I have labored emotionally and mentally on exactly what I would write in this update. While I do have good news to share, I also struggle with how open to be with all the burdens I face. There is frustration in every facet of this experience and while I desire to be open and honest about it all, I also realize that expressing my true feelings may cause more harm than good. So, what is the balance? Again, I will revert to writing from my heart and trust that the Lord will lead it.
Thursday night was a highly emotional night. We all hadn’t experienced such moments since the accident most likely. The spark of the emotion arrived when Danny’s motorcycle did at the house that evening. Danny just cried and said it was ‘amazing.’ He asked me to take him out to see it twice that evening and he even told me he wanted to crank it. In his protective shadow, I believe it was a great experience for him to see the motorcycle; however, for those of us dealing with the magnitude of this reality, it was difficult.
I can only speak to how that evening affected me and how I feel when I walk past Danny’s motorcycle. Seeing Danny so happy to see his bike made me feel great. He was able to name parts on the bike and was right every single time. Isn’t it amazing what the brain retains? Anyway, to see Danny excited was wonderful, but it was personally challenging to me too. You see, in that motorcycle, I have so many happy memories, yet at the same time, that motorcycle reminds me of why we’re where we are today. Not that I blame the motorcycle for what happened to Danny, but his passion, his decision to ride; yet, how do you deny someone their passion?
I’ve said previously that I was more comfortable on a motorcycle with Danny than riding in his truck. And, that is still true today. Danny was a skilled and avid rider, but the accident wasn’t anymore his fault than the motorcycles. An object is worth nothing until it is used for its purpose; salt is worthless until it is used to season and a talent is nothing until it is invested. Danny’s motorcycle is meaningless until it serves its purpose; transportation, pleasure and even income in Danny’s case since his motorcycle is a representation of his craft. No, I don’t blame the bike anymore than I blame Danny.
Don’t get me wrong. I do hold Danny accountable for making the decision to not wear a DOT approved helmet. Who can say whether we’d be where we are today if he had on a better helmet? But, it does no good to ponder on the ‘what-ifs.’ There are too many to count. However, one truth I stand on is that God is sovereign and He is ALL the time. There is no gray area and I have to trust that God has Danny exactly where Danny needs to be right now and me for that matter. This accident did not happen outside of the authority of God. Read that sentence again.
So, this leads me to the question I get most; do I think Danny will ever ride again? In my heart, I think he will. Danny is an enthusiast when it comes to motorcycles. He started a company; he educated himself and saturated his life with riding. It was truly a passion rooted in the depths of his heart. Now, if the Lord wants Danny to take another course in his life, I believe it would take something of this magnitude to remove the desire, the passion from him. Again, who knows where we go from here, but I believe that if the Danny that emerges out of this carries the same enthusiasm as he did prior, he will ride. I can guarantee you one thing though; if Danny chooses to ride again, I’m picking out his helmet!
Here is the lesson today; either you believe God to be in complete control of your life or you don’t. Again, there is no gray area. I point back to part of the scripture that Danny and I used for our wedding:
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:18
If God IS love than there is no fear in Him. God’s perfect love drives out fear. Does my heart skip a beat thinking about Danny climbing back on his motorcycle? Yes, naturally, but Danny is God’s child. I’m not saying that we should all jump out of an airplane without a parachute and cry out to the Lord to save us. No, we shouldn’t be foolish in life and there are certain precautions we should take traveling through this life; wear a seatbelt, don’t eat undercooked chicken, don’t use a hairdryer in the bathtub and make sure you wear a DOT approved helmet. Yes, live to ride and ride to live, but be smart doing it.
Stepping down from my soapbox let me tell you the good news of Danny’s progress. As I wrote last, yesterday was Danny’s barium swallow test. His swallow shows marked improvement and we are thrilled. However, there is still a chance of aspiration although he didn’t throughout the whole test. While you and I would cough or clear our throat if something went down the wrong way, Danny doesn’t have the strength to do so. While he isn’t ready for his steak and potato dinners yet or his Big Gulp the speech therapist is going to start giving him apple sauce or something of similar texture. Her goal is to have Danny strong enough in four weeks to be able to add things to his diet. So, please continue to pray for Danny and for us too. He begs for food and water, really he obsesses about it. Of course, we explain why we can’t give him anything and although he understands in that moment, he quickly forgets and asks again and again.
We’ve also seen more movement in Danny physically. He lifts his head off the pillow when we move him up in the bed, he helps us pull him onto his left side and he straightened out his right leg last night. He also moves his head side to side during the night and moves his toes while he falls asleep. Danny is gaining more movement in his left hand and arm. He can now straighten out his fingers and make a fist. We are so excited to see all these improvements. There are so many happening at once that we feel confident that Dr. Kaelin will be anxious to get Danny back into Shepherd. Please continue to pray for wisdom on the timing of Danny’s readmission and also that the Lord will prepare the way as far as insurance and acceptance into the rehab program.
I want to leave you with one thought to ponder. Growing up in the church I have often heard that the Lord meets us wherever we are. Make no mistake. The Lord doesn’t have to meet you anywhere; he’s already there with you, each step of the way.
My deepest gratitude goes out to all of you who commit your time to lifting us up in prayer. May the Lord bless you all.