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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Half-a-lung ... backward

An "on the other hand" follow-up to the author's previous column

Hard upon the heels of my most recent column in this magazine (December, "Half a lung, half a lung, half a lung onward!") comes this, which wants to start:

On the other hand ....

design picsI have, as I wrote in December, begun to take a happy satisfaction in the ease with which healthy people move, walk, run.

They can stand up and sing hymns — both at the same time. I sit to sing, or else I stand in silence and listen to my wife Thanne singing beside me.

The healthy can say, "Oops, I forgot my watch upstairs," then skitter upstairs for the thing they forgot. I wait until there are four or five reasons to climb the stairs or it isn't worth the hard puffings and the harder huffings with which I pay my way up and down again.

Healthy folk can pass a full hour without coughing.

Happy satisfaction in the face of such disabilities?

Yes. Truly.

Most of December's column explained how vicarious experiences are more than enough for my life of limitations, and much more than a merely balanced "compensation." Nor is my delight in another's sweet, swinging motion a stepping-stone to the acceptance of my straitened condition. No, it's a fresh Walt that I am. This is a different way of being with its own standards and its own fulfillments.


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