The man in the black sweatpants is my father-in-law. He was in a horrible motorcycle accident on July 2, 2008. I'll spare you the gory details, because that it definitely was, but long story short, he should not be alive today. It is purely by the grace and goodness of God that he is still with us now. After several months of very little hope for any sort of life outside of a hospital bed (or even awake for that matter), my father-in-law began making drastic improvements due to his determination, the wonderful people at TIRR in the Medical Center, and our omnipotent Great Physician. At TIRR, he was able to regain much of his speech capabilities (he was quick to regain his wit) and became more active. He learned to patrol the hallways in his wheelchair and, by the end of his stay, was able to eat soft foods. Now he resides at a new facility geared to reacclimating him to daily life for when he returns home. Of course he still has a long way to go before he is back to his old self (if a full recovery is even possible) but we trust in God's healing power and my father-in-law's determination that this mountain can be moved.
But now, back to the photo...
My father-in-law is getting stronger everyday. His therapy is geared to help him regain his physical and mental strenghth, including doing day-to-day activities that we would typically consider small things. His therapy reminds me of Wes & Jilly and how they learned to walk and talk. It is bittersweet that the same cycle now applies to their Papa: tutor, practice, encourage, practice, get up, practice somemore, and finally CHEER! He is able to walk and talk more and more each day. He gets so much support from his wife, family, and friends. We all got together recently for his birthday. Here we were all able to witness the success of his therapy. This photograph captures a special moment for our family. It was quite a long, hilly walk from the duck pond to his house, but with the help of his son-in-law and close friend, he made it up that hill. Normally the trip up that hill would've been a small thing, just a nice leisurely walk; but that day it carried all of the success and emotion the follows someone who has completed their first marathon. It became a BIG THING. And just as it was with our kiddos, it was hard to tell who was most excited at this triumph.
Right now I am not sure to what extent my father-in-law realizes just how much he has overcome. In his mind, there is nothing wrong and he emphatically tells his visitors, "Come on! Let's go eat" (as was his habit prior to the accident). But I am hopeful that one day he will be able to look back at this and marvel at the miracle of his survival and recovery. Each little step taken, sentence uttered, picture taken, Uno game played, or holiday celebrated takes on a new meaning. All the things that used to seem small have now become BIG THINGS.
I challenge you to enjoy the small things in life and see them as BIG blessings from a loving Father.
Now, here are a couple of the cutest BIG THINGS in my life:
Okay, so maybe she wasn't viewing this moment as a BIG THING!