Christ Follower

June 27, 2013

My sincere thanks to all of you who follow this blog and have enjoyed them enough to forward them on to your friends and contacts and to further post them through the social media. It is very rewarding hearing from so many of you that what has been written has encouraged you, inspired you or otherwise touched something in you that resonates with the truth that exists in the drama of all of our lives. If this blog uplifts or enlightens in any way, my hope then is that it goes as far as it possibly can so if you're feeling the nudge inside to forward it, please do.  Can't we all use a little more lifting up in our lives? A little fewer dark clouds and a little more light? A little less negativity and a little more positivity, a lot less fear and just maybe a little more faith, a little less of throwing in the towel and a little more "nevergiveup".

 

Attitude makes such a difference doesn't it?  Today I was driving about accomplishing all on my to-do list for the day and just idly recalling our days at Sick Kids Hospital after Jesse's accident. The fifth floor was ICU (Intensive Care Unit). Every child on that floor was clinging to life by a thread, or I should say by a thread and a prayer. The parents who made the rounds back and forth from the large communal waiting lounge to their child's room and then back again, all day long, some how rather quickly got to know the situation with each child. There were parents there whose children had terminal illnesses, two and three year old stroke victims, a fourteen year old girl who had stepped off a school bus right into an oncoming dump truck, and then there was Jesse the child who was somehow surviving a drowning and almost an hour without a heart beat. Though as parents and grandparents we never learned each other's names, we did learn the names of the children. Several times a day or long night we would see a mom coming down the hall with her eyes downcast looking as though she had just been beaten up senseless. We would stop her and with a hand on her shoulder ask how her daughter or son was.  Looking into her face I would see hope die in her eyes as she would utter something like, "oh, she's.....", and then something would cut off her voice like a knife and tears would fill her eyes. We would embrace her and just begin to pray for the child right there standing in the hall huddling and crying.  The same routine would later by played out again with us on the other side of the embrace, with us listening and clinging to the prayers of a stranger. On and on we all took our turns day after day all of us holding each other up.  Everyone calling in desperation on their "higher power" for help.

 

I am Christian, my wife is Christian as is Jesse's mom Kristin. Not just in name but in practice. The term at it's heart means 'a Christ follower'. It is natural for us to pray believing in a God that hears and responds with compassion to those who trust him. In our culture we often hear the term "my higher power". It seems just about everyone has one, as diverse as they may be.  We also have one.  Ours is the God of the Bible and he is the one we look to for Jesse's miracles. Faith has always been an important part of my life but until we experienced ICU from the inside I never realized how important faith was to so many others.  In ICU I discovered three kinds of people, people who were not naturally people of faith, others that were people of faith and still others that faith only became important when death threatened the life of their child. For our family faith is what motivates our patience, our persistence, our strength and our love.

 

We whole heartedly believe that Jesse will one day be every bit of the healthy boy he was born to be.

Nevertheless it's a little bit incredible to me knowing what was lost in Jesse, to know of just how much more was gained. Such insight into the value of a life and of the bounty of riches we all enjoy and take for granted. When I see well children I might have thought at one time that it would sadden me to then think of Jesse's condition. But it doesn't. I see these little kids running around, jumping, playing, using their amazing little hands, seeing the curiosity and adventure in their eyes, and hearing their little voices with their expanding vocabularies and I think these kids are all little miracles. Do you look at your child and see a miracle? If you don't, you should, because that's exactly what they are. I see them doing things that they don't even have to think about. Moving in ways that just come natural to them. And then I watch Jesse and as advanced as he was before his accident nothing comes natural to him now.  He has to work hard to do anything and everything, everything but smiling and laughing that is.

 

Thankfully, he's a very happy boy and he expresses it often. But it takes everything he has to focus his mind on the smallest of responses. To lift a hand for a wave (10 seconds), a high five (30-60 seconds), etc. But every tiny new thing that we see him doing is undisputable evidence that his brain is growing. A 1000 new neurons at a time he's working towards the 100 billion he will need as an adult. The road is a long one stretching into the distance but his patience is a great strength, his bravery is immense, his accomplishments are many and his attitude is unstoppable.

 

Bob Arrigo

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