Yesterday our good friend Steve Ruetschle. You may remember me blogging about him last year when he was involved in a motorcycle accident and became a quadriplegic. Steve’s recovery has been miraculous. I am amazed as I watch him walk, pick up a cup and do all the everyday trivial things that most of us take for granted. Steve is regarded as being in the top 1% on the recovery curve for a quadriplegic.
But for Steve and for wife Michelle life will probably never be easy. Listen to these poignant words from Michelle’s blog a few days ago
…as the spaces in our lives and hearts grow beyond mere survival, I find the specter of who Steve was visiting me at surprising moments, moving me to tears. I am trying to accept and even welcome this new wave of sadness, not because I want to dwell in self pity or wallow in what is lost, but because everything suggests that the best way forward must be through the grief and not around it.
Occasionally, I am given a precious insight into Steve’s suffering. For all of the progress, and given how little he complains, one might forget that any suffering is going on at all. Yesterday I was at the dentist to repair an old filling that was loose. It was far back and deep, so I received a good dose of anesthesia. Afterward, I met Steve and the boys at the park. As I leaned in for a hug, I pressed my numb and swollen cheek against Steve’s face. How strange the sensation. It was a muted sense of pressure, a memory of the feel of skin, a mere distant sense of life upon contact. Suddenly, I realized that this was a window into what it must be like, to not feel hot or cold, sharp or dull, but then not just in a cheek or lip but throughout one’s body. Even with these smallest of insights, it remains difficult to imagine. Read the entire post
Steve told us that every step he takes is a deliberate decision, a decision to move in spite of the pain in his back and the spasms in his legs. He said that at times it would be easier to sit back in the power chair and let others do the moving for him as was necessary just a few months ago. But he knows that would mean he never regains strength in his muscles or transmission in his nerves.
I was overwhelmed by this revelation. The leeks and garlic of Egypt never look so attractive as when the daily grind in the desert is painful, and for all of us there are times when it is incredibly painful. Sometimes we can miss the miracles of God’s activity and provision because we are grieving for what was rather than looking forward to what might be. Steve and Michelle are some of the most remarkable people I know. There faith in the midst of this situation is incredible. They grieve but they are also moving forward, reshaping their dreams based on the current reality and not on the once hoped for possibilities. May we learn from them and grow in our faith and ability to look forward rather than back as a result.