Written by Millionaire’s Digest Team Member: Rose Wolfe
Founder & Owner of: The Repurposed Life
Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor, Successful Living Writer
Stewing, emotions churning, simmering, building to a boil. Feeling frustrated, discouraged, ignored, discounted, slighted, perplexed, surprised, and pressured as tears threatened to expose my thoughts. It was unexpected, but, then why would I expect no access to a public building in a Chicago?
Sitting at the bottom of the stairs and looking at the problem, I was tempted to turn around and leave the cathedral. My friend was not expecting me, but I was concerned about her. She had loved (still did love) her mother deeply, and I wanted to attend the funeral service. But, how was I going to get up those stairs?
It was the winter of 2015, and with high winds causing whiteout conditions, my husband and I had driven in from Michigan the night before. Staying at a hotel overnight, we rose early and arrived at the cathedral ahead of time. The drive, the hotel, the early arrival all in an attempt to avoid any hassles. Yet, here we were facing a big one.
Of course, being handicapped meant no front door for me; I was relegated to entering the building via a side door. As my husband opened the large, oak door and I rolled in, immediately I saw the problem: a looming flight of steep stairs. This is the handicapped entrance?
Then, I saw the wheelchair lift to my left. Relieved, I rolled over, opened the door, and eased into the small space. Only upon looking for the key to start the lift did I notice that the lift only went down – to the basement. Looking up, I saw a flight of stairs over my head. Huh?
I wondered: Do they have an elevator somewhere else in the building? Do I have to go down to get access to an elevator to go up to the sanctuary? At that moment, a priest appeared out of nowhere. “Will this lift take me to an elevator so that I can get to the main floor?” I asked.
“Will this lift take me to an elevator so that I can get to the main floor?” I asked.
“Oh, no,” he said as he pointed to a worn out chair lift on the other side of the entryway. “The wheelchair lift only goes downstairs to a small chapel. We only have the stair lift to get upstairs.”
Now, that was a problem. “How will I be able to into the cathedral if I had to leave my wheelchair behind?” I asked.
“We’ll carry the wheelchair up the stairs,” he said.
“The chair is over 350 pounds.”
“We will get you up the stairs and then carry the chair.”
“No, the chair is 350 pounds – without me in it.”
“Well, we only have the stair lift,” the young priest replied.
So, I rolled over to the stair lift wondering what I was going to do once I got to the top of the stairs – if I got to the top of the stairs. I lifted myself out of my wheelchair and swung around to sit on the stair lift. As soon as I sat down, I started to fall. I cried out in fear of hitting my face on the marble floor. “Help! I’m falling! Help! Help!”
Luckily, my husband was right there and caught me as I slid down. The seat was broken; the whole front half was missing any support.
“Hmm,” the priest said, “We’ll have to get the engineer to put a piece of board under the seat.”
“How am I going to get up the stairs, now?” I said perplexed at his lack of compassion and empathy. He could only address how to solve the seat and not even that I almost fell to the floor flat on my face?
“I don’t know,” he responded and walked away.
Yep, he walked away.
It was decision time. Would I just leave? I sure felt like leaving. What a waste of energy and money to come this far just to turn around and leave, I thought. What about my friend? She just lost her mother.
Suggesting that I try to walk up the stairs, my husband said he would be there to help lift me up each step. Holding out his arms, he said, “Susan will want to see you.”
“Okay,” I told him. “Let’s give it a try, but I am not sure about this.”
I scooched over to the stair railing. Since my hands were too weak to hold onto the wooden handrail, I wrapped my arm over the handrail and in-between the wrought iron vertical slats. Placing my left foot on the first stair, my husband held me at my waist and lifted me up as I raised my right leg. Step by step, we followed the same pattern.
After several stairs, I started to pant. Midway through, I needed to rest.
Finally, tottering I reached the landing. Looking up, the next problem loomed before me. How was I to get into the sanctuary and to the nearest pew?
“How much further?” I asked.
“About 100 feet,” came the reply.
By this time, a woman had stopped to help (others had passed us by without a word). Reaching out her hand, she held me by my right arm and my husband by my left. Looking as if I were facing the stormy winds from the night before, I dragged one foot at a time. Upon reaching the pew, I fell into the lap of the wooden bench.
Surveying my surrounding, I discovered I was 200 feet away from where everyone had gathered. All that work only to be removed and isolated. Trying to gather my thoughts and feelings, I asked God for help. What can I possibly learn from this?
Without delay, the answer came: Sometimes, our path requires extraordinary effort. Not everything will be easy even when motives are pure. Adversity gives birth to patience, patience courage, and courage hope.
Article Credits: Rose Wolfe
Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor