Five years ago on this very day we celebrated Jared’s third birthday. Today we celebrate his eighth! Jared is the youngest of our five children. I wasn’t present five years ago because I spent two days and a night at Methodist Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. It was the day I had a seizure that would prove to be a lifetime game changer in the Evans family.
If you are interested in reading the very first blog entry (of 255) prior to any surgeries just click on the link below. If you just want to read a summary written 3-1/2 years ago of the events click on the middle link. If you would be interested in reading a summary from two years out click on the bottom link. Please note these are just blog entries that I wrote and have not been updated.
The thoughts running through my mind on this day are legion. Karla and I have an acquaintance we met two years ago after he was paralyzed from the neck down in a football game at our Alma mater, Luther College. We stopped in to see him once while he was in Rochester doing rehab in the same room where I had been just a couple of years prior to his injury, and then again at Homecoming in 2012. Chris Norton was an outstanding football player from Bondurant-Farrar, just northeast of Des Moines.
He has been absolutely inspiring in his tenacious will to gain back as much as possible by way of movement and has even started his own spinal cord injury foundation called Sci-Can where he raises money to buy expensive rehab equipment for hospitals that were so helpful in his ongoing recovery. He has blown out of the water the doctors’ assessments that there was a 3% chance that he would be able to move anything below his shoulders. Chris is still in school, but he also serves as a motivational speaker for FCA and other groups.
In a recent post he wrote “Three years ago today is when my life changed forever but changed for the best. This has made me a better person. If I could go back in time to change the play on October 16, 2010,I would not change it.” This sentiment demonstrates a remarkable level of maturity and faith. The way his life has changed and the way he has been able to help others outweigh, in his mind, the lifelong cost of his injury. Chris is 21 years old, just one month older than our oldest son, Luke. I am 49.
I don’t know that we can say that. I don’t doubt Chris’s sincerity for a minute. I’m just not there yet. It’s been too costly,
If I could go back and undo what happened five years ago today I would have to go back to the moment of my conception as this oddity in my brain was congenital meaning it has been there since birth. If I could go back and change it I would. I have not yet seen enough of the bigger picture…still not far enough out, that I can honestly speak those words “If I could go back in time…I would not change it.”
Perhaps there will come a time when I can speak those same words with sincerity. But not yet.
The past five years have been a wild ride that’s for sure. But as I sit here today at my home office I am taking stock of things as they are. Five years out these things are true:
1. God is still on His throne reigning over all things…even the smallest of things.
2. I no longer pastor the church for which I had devoted nearly 18 years of my life.
3. I am still alive!
4. I have come to terms with the fact that I have a left frontal lobe brain injury (an acquired brain injury [ABI] from the surgery) and that some things will never be the same again.
5. I have a loving family and a loyal wife.
6. I have a job-specific long-term private disability policy for which I have recently been approved which will pay me 60% of my previous salary indefinitely.
7. I am enjoying being around the home more, spending time with my family, and pursuing some other interests…writing, photography, landscaping, etc.
8. My call to ministry has not been revoked by God but it will be interesting to see the ways in which the platform might change.
9. I still love the Minnesota Vikings even though they are 1-5. Love never fails, right?
If you are interested in reading about my job situation please click on the link below.