Monday, February 2, 2009

Tough Decisions

Again, thank you so much for your ongoing prayers, love, & support. Brian continues to be shocked at the number of cards, care packages, telephone calls, & visits from people he had no idea cared about him so much.

Apparently he hosted quite a party the weekend before last in his little, tiny rehab hospital room & this weekend there was a steady stream of company as there always is during the week too.

Brian knows how fortunate he is to have you all encouraging him & as he would do, he's reached out to some other patients who aren't so fortunate, sharing his support & yours with them also (& a glimpse of that humor too, if you're lucky:).

Again, thank you, thank you, thank you! We cannot thank you on his & our behalf enough. Thank you!

He continues to do the rehabilitation placed before him--therapy helping him learn to be self-sufficient, comfortable moving himself, building back the strength he lost from being bed-ridden for a month, & the strength he'll need to adjust. His physical strength continues to be impressive & quite an asset for him on this seemingly incomprehensible learning curve.

They have ordered a wheelchair for him & finally got a temporary one to replace the chair he's been using the past three weeks. The one he's had to use was just horrible--didn't turn well, offered no back support at all, & I'm sure Brian could tell you more things it did wrong & didn't do right. I know the shortcomings of the equipment are 100% legit (I've seen it) but I also know the fact he's having to learn & plan to use one when he leaves is utterly crushing.

Mentally & spiritually, he is trying so hard & still working through the grieving process of his loss. We are optimistic that he'll continue to regain some sensation & use, but we know it will be a long journey & he'll have to focus on the other parts of life that are equally, if not more important, to helping him fully heal at the same time.

He'll tell you he has ups & downs. This past weekend was a little more full of downs but even his downs aren't as low as many of us would go. And again, who wouldn't have their moments?

We know he can have a full life without 100% use of his body & we all hope for the day he feels sure of that possibility too, but for now, it's almost harder to see him wrestle with this side of things than it is to see him have to endure the immense physical pain. He is trying to so hard to be strong not just for him but for all of us too.

Brian has a medical team meeting again this week & they are floating a release date mid-February. Of course, this is more insurance-driven than anything, quite a commentary on the state of health care in this country. A system that has unarguably has the best resources in the world & we still aren't nearly as effective as we should be in helping a person heal. Grrr, I digress...

At this point, he has decided that he wants very much to remain close to Eliana & continue/restart life in Charlotte. It's a brave decision as the resources to help him stay are even more limited than they would be if he came to live with family in Raleigh, speaking volumes of his determination to try & make the best of life post-accident.

I know he & Eliana mean so much to each other (& to one another's families) & honestly, I admire them both so much for the sacrifices they are preparing to make & the willingness to face so many unknowns together. As Brian has a long road still ahead of him, we thank you for continuing to make efforts to stay connected to him even when he remains in Charlotte. Please also pray that God's hand will be upon the medical team meeting this week as they explore options for Brian & that He provides Brian & Eliana with the strength & support they need as well.

On another note, we've learned of some helpful online resources that some of you all might find useful with regard to understanding the world of spinal cord injuries:

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

Unite 2 Fight Paralysis
Brain & Spinal

One other important thing I wanted to share was another Days of Praise devotional that really spoke to me, particularly with regard to the difficult issue of suffering.

These free subscription email/snail mail devotionals are one of many things done by the Institute of Creation Research, an organization devoted to demonstrating the Bible's accuracy & authority through scientific research, educational programs, & more, particularly in how creation & science overwhelmingly point to the Creator embodied in the Bible.

Anyway, to sum up this devotional, Fitly Framed Together, & just to put it in the heads of those of you might end up reading the rest of this post but wouldn't dare click the full link ;):

When you enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you are given eternal life. Right there. On the spot. Done deal. No waiting till you get to heaven to see if you got it. No having to do or not do things to achieve it (John 17:3).

That said, we all have a special role we will learn of when we meet God face to face based on what happens here. In God's presence, we'll comprise His church. Paul uses the analogy of being part of a great building with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone in order to help us understand something beyond our realm in a way we can fathom (Ephesians 2:13-20) (A technique seen in studying the layers of the Bible & as a good friend of mine recently noted: Hello!?! That's why Jesus spoke in so many parables.).

Each stone has a special role in this building. Stones of various shapes, sizes, etc. are all vital in its completion.

In the temple building that's written about in the Old Testament, all the cutting, molding, & chiseling of the temple stones was done in the quarry, so only the perfected pieces were brought back to the building site for inclusion. That's what is happening here. We are being perfected into our special place as God grows our faith through life's circumstances & trials. When we leave here, we're ready to serve (Revelation 7:15-17).

That said, we know that believers faced with trials & sufferings, like Brian, are being asked to grow their faith & are going to turn out to be very important pieces of this temple--& rightfully so!

Sci-fi stuff for a lot of you, I know...It's like there's got to be forces at work here because those of us who so wholeheartedly believe this believe it as much as those who wholeheartedly don't, don't.

God's got a special place for each & every believer & that's what we're here to work on. This world is just preparation in a temporary setting for its application in eternity (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

I just take so much comfort in this, it's a comfort that grows with each passing day I spend time learning more about our God, & a comfort I pray will help strengthen & encourage Brian too.


  1. Hey Brian,

    Sounds like a new wheel chair will be more comfortable for your back. I didn't get a chance to watch the Tarheels and State this past weekend but I was pleased with the outcome :) Can you believe one analysis predicted a NC State Even Though I don't follow like I use to I still love the Tarheels. Well I'll speak with you and the family later and here's a word before I leave ya.

    This is Pauls letter to the Philippians Church


    3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

    3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

    3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

    3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

    3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

    3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

    3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

    - It doesn't matter where you live, how much money you attain in life, what condition you are in, how many degrees you attained in life.

    - When you start chasing Christ you'll count those things as dung, because there is a higher calling.

    Love ya

    Javarr (Shawn)

  2. Hey Keeter Family...
    Just wanted to let you guys know we are all still praying for you guys and rooting for you Brian! Have fun with your new chair... sounds like it will be a much needed step-up!!

  3. Brian,

    I don't know that I've seen you since high school, but we were friends ten years goodness it has been a long time. I have a lot of fond memories with you in them. You weren't witty or sarcastic at all, were you? :)

    My husband, daughter and I live in Ohio now and I just heard about your accident. I spent a lot of today praying for you and your family. Something that really spoke to me today was Psalm 27:13-14...

    "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait on the Lord!"

    So Brian, it's my prayer for you and your sweet family that the Lord would strengthen your hearts as you wait on Him.

    Peace to you, friend.

    -Mandy Song Gatling

  4. Hey Brian,

    I know you are in the process of making some pretty tough decisions...I'm thinking about you and praying for you. Can't wait to see you this weekend! Stay strong and positive :)