a little east of reality

Sunday, October 16, 2005

following inspiration

I had lunch with Ideas Man and my favourite Fairy Princess today. IM's sister Curls came over as well. I always have the best time with this crew. Every one of them is funny and smart and genuinely nice. They fall into that very small group of friends I have who have never once said something that made me think, 'what crack are you smoking?' It's not that we agree on everything, but more that their take on life is so based in reality and sound thinking that I can always at least understand where they're coming from, even if I'm not coming from the same place.

And oh my gosh they are SO FUN to talk to! You know the kind of people that have perfect comedic timing when they tell a joke; who know just what details to leave in, and leave out, of a story; who can make an offhand reference to the perfect pop culture reference for whatever topic you happen to be talking about? I was there for two hours and it felt like twenty minutes. I wanted to stay all evening until we fell asleep in our chairs. If I could move them all to the cold capital I would do it in a heartbeat. Sadly that's not to be, so I'll just have to wait until I go home for Christmas to get another fix.

But that's not the topic of this post, so enough compliments to good company and on to an amazing tale about following inspiration:

IM has a condition he deals with. I don't know all the details of it, and wouldn't necessarily list them all here if I did, but I do know that:

a) it is somehow stress-related and/or triggered by stress;
b) it is unpredictable and comes and goes, but can last some time when it comes; and
c) it causes him to shake or twitch. When this is bad it prevents him from walking or driving and he sometimes needs to use a wheelchair. This obviously can affect his ability to work and do other things (though to his credit he works whenever he can and keeps plenty busy otherwise).

As I said, he sometimes needs to use a wheelchair, but not always, because a few years ago IM had an amazing experience, and today I finally got to hear the story properly from him.

He was going through one of those bad stages, when one day, in the shower, the most unusual thought came to him:

'IM, you need to get a pair of rollerblades.'

You can imagine his reaction...

'I can't even walk! Why on earth would I buy rollerblades?!'

It's like that Bill Cosby skit where God tells Noah to build an ark and Noah is well...skeptical. Though the feeling was strong, and he couldn't help but feel that he was being prompted, the idea was also too ludicrous to entertain, and he put it out of his mind. The next day he felt it again, and again dismissed it. The third day he just couldn't deny that this inspiration was pushing at him to listen and follow and he approached his wife.

"Honey, I need to go buy some rollerblades."

Fairy Princess was a little flabbergasted to say the least, but off they went to the sports store for rollerblades. I can't imagine what the sales assistant thought when IM pulled up, in a wheelchair, asking to be fitted for rollerblades, but she was great about it. A little later IM was all fitted out. He got to his feet and asked her an interesting question:

"Can you explain how to skate?"

And she did, and with the sales assistant and FP spotting him, IM did a lap of the store. And he's never looked back. Somehow the skates work. Somehow, the need for balance focuses his muscles in a way that steadies them. But who could have suspected it would be so? Certain not IM, no matter how much the Ideas Man he is. Today he was rolling around the house for all the world like a person who just loves skating so much they never want to take the skates off.

You know people often put down the idea of blind faith. They see it as a hard sell by religions to stop people from questioning. I myself have little time for the idea that 'there are just things we're not meant to understand'. Screw that for a joke. I think God wants us to understand why we live the commandments, and a person who doesn't take the time to explore their beliefs and have a firm sense of why they are living them is just lazy.

But today I understood the proper place of blind faith. There just was no way for IM to know that rollerblades were going to give him back his mobility. From any logical perspective it was a bad idea. But God knows all that we don't know about the way a human body functions. Well, from God's lips to IM's ears, because he is now reaping some serious benefits from following that inspiration without having to first understand it. He and his whole family are better off as a result. Sometimes you just have to trust how you feel.