The rest of the week I saw him reach out to the other students and not just to bug them but to show them love. I have been to Falls Creek many times but had never witnessed such a heart changed as Chase’s.
Chase was looking forward to going back to Falls Creek this year so he could continue to give back. I know that my heart and life has been forever changed by knowing Chase. I will start living in more of a spirit of “I can” and face my fears. Thank you Chase for caring, loving and living life to its fullest. I know that your life truly touch so many lives and has made and will continue to make a difference. In honor of Chase I cannot sit back and not share what I believe he would want everyone to know that that is there is a God who loves you for who you are, who can and will give you strength to do the impossible, who will never leave you or forsake you and to let you know that you are not alone and that there is hope. I pray that if you do not know God as your personal Savior then seek Him and you will find him. Know that He loved you so much that he died on the cross for your sins so you can be with him for all time and eternity. If you have any question regarding this I want you to know I am here to try to answer any of them. In this life we will have trouble but know that God has overcome the world and can help you face anything that comes your way. I know that Chase knew this and his life certainly was proof of it.