Growing up I thought my dad was one the strongest and wisest people alive – next to my mom that is. After years working at Greenheck Fan Corporation, it was finally time for my dad to retire. After his last day at work, my dad came home and took a nap on the couch. He was suddenly awoken when felt extreme pain running through the left side of his body. Luckily my mother was home and heard the commotion coming from the living room. When my mom asked my dad what was wrong, he was only able to answer in a slurred speech. She soon dialed 911 who in return sent an ambulance to the house. My dad had suffered a stroke. The person who I saw as the strongest and wisest person in the world seemed all but a different person. It took weeks for my dad to gain enough motor skills to walk again and it took even longer for him to get back his ability to speak and think clearly.
My dad was never the same after his stroke and for months I often watched him gaze into the distance probably wondering why this happened to him and what he was going to do now. Then suddenly there was a change in him. I began to notice he started to take long walks and be more active around the house. At the time I was serving a couple of churches in the Green Bay area and my parents decided to visit me. Suddenly my dad asked where my lawnmower was and to my surprise, he took it out and started to cut my yard. I was perplexed since I didn’t ask him to do this but it seemed as though he wanted to do it.
When I visited my parents later that year I found my dad mowing again. Only this time it was my brother’s yard who they lived with. Then I came to a realization. My father was cutting the grass not only because he enjoys it, but it was his way of overcoming the trauma that the stroke had on his life. He was proving to the stroke and the world that the ordeal he had gone through had not taken everything away from him. That he could not only walk and speak again but he could also do a chore that he often did in the past – cut the grass.
There are many things that can happen that will change our lives forever. Some of these changes are good, but sometimes these changes are not. Just because negativity enters our lives and may even bring us to the brink of death and brokenness – that is not the end of the story. Even when things get tough or even when our lives are disrupted beyond recognition, that is not the time for a person stop living. It may be a time to reflect or change your plans accordingly but it is not a time to give up or let go of all hope.
Remember who we are can be a great source of strength at times. Even though our lives may change because of circumstances beyond our control, that doesn’t mean everything you’ve done in the past has no worth nor does it mean everything in the future has to be all scary and new. We can still gain strength from our experiences and we can still show others that we are still who we are even though things around us have changed. At the end, we are still sons and daughters of God, created to partake in the splendor of God on Earth and in Heaven. This is one thing that nothing can take away from us because this truth does not come from humanity but comes from the source of very being – God. May we remember this even as we search for a new normalcy in this ever changing world.