Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a professional ballroom dancer, breathes and lives dance. One year ago, she went to the Boston Marathon with her husband, Air Force Captain Adam Davis, to celebrate his safe return from the war in Afghanistan. But 6,500 miles away from the war zone, a bomb went off in their own neighborhood. The bomb severely damaged her left foot and doctors ultimately had to amputate her leg just below the knee.
But Haslet-Davis teamed up with MIT bionic limb wizard Hugh Herr to waltz her back to the dance floor. Herr became a double amputee himself in 1982 after becoming stranded on Mount Washington for four days in minus 20 degree weather. He vowed to climb mountains again, and by developing specialized prosthetic feet, he became a better climber than he was before the accident.
For Hugh Herr, making the perfect bionic limb foot for a dancer would be even more difficult. Bionics entails the engineering of extreme interfaces. There’s three extreme interfaces in bionic limbs: mechanical, how limbs are attached to the biological body; dynamic, how they move like flesh and bone; and electrical, how they communicate with the nervous system. “Most bionic limbs are built for the repetitive motion of walking, but dancing is different,” Herr said. “The steps, turns and dips required a limb that could do more than repeat the same motion over and over.” But he did it.
As the head of the MIT Media Lab’s Biomechatronics group, Hugh Herr is building the next generation of bionic limbs, robotic prosthetics inspired by God’s own designs. He shows his incredible technology in a recent TED talk that’s technical, deeply personal, and, exemplified with life of Hanslet-Davis, transformational.
Haslet-Davis danced for an audience for the first time in nearly a year when she performed last month at the conclusion of a TED talk given by Hugh Herr. Watch Adrianne Haslet-Davis dance at the 17:04 mark. Later this year, Adrianne will be performing on ABC’s, “Dancing with the Stars.
“In 3.5 seconds, the criminals and cowards took Adrianne off the dance floor,” Herr said from the stage before her performance. “In 200 days, we put her back. We will not be intimidated, brought down, diminished, conquered or stopped by acts of violence.” One year ago, her life was changed, devastated. But what a difference a year makes. One year ago, not many people, including me, had heard of Adrianne Haslet-Davis, but today, she’s dancing on a much bigger stage.
As incredible and inspiring as this story of is, the life of Jesus, His death on the cross, and the power of His resurrection has real transformational power. In Him, we have so much more than a just an imaginative, ingenious technician who understands our limitations and who heals our amputations. In Jesus Christ, we know the Creator, Savior, and Sustainer of our lives who has lived just as we have lived, and has conquered death itself for us (Hebrews 4:14-15). On the cross, Jesus bridged the gap between our spiritual disability and His ability, between our human limitations and His perfect righteousness. A relationship with God that had been eternally severed because of our sin was restored through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. His resurrection changed everything!
That’s why the apostle Paul could proclaim, “My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead… Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”
The Risen Jesus Christ revolutionizes our ability to forget the past and focus on our future, so that we can run, climb, and dance with Him today in victory.
Follow me… as I follow Jesus Christ.