Monday, December 14, 2009

One Year Later...

Yes, to the date. It was this day, 2008 my mom & dad got the 5:00am phone call that Brian was in the Carolinas Medical Center Trauma ICU & this part of life's journey began.

It's been a tough week for Brian & our family, I guess, though no one's really said too much about it. The memories flood back--like things we last did together "before the accident," where we spent Christmas, & the like.

I have meant to post before today as this tragedy continues to give way to so many wonderful outpourings of support. Yet, somehow day-to-day tasks manage to steal any time I might have to do so.

Anyway, giving these folks the more than overdue thank you they deserve, the Cary High Basketball Scrimmage Benefit for Brian was such a tremendous success. Over $3,000 was raised that day for Brian's uninsured needs--though if you ask my son, he'd tell you the highlight of the event was the super cool green CHS basketball he got & watching a basketball game. The staff made a great presentation of their efforts to our family during the game. Standing on the court where Brian once played, we saw so many wonderful & supportive faces in the stands.

What amazes me even more about the funds raised was how half of them were pledged before school was even out by students & staff alike. Moreover, former CHS graduate & now head basketball coach of Cardinal Gibbons, Marque Carrington, discreetly presented my dad with over $300 for Brian raised by his team alone.

I used to work in the schools. It's a hard, thankless job. More so each passing year, I think. The fact that these folks still managed to make time to organize & show up in support of such a successful event is overwhelming. The whole event & the spirit of it was amazing.

Thank you to all of you.

Some of you also might like to know that we had a nice change of pace for Thanksgiving this year. The couple of times Brian has come to Raleigh, he stayed in a hotel because private residence doors are not large enough for a wheelchair, particularly bathrooms. With NTAF monies, we purchased a small transfer chair that fits through standard doors, allowing Brian to stay at our house, both saving the cost of a hotel & well, just making things a little less difficult & a little more familiar. We look forward to having him back for Christmas, right Brian?

We ate Thanksgiving dinner with some great families at the Town of Cary Fire Station #1 that Myra helped organized since she & others were on duty that night. We brought some food, making a point to come early to help set up (I mean, they are the ones on duty, missing Thanksgiving at home.), but our efforts were moot. They were busily preparing turkey, ham, stuffing, & more--ending up doing the waiting on us rather than the other way around.

Most often, they don't get their calls until night. This year, we had the special treat of witnessing them jump up from what they were doing & take two calls. Really. Jump. Up. They can move. I couldn't believe how quickly they were out the door & down the street, sirens blaring. Jumping up from serving us dinner to take calls. Folks just like them rushed to the rescue of my brother this very day last year...

Thank you to all of you.

There just continue to be so many of you helping in such different, yet, vital ways--rides home for holidays & visits just because you sense Brian might be down that day. Even requesting that in memory of a beautiful life lost, donations be made on Brian's behalf.

Thank you to all of you.

God made us for good works, you know:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

It's not what gets us into heaven but He made us to help others & to glorify Him in doing so.

It's also not just good works that helps others & glorifies God. Suffering can do that too. How much more does it help to hear encouragement, advice, or support from someone going through or having made it through what you are enduring than someone who hasn't?

I liked this commentary on 2 Corinthians 1:3-11.

I am always amazed by those who have endured life's wrongs yet all the while remain firm in their belief that they were made by a kind and loving Creator who will one day remove those hardships & restore their loss (Revelation 21:4).

Suffering does so many things. Suffering helps a believer stay kingdom-minded. When things go well, we tend to forget that this life is vanity. When tragedy comes, we don't have to even try to block out daily distractions. Tragedy strips all the frivolity clear out of the picture for you. Instantaneously you know what doesn't matter to you as much as you know what does. Those things we think make us content, we see how vapid they are & we remember what matters.

But for many, suffering also is the age-old stumbling block in his or her belief in Our kind & loving God.

The God who made Himself human to help us grasp eternity within our worldly constraints, a baby even, who willingly endured death on a cross so that we don't have to...

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things (Romans 8:32)?

Anyway, Brian continues to truck along with therapy at Race to Walk (check the link for a couple of shots of Brian in action). Though this week has been a little rough, he has mostly good days.

Andy & his wife, Dawn, have done more than provide a state-of-the-art physical therapy center for Brian (As if that wasn't enough, right?). They have helped him with a couple of errands here & there & just befriended him as people who, first hand, know what he's going through. Brian's also starting a new medication this week that has shown some success with helping nerve sensation return for patients with spinal cord injuries. We are hopeful that it will do the same for him.

This time last year, he was brought to the ER with staff thinking he wasn't going to make it. Many of the attending doctors thought he'd be paralyzed from the chest down. He left the rehab hospital in March paralyzed at the navel. He now feels all the way down to the middle of his hips.

Hang in there, Brian. I know it's so hard, though only as someone who sees what you & those like you daily endure.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).

Be encouraged that one day the restoration you'll gain won't even compare to the pain, devastation, & loss you've endured thus far.

For those of you reading, please continue to pray for my brother. I quickly glanced back at the posts I wrote this time last year & it reminded me so clearly of all of those praying for his survival & healing. I'll admit, prayer is not my strong suit but I've seen & felt it work. When you have others praying on your behalf, worry diminishes & a sense of peace takes its place.

Brian could use a lot of prayers for his physical problems. Even more, being able to go through this uncertain process with diminished worry & increased peace would be of tremendous help to him & his family for that matter too (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).