Good morning everyone. Leah told me to keep it to a couple of minutes, but I could easily take an hour to share with you how God has been at work in my life recently. Although many examples come to mind, the most powerful event that continues to be at the forefront of my thinking began May 17th of this year.
For those of you who don’t know, I fell 13 feet off a ladder onto concrete that night in my best friend’s garage. The result was a traumatic brain injury due to three brain bleeds as well as 40+ bone fractures to my head, shoulder, collarbone, and back. Although I don’t even recall the accident and the following weeks continue to be sketchy for me, what I have been told by my family and friends makes me certain God was and continues to be at work in my life. God has been at work through the actions of others.
-Seconds after my fall, my best friend’s son happened to stop back at home for something. He put the ladder back up so my best friend could climb down.
-My best friend held me down after I regained consciousness. I became violent and he pinned me down despite the blood, my screams and attempts to hit him. Something made him continue to hold me despite the presence of first responders. He finally let me go once paramedics arrived. Had he not, the slightest additional bump to my head could have caused death or paralysis.
-Despite being nonresponsive once in the ambulance, my friend needed the passcode to my phone to call Nicole and Bill. For some reason, I was able to respond to this request but no others.
-Once at the hospital, Nicole made the decision for me to have surgery on my collarbone. Because of that, I now have no pain and full range of motion in that area.
-Doctors told me had one of the brain bleeds been only 3mm longer, I would have been dead or paralyzed. I landed the best way possible.
-While in the hospital, Nicole was at my side and helped me through those first critical days. Prayers and her faith provided us both with strength and comfort. She knew everything was going to be ok when she heard U2’s “Beautiful Day” in her car on the way to the hospital the following Friday morning. Once out of the hospital, she continued to care for me and support me in a way I can’t imagine could have been any better.
-My mother took off work to live with us to help Nicole with Cam and Alec for over a month. This allowed me to focus on my recovery without worrying about raising my children.
-Family and friends notified everyone I knew. Prayers, money, food, and notes of encouragement were sent from hundreds of people, including many of you. I am proof those prayers were answered by God.
-Physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech pathologists helped me regain my eyesight, strength, and cognition. I know prayers were a big part of that as well.
-Nearly every doctor or therapist I have seen has told me how they have never seen a patient with the injuries I sustained recover so well so quickly. I am most certainly an outlier.
Although it is unfortunate this event occurred, it has strengthened our faith and we had the opportunity to see how God works in our own lives when it is needed most. I know this is something I could not have dealt with on my own. It is thanks to the prayers, love, and support of my family, friends, and church that I am where I am today. From time to time, many of us question the presence of God. After this experience, I know God is in my life and will always be present. I now appreciate the little things in life so much more and value my relationships with others above all else. I continue to struggle with why I am an outlier and why I am doing so much better than I should be. Why me? Although I don’t have the full answer to that question yet, I know God has a plan for me and I will pay it forward.
I’d like to end with a poem my father wrote about my experience.
The last thing I remember,
I was just smokin’ cigars with a friend.
When my existence was challenged,
Like I never imagined.
To fight an unlikely and unyielding foe,
Concrete—reinforced with steel.
I fell from rafters and hit my shoulder and head,
It made me unconscious and
Wet with my own blood.
It broke me into a million pieces,
But it didn’t break me.
Angels embraced me, so I would live.
The awful pain I would endure, brought me to my knees,
And challenged me to prove I could be whole again.
But, most of all—the Angels taught me of the incredible love,
Of my friends—of my family.
It took every ounce of my strength, my courage,
And the prayers of others.
It was my best fight—it was a glorious fight,
But I still wish I knew,