Today I've been a quadriplegic for 12 years.
In the first few years following my paralysis, January 18 loomed large over the rest of the years dates. The first few years, we memorialized it with attempted happy get-togethers. They always just made me sad. They always just reminded me that I would never be the guy that I was before- the athletic / multi-instrument-playing / throw-my-kid-in-the-air / help-a-buddy-move / finish-the-unfinished-basement guy. But slowly, the sting… the horror, the looking towards with dread slowly drained out of these days.
Then, in 2016, 2017, and 2018 January 18 seemed to be upon us before I ever had a chance to fear it much. Which brings us to today.
It was about 1:00 p.m. when I opened Facebook. I never go on Facebook anymore, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw this pasted into my timeline:
Amazing! It was afternoon before I ever even realized that it was the 12th anniversary of the day that I broke my neck, became a quadriplegic, and changed my life forever!
I thought long and hard about how to handle telling anyone else about what day it was. I decided to tell no one. I was going to wait until the 19th, and then I could laugh with everyone about how I was the only one that remembered. Then, about an hour later, f.rom the bathroom, I heard a shriek! It was Shelly.
“Do you know what today is!“ She said.
“Ha ha ha yes,“ I replied.
I was actually glad she remembered because I would’ve been somewhat upset if she wouldn’t have. We started processing what it meant that it took us so long to remember and no one else had yet.
“It’s a good thing,“ I replied, “it means that the day has lost a lot of its sting. It has lost a lot of its power.“
(Right now, I’m just realizing that I somehow morphed my blog post into a weird first person story mode.) But I was so correct in that moment. January 18 has lost so much of its sting. Me being in a wheelchair has lost so much of its sting. Death Has even done the same thing! I pray that it’s no time soon, but I’m peacefully secure in my future with Him.
It’s true…! His promises are true. Even when we don’t understand… Even when we are pissed, His peace… His Grace… Deep, bottomless cisterns to sustain us through times in the spiritual desert and times on the mountain.
The longer I serve Him… The more pain he brings me through… The more Joy it brings me to serve him, and the easier it is to trust in His promises.
I don’t say this to sound like Paul-pumping myself up spiritually. Many of you know me, and know that I have had seasons of pride, and you know of my betrayal of my bride in 2008. But ever since Shelly‘s gift of forgiveness to me… ever since our marriage was redeemed… I have fought for a pure and righteous life and marriage… And have been victorious.
This victory is available to everyone willing to fight and willing to put their trust in the promises that we find in the scriptures and in the reality of a resurrected Christ.