It’s that time year again where I find myself doing a lot of reflecting and taking a look at life. It’s turned out to be a really good thing as it is a time where I get to celebrate my anniversary with my amazing wife now of 17 years and it’s also a time where I get to celebrate my second year post spinal cord injury. I just got off the phone with a good friend of mine and he put it well, that it has to feel a little odd. It’s odd to celebrate two years of a spinal cord injury as it definitely brings in some sadness of what things used to be. However, it’s definitely a reason to celebrate, the fact that I’m alive and my boys still have a dad, Sarah a husband, my parents have a son, my brothers and sisters still have a brother and my friends still have a friend.
And the new relationships and friendships that I have strengthened/ gained from this injury are endless from the Boots family, Keller family, Aaron Knighton, Natalie Wagner, Kyle Pearson. Ian Raulston and family, Schubert family, Fialia family, Cumming family, Sweeney family, Wingerson family, Scott and Sherry Johnson, my neighbor Larry and Ann(who have become amazing friends and continue to give and help whenever they can), the cycling community all over, church(Washington/Colorado), the North shore lifeguard crew at Waimea Bay, Jonathan Shirley who continues to stay in contact, Tippy who flew me over from Queens Hospital to Colorado who has become an amazing friend, HTC family, Rad Racing family, Motofish family and the list could go on and on. Please know that if I miss you I am very sorry.
So part of reflecting is also looking back at where you come from, the key is to just take a look and not to focus or dwell there. Why? Well the past is the past and I have no desire to live there or stay there. I have no choice I must move on, I know there are bigger things in front of me things that I’m not even drink of war thinking of and for those of you that know me I’m a big dreamer and thinker. I will continue to fight the thought that March 6, 2013 will define me or break me. In matter of fact I cannot wait for the day that I get to go back to Waimea Bay with my family and get right back in that water where I was injured and celebrate.
In regards to what happened in the last year, I know I am a terrible blogger and I will continue to try and get better as time moves on. A lot of happened in the last year, I am now independently driving to and from work and all over which has been huge. It’s funny I don’t think I realized how big of an impact driving was going to have on the, it’s given me sense of need and ability to give back and feel let a contributing part of the family again. And today I was actually able to drive-through Starbucks pick my wife up a coffee and take it to her at work! And if anyone is reading this who is fighting a spinal cord injury get back behind the wheel don’t let this injury stop you. Yes it’s different, yes it’s hard and yes it’s rewarding.
I’ve also been the past year started a foundation called FindingHUP. The simple concept or idea behind this foundation is to help people dealing with paralysis to get back in the mix #getbackinthemix. Whether that be through hand cycle, shooting, billiards, fishing, driving, work and the list could go on and on. We are very new and still trying to get things going but I’m very excited about reaching out and helping other people deal with life.
The mind of an athlete no matter what level never rests. It is always hungry for more. More dirt, road, water, snow – the list is long. Sadly sometimes life drops bombs on our bodies that we can’t anticipate or expect.
We may be “broken” but we are never discouraged. Why? Because of faith, family and friends. These three things are the key to fixing the “broken” and getting back to the business of feeding the mind and body of the athlete.
HUP HUP – ring goes the cowbell.
As a rider on course you thrive when these words of encouragement hit you. Often times its on an up or right before the barriers — motivation to get you through and going faster and stronger. Exactly the same for an athlete searching for adaptive options. Getting out of the chair and back in the mix. Rooted in cycling but applicable to all sports ——- “I still want to go. I still can go. I just need find things and places that will help and enable me to go. —
I was also able to travel to Austin Texas this year to cheer on Gideon at the race and then we did a full mountain bike and cyclocross schedule here locally. I’ve also had the opportunity to speak/share my story of how God is walking me through this journey at two different churches and one school. And this is something I would like to try and expand or explore more. It’s been really rewarding and freeing to be able to share this journey with people and to share with them how my Savior has never left my side and to share all the amazing stories of how he provided for us in Colorado. From a simple answer to a prayer of Lord please provide me with a Christian PT and OT, from my family need a house to live in, we need furniture for this house and we have bills to pay. All of those prayers were answered and they were not only answered we were provided with above and beyond.
So, yes these two years have been hard and then they’ve been good and then I’ve had times where I’ve felt like have been all alone in the desert and then at times where I feel like I could climb Mount Rainier. Towards the end of last year I had to come to the reality of “wow, I’m battling with depression”. And that was tough, I’ve never had to deal with depression. But I’ve dealt with it and am moving on….
Also just want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who has and continues to pray for me. God is not done here, I believe that with everything and I will stand on his word until the very last day. I have already seen God provide for me and heal me and there is more healing and provision down the road. Now does that healing mean that I will walk? I don’t know and I’m not worried about that. I have not been called to live a life of worry but rather one of victories and glory. But I do believe that if it is his will in this lifetime I will walk again. And right now there are many ways I may not be physically walking but I’m running and leaping and jumping. As I approached this day last week the Lord gave me the following word out of Philippians 4:10 MSG “Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am”.
As you read this maybe take some time later tonight, tomorrow, next week and reflect. Think about all the blessings you have around you. Think about how you need to enjoy those more. Enjoy the quiet times and enjoy the loud crazy times. Enjoy every minute you have and treasure it as you don’t know if you will have the next minute, days, months, years. Life is too short to live with a grudge, forgive – forget – move on – celebrate. Bitterness and grudges and hate will only destroy and bring you down. It doesn’t matter who was right or wrong, who hurt who first, who always says I’m sorry first. It really does not matter.
With that here is a short video that was put together at one of the churches I spoke at…