Swans, Stairs, Sinners, and Schnitzel

I posted on Facebook that I’d be a day late on this post – and here I am two days late. I wouldn’t call that sin, but the lesson I taught on Monday was about sin. It’s been a full couple of days.

Sin is an ugly and overused word. That’s my opening sentence for the chapter the students are engaging with this week. I brought Julia to class on Monday, and she reflected with me after about how squirrelly that group is, but she also saw a beautiful spark of commitment to Jesus and desire to grow. Speaking of Julia, I’ll back up to Sunday to explain why this post is late.

The very same Julia and Jonathan who drove me from LA to PDX this past summer showed up in Germany on Saturday night, so we headed out on Sunday morning to visit the famous castle of the swan obsessed Bavarians. Weirdly enough, the most famous of the castles was sold out for tours, so we took pictures of Neuschwanstein from the slightly older Hohenschwangau. Now, the website did say that there was a staircase to get into the castle, but I understood it had an elevator in it. What I did not gather from the website is that the elevator was installed by the last ruler there in 1910 and is not working or usable for making the tour more accessible. This added an additional two flights of stairs. After the first roughly five hundred steps I had to take to get up to what I saw pictured on the website and thought was the only flight of stairs I’d go up that day.

I did it though. I made it up hundreds of stairs – and down just three flights because we found out Jonathan could drive up to the employee parking to pick Julia and I up at the end.

It reminded me of the long journey up the stairs to the retreat center in New Zealand, and I was thinking about the patience and encouragement my friends offered as I huffed and puffed up those exterior steps. This time, Jonathan was carrying my wheelchair without a single complaint, and Julia would check around each bend to see how far was left while both of them let me take pauses whenever I needed. I’ve accomplished incredible feats with this limited disability because of the patience of others. I was not super impressed with the swans everywhere, but I was struck with the fact that I would not have been able to do this tour just a couple of years ago. The increase in my stamina and strength is huge. While I thought of that staircase where the RYC retreat was years ago, I remembered it actually was much shorter than the one I went up on Sunday.

I had physio with Anja this morning, and I told her what I did over the weekend, “I know those stairs,” she told me, impressed with my feat. Slowly but surely, I’m still seeing progress, so I won’t be giving up anytime soon.

This week may not have more staircase success stories, but I’m working hard to make sure each of my lessons is intentional and valuable as we talk about sin and salvation in Bible 11 and The Poisonwood Bible in AP Lit. I’m also working intentionally to grow closer to Jesus in how I live – so back to hanging out with Julia and Jonathan. We’re getting schnitzel.

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