February 27, 2024

Athletics had generally been the most crucial thing in my lifestyle. In truth, at age fifty-5, standing six-foot-6, I experienced just attempted out for the Michigan Senior Men’s Olympic Volleyball team, and there was a very good possibility I was likely to make it.

Then tragedy struck. In a motorbike accident, I shattered my left leg. Doctors approved amputation. Prior to operation, as I lay in the healthcare facility bed discussing with loved ones and mates what lifetime would be like without the need of a leg, a younger physician’s assistant named Sarah Scholl explained, “Andy, what variety of golfing balls do you enjoy?”

That was an idiotic question, but I informed her, “Titleist Pro V1.” The up coming morning, a 12-pack of Titleist Professional V1 golf balls was by my mattress. Sarah’s reward gave me a glimmer of hope.

When I awoke just after the operation, I was amazed to look down and see two legs and 10 toes. Luckily, the doctors had resolved that my leg experienced ample circulation to test to save it. But months of rehabilitation lay ahead. In a subsequent procedure, I practically died on the desk.

When it was time to transfer to a rehabilitation clinic, Sarah wheeled me to the ambulance. “I have a favor to question of you,” she claimed. “My father died some time ago. When I get married, I want you to stroll me down the aisle.”

“Sarah, it is doubtful I’ll at any time be strolling everywhere. In addition to, you do not even have a boyfriend.”

“Sometime I will,” she mentioned.

Hope and enjoy

At the rehabilitation hospital, where I experienced very a great deal reconciled to dwelling the rest of my everyday living in a wheelchair, I acquired a simply call from John Wilder, my volleyball coach. “Congratulations, Andy, you created the group! You happen to be participating in in the Senior Olympics.”

I told him about my incident and waited for him to say he’d miss owning me on the staff. But Wilder stunned me: “You get improved. I’ll enjoy you if you can just stand up.”

His phrases ignited a spark. I went at rehabilitation with a vengeance. Seven months later I was equipped to exhibit up for the Senior Olympics. While I could barely stand, John retained his phrase: he put me in the activity.

When it came my flip to serve, I seemed at my spouse, Kay, sitting down in the stands. She usually shunned my athletic gatherings. I could not blame her I had often place sporting activities in advance of her in my life. But right now Kay was not only current, she was beaming. As I gazed at her radiant smile, I misplaced it, right there on the court docket. Instantly I comprehended why God had allowed this incident. He cared that significantly about our marriage.

I collected myself enough to serve. We gained that sport and the future. As the competitiveness intensified, the coach had to choose me out, but our workforce went on to get the gold medal.

Lifestyle from demise

Again household, my overall health ongoing to boost. Then, quickly, my liver shut down. In a big surgical procedures, medical professionals bypassed it with a shunt. That saved my life, but unfiltered blood achieving my brain brought on my palms to shake so violently I had to sit on them. I applied for a liver transplant and waited.

A yr went by, then two. No simply call from the transplant medical center. How does one particular pray for a transplant? For me to reside, another person else experienced to die. What makes me superior than someone else’s spouse, or another person else’s father?

One day it transpired to me that this wasn’t the first time someone essential to die so I could dwell. Jesus experienced carried out that for me. If God liked me that considerably, I could rely on him with my long run.

In what appeared to be a divinely encouraged conversation, Kay and I figured out that Indiana had twice as numerous registered organ donors as Michigan. So we rented an apartment in Indianapolis and applied for a transplant. In two months we gained a connect with: a guy had died in an accident I was a person of ten transplant candidates who would reward.

As a result of the valley

The pace of my recuperation surprised the medical doctors. For the 1st time in five years I subscribed to a journal in my own name. But I pushed rehabilitation also difficult. Although executing sit-ups, I ripped the incision in my stomach muscles. Throughout unexpected emergency operation, physicians put mesh inside my stomach and sewed the muscles in position. A tube was inserted up by means of my nose and down into my belly to pump out fluids.

After surgical procedures, I had to sit in bed in a single posture with no relocating and devoid of food. Time passed so bit by bit that the 2nd hand on the clock seemed to stand nonetheless. A working day dragged by…two days…three times…how a lot longer would this agony previous? I had by no means felt so hopeless and miserable.

All around 4:00 a.m. of the fourth night-the longest evening of my daily life-I cried out to God: “Lord, take me! I can’t do this any extended.” Kay was by my aspect, in which she experienced faithfully been ever since my accident. She murmured, “Nor can I.” At that point Kay and I fully gave up. We have been at the complete bottom of the valley-the blackest gap we could envision.

Fifteen minutes later on, our surgeon unexpectedly entered the area and stated, “I woke up in the center of the night with the experience anything had altered.” He looked in excess of my vitals. “We can acquire the tube out.” By the end of that working day I was walking. A person thirty day period afterwards, I went back to operate total time.

Jumping and walking for joy

My still left leg had no nerves, so I figured my volleyball times were in excess of. But my work out therapist experienced an notion. She strapped my knees and ankles jointly so I could bounce rope. I worked up to two jumps…then six…then 20! I was so fired up I phoned an outdated volleyball teammate: “Hey, Tim, I can leap!”

“That’s terrific! We’ve got a volleyball match in Milwaukee in two weeks. Come and play?” That seemed far-fetched, but two weeks later on, at the last moment, I made a decision to go. When I showed up, my old teammates stood and cheered. It was an psychological scene.

The to start with five games had been tricky, but in the sixth video game I acquired a ideal set and a legitimate destroy. A couple minutes later on I blocked for activity place. That taught me an crucial lesson: Do not waste time wishing you could do the unattainable. Just do your very best and occasionally the extremely hard transpires.

After the match, I thanked my outdated coach, John Wilder, for inspiring me in the beginning. “You’re the a single who warrants the credit score,” John reported. “You by no means gave up.”

“Actually, John, I did give up, but God by no means gave up on me.”

In 2009, 7 a long time following my incident, I received an e-mail from Sarah Scholl: “I have a boyfriend-will you appear?”

What a joy it was walking-not wheelchairing, but going for walks-Sarah down the aisle.

Andy DeVries is a director of growth at Calvin Higher education in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

A complete journal of his journey is posted on caringbridge.org under the identify “andydevries.”

His web-site has had a lot more than 25,000 hits.

2011 Andy DeVries