I have attached some pictures from Christmas at the end of this long blog. So if you don’t have time to read a bunch, just scroll down to the bottom.
Divine. According to Webster, divine can mean a. proceeding directly from deity, b. being deity, and c. directed to deity. It could also mean supremely good such as “my pecan pie is divine.”
Okay, so we’re a couple weeks into 2009 and I’m still thinking about what the Lord might have in store for us this year. It seems that at our birthdays, anniversarys (both marriage and accident), Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, I always contemplate what that day will look like one year later. Does everyone do that? I don’t remember doing it until Danny’s accident when time seems to have gone from one realm of life to the twilight realm of life. I’ve mentioned this before; how life continues, but I feel like we’re still stuck in a holding pattern, waiting to get started again.
Switching back to divinity, I’m really ready to be divine in 2009 and not in a vanity sort of way. I’ll take choices a and c; proceeding directly from Deity and directed to Deity. We do and have had to proceed through this journey with the directing hand of God, with His strength and with His might. And, I certainly have had to direct myself to God. If I find myself looking at the circumstances of our life, I am overwhelmed and frustrated. However, when I keep my thoughts, my eyes on the Lord, when I saturate myself with scripture and worship music, there is a freedom that comes, a knowledge that it’s going to be okay. Peace that surpasses anyone’s understanding. So, I’m ready to be divine in ’09.
But, do you know what else would be divine in ’09? It’s that “supremely good” kind of divine. I want Danny to walk again. But, the thing you all may not grasp is that it isn’t just the motion, the ability to walk. It’s so many more things; things that are life changing to him and to everyone around him.
Walking is independence, something that Danny fiercely embraced and thrived in. He feels guilty, shameful, worthless because he has to depend on people to help him do everyday tasks that you and I take for granted. He thinks he isn’t a capable father or husband because he can’t physically “do” those “jobs.” He feels hopeless looking at motorcycle magazines, shows or Web sites because he doesn’t believe he’ll get to enjoy those things again.
Just take a moment and think about your life. You sleep all night long, you wake up and are able to throw your feet on the floor and paddle to the bathroom to pee and brush your teeth, shower and comb your hair or shave your face. You pick out your clothes and get yourself dressed. You stumble to the kitchen to grab your coffee, adding your cream and sugar. Oops! You spilled it on the counter so you take two steps grab some paper towels and wipe it clean. Hmm. Take a peak in the refrigerator to choose some breakfast. Grab the milk, a bowl and a spoon and look in the pantry for cereal. Take it all to the table and sit down in a real chair, scoot yourself up and pour the cereal, pour the milk and eat. You may even have to lean over the bowl to let that drip of milk not fall onto your “just back from the dry cleaners” button down shirt.
Now, imagine you cannot do any of that for yourself.
Except when you look in the mirror, it is Danny. Danny never sleeps through the night because he can’t get himself comfortable, so I have to turn him throughout the night. When he wakes up, he has to wait until someone lifts him onto a shower chair to head to the bathroom. Someone helps him brush his teeth, shower, shave, put deoderant on and spray on cologne. He is then placed back in bed to be dressed which means he is rolled back and forth until everything is just right before being hoisted back in the air and set on his wheelchair. He is pushed to the kitchen table where breakfast in brought to him. He wears a long kitchen towel tucked into his shirt so if he drips, it doesn’t get on his shirt which isn’t the one he is wearing to a job because he doesn’t have one to go to.
As a man who loved to work, to play, to take care of and provide for his family and his home; as a man who took pride in his work and helping others, who was determined to succeed; when Danny looks in the mirror, he sees failure.
Now, those are his terms, his feelings. When I look back three years ago, this is where we were on January 12, 2006.
“Danny is getting more difficult to handle. Last night, he was extremely upset. The neurologist is encouraged and says this is all a good thing, but it is quite difficult to watch. Danny was urgently trying to tell us something, but the words that came out made no sense. He mumbled nonstop and fought with us whenever we needed to do something for him. It took me and both his parents to get him dressed for bed because one person had to restrain his right arm while the others got him ready. I started crying a bit because nothing I did would calm him down. I can’t imagine the frustration he is dealing with internally.
While the staff at Shepherd Center prepared us for this stage of recovery, I didn’t realize it would be this hard. It’s not just the physical fight that Danny gives us, but it is so frustrating emotionally not to be able to help him. I have to keep telling myself that the man pushing me away, pinching me, squeezing and scratching my arm, yelling at me is not Danny. He reaches for Corbin, but I can’t let him touch him for fear that he may hurt him. Do you know how hard that is not to let Danny touch his own son? Not to let Danny feel the softness of his skin or tickle his toes? I pray that the Lord will give Danny and Corbin a special bond, even more than most fathers and sons because Danny is missing this amazing time.”
So, as a woman who saw, experienced firsthand and remembers the worst of the worst, January 2009 is a divine place to be. We have so much to be thankful for and while Danny has tough days emotionally, I couldn’t be prouder of the efforts his is giving.
There was a time when I was so frustrated with Danny for not giving all to his recovery, but thankfully, that time has passed. Danny is working so hard in therapy, on his off days at the gym, and even with his diet, he puts everything he can and I know he will see the rewards of those efforts.
Danny has seen more improvement physically in the last few months than at anytime prior. It seems that the foundation has been set and we’re now working on the finishing touches. Danny’s right leg has suddenly started to move so much that it’s not far from performing the same as the left. Danny’s left arm has begun to have muscle definition. Danny’s abdominals are alive and he works really hard to keep them engaged. The human body is amazing and wonderfully made to work together. To have to think about transfering your weight to step, or straightening one leg to step with the other, or all the muscles that work to just walk, you realize that there is no such thing as just walking.
Walking is an amazing ability that brings more than just a physical movement, a physical awakening. Walking brings with it emotional improvement, an awakening of the mind. Danny will be who he wants to be when he can walk again because who he wants to be he cannot attain it to the fullest without the ability to walk. There is no settling in this game for him. Who could ask him to change his dreams?
We are blessed; blessed beyond measure because we have come to the place where we know to proceed from Deity and how to direct our lives by Deity. God is truly our Savior.