Sunday, January 8, 2012

{Monday} Moments: Because I Can

His name is Jack.
He's 16 years old, with
dark brown hair and eyes
and in photos he wears
a great big smile.

I don't know him, but
as I power my way through
cycling class, I can't shake
his image from my mind.

On December 30th, this 
local jr. varsity hockey player
 laced up, no clue that
it would not only be his last 
hockey game, but the final 
time he would ever stand 
on his own two feet.

Jack sustained an injury
in that game that severed
the spinal cord in his neck,
paralyzing his arms and legs.

In a split second, life 
for Jack and his family 
was altered, forever.

People around the world
are praying for him,
including me, as I grit
my teeth and pump my
legs, a middle-aged woman
doing what one vibrant 
boy will never be able
to do, again.

Sadly, I also pray for
two other young men in
similar physical situations
as I pedal; we have family
connections to both of them.

Mark's life changed forever
several years ago when he
was in his early 20's.  He dove
off a dock at the lake resort
where he'd been vacationing 
with his extended family since
he was a baby, only to realize
too late that the dry summer 
had rendered the lake much 
shallower than was normal.

Mark is now a quadriplegic.
His life and the life of his family,
will never, ever, be the same.

Aaron graduated from Notre
Notre Dame and was in his first
year of medical school when a
 bad decision changed everything.

At a party a few autumns past,
he dove into a swimming pool
and hit his head, injuring
his neck.

Aaron hasn't moved his 
arms or legs, since.

So as I hold turns on this bike,
pedal into sprints and follow
the teacher in handlebar push ups,
I welcome the challenge,
celebrating the fact that when I
wake up in the morning, I can
still put two feet on the floor
and they will take me wherever
I choose to go.

While I huff and puff and glance
at the clock, I think about 

and Aaron.  

I pray for them and for 
their families. 

I also reflect on my own son, 
who is able to ski, run bases and 
jump into a pool, realizing how
lucky I am.

Please, for those of you who have
a goal of shaping up this year,
just do it as Nike implores.

If not for you, then for them.

Because you still can.


{Thank you to my family
for choosing the activities
they would miss if they
could no longer stand on
their own ~ and the shoes that
go with them ~ for these pics.
  I love you.}

PS:  What's on your mind?

Any and all thoughts ~
deep or light-hearted,
informative or just fun ~
are welcome as you make
your way into our virtual
chat around the water cooler.


Blooming Rose Musings said...

Suzanne, this post brought me to a complete standstill. As I've told you, my parents were hit by two drunk teenagers and in one instant it changed all our lives forever. My heart goes out to Jack, Mark and Aaron and their families. And you are so correct, we need to do things if for no other reason than we are able to do so.
On a lighter note, I am linking up two posts this week because I missed last week. I am so glad to know I can link on Sunday night because I thought I had to wait until Monday which is difficult because of running off to work. Thank you, Suzanne.
Sending you much love. XO

Alina said...

Coming from Sylvia's "Simple Life" I feel lucky to be here...Your post put Me in that special place, where everything is understood by feeling, where written word is a messanger, delivering truth, we often forget... Thank You !
Stay well Dear !

Ruben Rivera said...

Hi Suzanne
This is a timeless message. A knee injury will no longer allow me to run, but I still can walk, which I love to do with my wife Anita. I am thankful to God for every day I can live and think and create. I'm glad my post was an uplift for you.
All the best

Laura @ 52 FLEA said...

Thank you for this puts it all in perspective, doesn't it?
I will certainly pray for these young men and their families.

helen tilston said...

Hi Suzanne

I love your beautiful post, I found you on Anita's beautiful blog and followed you over. As you new follower I look forward to you visit.

Helen xx

Days at Buttermilk Cottage said...

My heart and prayers go out to all those about whom you wrote. Good health and abilities to live normally are so taken for granted until they're no longer possible.

On a lighter note, the Christmas buns were once again a favorite. I took some to a neighbor who lives alone and she's asked for, and received the recipe. She's been baking for 80 years and said they were better than any she'd ever made! Thank you for all you do.

Susan T said...

We take SO much for granted. Years ago we went to the Body Worlds exhibition. A bit wary of what I would find, I was surprised by my reaction, nearly driven to tears by the beauty and complexity of the human body beneath the skin, so very true "What a work is man". We should cherish our ability to do the simplest things and move our bodies to our own will. Prayers indeed to those who no longer can.

Marie said...

Beautiful post Suzanne. We tend to take so much for granted. Putting your boys on my prayer list too. ((((hugs)))

The enchanted home said...

Suzanne, how can one not be totally moved in a big way in reading this post? My goodness, if this doesn't show you how quickly life can change, what does. Such tragic stories that just leave me wondering why God would do something like that.

I just cannot imagine what those young adults go through and then the torment of their families to have to endure it with them, I cannot imagine anything more painful because it is so permanent. I pray for each of these three special people and their families for them to be given strength and to remain in Gods embrace forever.

I am always amazed at what the power of loving someone unconditionally can do. When you think the impossible, when you think you could never get through something, and then something so unreal happens that changes your life forever and somehow you forge ahead, persevere and even make it work. I will think about them as I do even the most mundane errand today, and use their storeis as inspiration...thank you Suzanne.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

How very, very true and timely. It is all too short to worry and complain; life is meant to LOVE and to LIVE and to do and say what matters. Dearest, I think I heard about this first boy on the news this weekend...and you too lost someone? My dear and esteemed colleague who taught next to me in the fifth grade lost his battle with cancer at age 49. Going to his memorial in Edina on Saturday was also a time to see my little students grown up now. What a reunion it was. Upon walking into that church and seeing those beautiful faces, I wept, even before the service started. I started to realize, even before seeing Ruben's video on his blog, that there was a special lesson for me, for us.

Let us always hold each other in high regard. Bless you. Anita

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

What a powerful post.

Thank you so much for making us stop and be thankful for what we have - and so easily take for granted...and also drawing these three boys to our attention. Of course I will be praying.

Big hug, my lovely thoughtful friend,,


Teacup Mosaics said...

Suzanne, I am considering returning to the blog world. Your blog was my first visit to any blog in months. I am so very touched by this post it reminds me why I started blogging. You do make a difference in our world by your words, thank you. I will never look at shoes again without your words in my heart.
Happy New Year dear friend, I have missed you.

Farmgirl Paints said...

You always make me teary eyed. And here I was feeling not going to the gym this morning. Thanks for giving me a good kick in the pants.

Tricia said...

It's so sad to think about how one decision or accident can have lifelong consequences, altering a person's activies and the way they live forever. I think it's even harder to imagine when it happens to someone who's young. It's so easy to take the things we do naturally for granted. My hearts go out to these boys and their families.


Stitchfork said...

Whoa, stop and paused. Prayers for the boys. Really shines a perspective onto what we have in our daily lives.
xo Cathy

Biz said...

What a powerful message!
It's biblical that we care for our bodies.
You never know what you'll miss until it's gone and for some that is just the simple ability to get out of bed on their own.
I started my Happy Baby workout yesterday and although we were unable to get through the entire DVD I'm glad we've started.
Being sore today brings on a whole new meaning...something I should be excited for and proud of and never take for granted!

Thank you for your words!
They are always encouraging!


Elizabeth said...


What a thoughtful reminder on a Monday morning...just do it while you still can. Read while you can see, say I live you while you can speak, walk and run while your legs still carry you. Middle age is slowly creeping upon many of us. And in the case of these three young people life changed in an instant.

I have read about the boy from Mn, and have thought and prayed for him since I read his story. I will now add your two family friends. Such tragic stories of young men out enjoying life.

Thank you for sharing and making me think, especially as I was complaining to myself about going out in the cold to take a walk.

I pray today for God to watch over these young men and their families for the power of prayer is mighty.

Have a wonderful day, enjoy your precious children, Elizabeth

Thank you for you always kind comments.

Jemsmom said...

I have tears in my eyes as I read this post. My stepbrother was a bull rider who was thrown one night. He crushed vertebrae in his spinal cord and never walked again. It was something that changed all of our lives forever. I remember complaining about doing something one day and it hit me that I CAN do it while others can't. I watched a show about a paraplegic after my brother's accident and I will never forget the boy saying that he would give anything in the world to go out and mow the yard again. That hit a chord with me and has stayed with me to this day. I try to remind myself daily of all that I can do and how blessed and lucky I am to do it. We lost my brother right before Christmas to cancer. He was only 39, but I know that he is in heaven walking and whole again.

As always, thank you for being such a wonderful writer and wonderful person!

michele said...

your post resonates. sometimes it's tough to get self-motivated to exercise and make healthy choices, and thinking about it as a gift changes everything. i had a blog for awhile called 'running for each other' because sometimes i dedicate a run to someone i'm praying for, and a simple activity suddenly becomes full of meaning. God uses these tragic turns like what you've described for His glory, and that is why we can hope and smile. i'm also reminded of how we truly ARE spiritual people, not physical ones so when the worst happens we can still find peace.



Julie said...

Thank you. These young men and so MANY more along with young women too. It reminded me of the Marine Sargeant in my prayers, who lost both his legs because of the IED he stepped on last year, and yet he STILL tackles life and takes on hard things - amazing spirit and "do or do not, there is no try" attitude he lives out loud...I weep. I will be grateful...again...because you have reminded see that life is fragile, and yet we have so MUCH to be thankful for. Love you Suzanne. enjoyed being here at the water cooler, even though it saddened my heart, but sometimes that's what it takes to challenge us to not take blessings for granted. {{{{hugs}}}} xoxo

Tiffini Kilgore said...

the things I can be thankful for today..yes..for walking
I am often overcome with thoughts such as you wrote here.
Humbled and grateful but honestly..not near enough..for the grace to be alive!
I am inspired..because we still can! Just do it
Loving you today..for stirring up this heart
may your heart be overflowing with JOY this Monday!
Thinking of your new venture too..

michelle said...

My heart goes out to those families as I know all too well how difficult life can be. My brother in law is a quadriplegic and has been for 16 years now. It is a long road and heart-wrenching to see, it does make us appreciate the little things that we can do and look at life a bit differently at times. Good things have come out of it and he is an amazing man as are a lot of the people in the same situations that we have met over the years. i pray for those that you mentioned and thank you for this beautiful post.

Sylvia said...

Suzzane ,
I am deeply grateful for this perfect words and powerful message.I am so blessed to know you ; you radiate compassion and honest, deep love . What a gift to us are our physical bodies and our spirits and how in the blink of an eye our lives can change forever ...I feel genuine sympathy for these young men and their families ...,but there is a hope in the face of pain : Nick Vojicic , an young Australian man was born without arms and legs and he has become someone who inspires and motivates people , touches lives and makes others believe that life has no limits.He can do everything on his one, can you imaging that ...
Thank you for making me think ...Enjoy your precious family and the idea of the shoes photos is genius ( Whose idea was that? )

Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

Wow! What a powerful post, Suzanne. Thank you for the great reminder.

Cass @ That Old House said...

We take so much for granted ... thanks for the reminder of how lucky those of us are who can do what we want -- and should.

years ago, Howard and I were in a movie theater in Pennsylvania and a man-- our age -- in a wheelchair said Hello to my husband. Howard didn't recognize him at first -- then realized it was a childhood friend from Massachusetts, who had made a mistake in a dive into a pool, and his life, too, was never the same.

Blink of an eye, that is all it takes.

Thank you, and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

Joanna said...

It's beyond sad that such alive physical young men should be so devastatingly injured, for whatever reason, and so appropriate for us to continue to be alive physical people too. My heart really does hang heavy for them and their families - all those hopes and dreams dashed, replaced with other, so very different, hopes and dreams.

You have such a gentle and beautiful way of bringing to the fore the things we'd probably really rather not think about.


Olive Cooper said...

Suzanne, life can change in a moment just as you have illustrated. I have a dear friend who is a paraplegic who is also a nurse. He works for the VA hospital and for a time worked with spinal cord injured patients. He was and is a great example to those injured veterans. He still works at the VA in a different job and also leads a cub scout troupe. He is my hero. Olive

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

Oh my friend, I am sorry for these three guys that you know, and I am feel so grateful tonight reading this post. A year and a half ago, my brother dived off a pier and broke his neck in shallow water, the exact same break that Christopher Reeve sustained, minus the spinal cord injury. Thank God today he still endures pain but is able to walk and work and father his 3 year old boy. How little we think of these things like walking and talking until we or someone we love no longer has the ability. I am grateful for every day of health my family has and thank you for the reminder of just how precious life is.

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Life just changes in an instant sometimes...we should never take it for granted. I saw an interview with Jack's mom and he's moved both arms...really a miracle...XO

koralee said...

Oh my how blessed we are!These boys stories are just another reason why we should wake up every morning with thanksgiving in our hearts....I too will pray for them and their can happen in an instant..can't it!?
Love to you dear one.

Hindsfeet said...

Beside me and my laptop here tonight sits my running schedule for the week.....with blank spots next to each day to check off as I complete my runs......

Thank you, Suzanne, for your *always* timely and empowering perspective.....

I needed this tonight.

Palomasea said...

Dear Suzanne,

We have been watching this unfold with great sadness, haven't we? But thankfully the boy still has his life, and that is a lot.
Typing here through tears..what a beautiful, touching message, with powerful visuals. I am sorry for the ones close to you, and my prayers go out every day for all who suffer. To be grateful, to be aware of the gifts we have been given..and not to take a thing for granted. Thank you for this reminder.
Blessings to you,
- Irina

Whosyergurl said...

Cold chills. A reminder not to complain- even if it is in my mind. To keep moving- because I can.
xo, Cheryl

Vintage Home said...

Thank you for this ...we are indeed grateful & blessed to be able to do what we those that are on a new tougher journey my heart is heavy for them ...and I will remember them in prayer.

Acanthus and Acorn said...

I hope this beautiful post and message stays with me all year long.

Cathy M~(checkitoff) said...

I have been praying for Jabs, too. The way you wrote this post is so powerful and thought provoking. I will pray for Mark and Aaron, too. Thank you Suzanne for the gift of reflection. hugs, cathy

hometown girl said...

how difficult it must be for these young men and their families. i will keep them all in my prayers. xo susan

pretty pink tulips said...

You always have the power to move me. Today is no different. 3 young men. 3 families. 3 sets of dreams. And, the realization that things do change "in an instant".

I will put Jack, Mark Aaron and on my prayer list and sweat a little harder, knowing I am so fortunate to do so.

On a light note - I smiled as I walked by a new running store in our town. It had a HUGE sign in the window that said Sweat is your fat crying. Here's to crying out some sweat this week!

Big hugs, sweet friend!
xoxo Elizabeth


I love the creative way your mind works, Suzanne. This post is so amazing and makes me so grateful for my feet.


Lili said...

Feeling so much gratitude today after reading this Suzanne, thank you for always highlighting what we often forget to remember. xoxo ~Lili

Lisa said...

Boy oh boy, you really nailed it! Such a powerful post. Sharing with my family when they wake. It's a bit
late....shhh but I'm so glad I stopped by to catch up with you!
xo Lisa

A Perfect Gray said...

thank you for that powerful reminder. you are such a kind and caring person and an inspiration to us all. donna

sharon said...

beautifully written post and perfectly illustrated with yoru family and their sports shoes ... you are so right to give us this timely reminder
best wishes

Tracy said...

Hi coming over from Enchanted Home, she featured this post today. It is just so moving and powerful. I am going to show this to my kids when they are home later. I love and enjoyed this. Thank for you such a wonderful message to carry me through my day.

Anonymous said...

My prayers go to these young people.just keep in mind that the future may bring some relief as enormous progresses are being made, never give up hope, just one day at a time, I am saying this because I do have major health problems, but hope is always present, giving up is never a given.Easy, No.....

All the best

Annie v.