What makes you go back and reflect on the previous year?
Is it a certain date on the calendar?
Is it New Years Eve?
The end of the year?
The dawning of a new year?
A fresh start?
Is it when you move to a new town?
Start a new job?
Is it your birthday?
Is it the holidays?
Is is the empty place in your heart of loved ones who have gone on before us?
Is it a reminder on Facebook?
Does it come in flashbacks?
Does it come at the sight of certain buildings?
A specific time?
I think deeply and carefully about many different things that have happened, especially those of great significance or value. An important moment can be one loosely defined by either unpleasant memories or desirable moments. Some memories we approve of while others we view as inferior. Both hold their place in this journey called life that we are traveling on. Every experience holds some kind of value and creates memories that become seared into our brains.
Today is November 21, 2016
There are a few famous birthdays on the 21st.
It is World Television Day.
It is World Hello Day.
To you it may just be another day.
To me it is a day that changed my life.
This day causes me to reflect back on the past year.
It marks one year since my dad had a stroke.
A severe ischemic stroke that would leave roughly half of his brain damaged.
A stroke that would threaten to take my dad from this earth.
A stroke that doctors said would leave him severely paralyzed on the entire right side.
A stroke that doctors said would leave him without words for at least a year.
A stroke that would take his ability to walk.
A stroke that would take his ability to talk.
A stroke that would take his ability to read.
A stroke that would take his ability to write.
A stroke that would take his ability to swallow.
A stroke that would cause the pressure in his brain to rise to dangerous levels.
A stroke that would take part of his skull out.
A stroke that warned us of a blood clot in his arm.
A stroke that would bring on many therapy sessions.
A stroke that would take his independence away.
A stroke that would take his hope.
A stroke that would bring new people into our lives.
A stroke that would show us who was there for us when we needed them.
A stroke that brought out the kindness in others, be it texts, phone calls, thanksgiving dinner in the ICU waiting room, cookies at Christmas time to Brooks, snacks during surgeries, prayers, prayers and more prayers.
A stroke that would land us in a rehabilitation hospital for 21 days.
A stroke that changed how we celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2015.
A stroke that changed the way we viewed the world.
A stroke that left us all a little more fearful.
A stroke that left us all very grateful.
A stroke that left us sad.
A stroke that brought on many questions and tears.
A stroke that brought confusion and frustration.
A stroke that made us question God's plan.
A stroke that caused us all to research ways we could help.
A stroke that would bring another invisible challenge into our lives - Aphasia.
A stroke that didn't leave much hope for a happy ending.
A stroke that brought epilepsy and hospitalizations for seizures.
A stroke that didn't follow the typical recovery.
A stroke that provided hope and encouragement to strangers.
A stroke that brought us all closer together as a family.
A stroke that showed us kids what true love looks like.
A stroke that made us slow down.
A stroke that made us look around and find the good when we feared the worst.
A stroke that made us see things more clearly despite the cloudy days.
A stroke that made us listen with our hearts to what our ears could not hear.
It was never really about the stroke, but about the man who overcame the stroke. The man who defied all odds, the man who started saying words less than a month after the stroke that would render him without words for 'a year' (so doctors said), a man who walks when all doctors hoped was that he would learn how to transfer between a wheelchair and bed.....it is also about the family that stood behind him....that refuses to give up, that loves without limits and beyond the frustrations of life.
A man who has defied all odds because of a God who loves impossible odds.
God is bigger and more powerful than any problem we face in this world.
"God is in the business of strategically positioning us in the right place at the right time. But the right place often seems like the wrong place, and the right times often feels like the wrong time." Mark Batterson
My keyboard has become slick from the tears that have fallen on to it while typing this blog, and thinking about the moments behind the words above. Grab some tissue and watch the video below....it starts the night of November 21, 2015....and brings you up to today....