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A New Support Group

A Commentary by Constance Vanides

I finally gave in. My primary care physician had prescribed a walking cane for me years ago as a means to steady my walking so as to avoid risking a fall. I certainly didn't want to be looked at as old and helpless!

Yes, even the bible had something useful to say to me, The King James Version says, "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." These thoughts might better be described in The Message Bible as, "First pride, then the crash - the bigger the ego, the harder the fall..." (Proverbs 16:18)

With scripture taken literally and seriously, I bought myself a beautiful, colorful floral cane. When it began to be admired (perhaps with pity for me), I decided to make light of the situation and create a new fictional Club for cane users, the "Cane 'N Able Society."

Photo Layna Kinsman

Why have a "Cane 'N Able Society?" The purpose of the "Cain 'N Abel Society" as it will be known by my Christian friends, shall be to provide support and encouragement for those who need to use canes.

What shall the Club members do at their meetings? First, of course, they will open with prayer.

Then, warmup discussions will follow, covering typical problems encountered by cane toters and how they are solved by the members. For example:

  • How to keep from misplacing a cane.
  • When one is seated, how to park the cane to keep it from falling.
  • Other uses for a cane.

After the silliness is done with, the meeting will continue with the reading aloud of appropriate scriptures and pondering what they really mean. Scriptures can provide opportunities to relate to the present state of the club's members. For example:

"Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, 'Be strong, do not fear! Behold your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you." (Isaiah 35:3 NKJ)

"So don't sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it! (Hebrews 12:12, 13 The Message)

"Egypt is a rubber crutch. Lean on Egypt and you'll end up flat on your face. That's all Pharaoh king of Egypt is to anyone who leans on him. And if you try to tell me, 'We're leaning on our GOD,' isn't it a bit late? Hasn't Hezekiah just gotten rid of all the places of worship, telling you, 'You've got to worship at this altar'? (Isaiah 36:6, 7 The Message)

The members will learn to trust quality canes, not cheap imitations. "Now look! You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him." (2 Kings 18:21 NKJ)

Though our various conditions may be quite serious, the Club shall be planned to bring its members a chance to focus back to the One who is with us, always directing and guiding our paths.

Finally, the meeting will end with a theme song, "Leaning On The Everlasting Arms," (Elisha A. Hoffman, 1887) Scripture, Deuteronomy 33:27.

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Oh, how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
Oh, how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms,

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

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© Constance Vanides