Skip to content

Blessed with perspective

February 28, 2013

It was just another Saturday morning ride.  Had decided to take a week off from coaching and prepared to go for a thirty to forty mile cruise.  As I headed out the door, Tucker, my oldest son insisted that I not go by myself, but that I ask my friend, the triathlete Caleb, to accompany me.  He was available and within thirty minutes we were making the four mile climb out of the valley we live in towards the metropolis of Nyamata.  I remember it being beautiful weather and traffic was rather light as we cruised along conversing about our wives, kids, and work.  As we descended into Nyamata I got a little ahead of Caleb, averaging thirty plus miles per hour, and noticed a motorcycle taxi approaching in the opposite lane.  He wanted to turn into the gas station, its just that his timing wasn’t real good and I happened to ride right into his path.  I saw it coming just before impact and found myself yelling at him in Kinyarwanda (no translation available).  I heard and felt my left femur break and then I was laying down in the parking lot of a gas station. There aren’t reliable ambulances in Rwanda, beyond your wife and friends.  I knew I had broken my femur, I just didn’t know how badly.  My leg was swelling like a balloon with the internal bleeding, so I did my best to elevate it and keep it still against the other leg.  Spectators grew to a couple of hundred people and the police who were just 100 yards further down the road hustled to me to catch the motorcycle driver before he got away.  There was a lot of chaos around me and then there was my friend Caleb, putting his hand on my shoulder and asking me what we should do and if I was alright.  Peace.  First he prayed over me – healing and peace; then we started making phone calls to find a vehicle to pick me up.  The police hovered, the spectators grew in number and the Holy Spirit and Caleb comforted me.  First thoughts centered around the hope to walk again someday.  Other thoughts were of schedules to keep and fear of the interruptions in my plans the injury would cause.  I laid in the parking lot, thankful for the cushion that my helmet provided, post accident, and I conversed with God about sin and grace and lots of mercy.  It was a still moment that seemed to last for hours.  Periodically, the police would interrupt with hopes that I would take the next car into town as they were getting really embarrassed by me laying on the side of the road waiting on our car.  For the most part, though, I didn’t feel a lot of pain, as long as I was still, I just laid there quietly, breathing deeply and asking God’s mercy.  Two vehicles arrived about forty-five minutes after the accident and eight people picked me up and tried to gently put me in the back of the car (they weren’t hugely successful).  We had called the Taekwondo President, a resident surgeon, to help prepare the hospital for our arrival as well as an American doctor to meet us there.  Urgent care in most of Africa is not much of a reality, but I was impressed that after the thirty minute ride to the hospital people were actually standing in the driveway waiting to attend to us.  My friend the surgeon was on his way to the hospital from the Southern Province and somehow made it in just a couple of hours after the accident.  His arrival brought a lot of comfort and peace.  He is like one of my sons or nephews as he has no family other than a couple of younger siblings that he protected in his parents’ attic for three months after the rest of the family were all slaughtered in his front yard during the genocide.  Morphine is a good thing.  Especially when it is administered with good timing.  Too bad they didn’t have that when they set my leg.  I screamed like a girl.  The Rwandans just smiled and said, “Sorry.”  X-rays showed the break was just above the knee and that there was a shard that had broken off laterally about six inches long.  At this point we were praying for wisdom as to whether or not I would have to leave Rwanda, which I didn’t want to do.  I was looking at a critical time in my work of training the Rwandan Taekwondo Team and we had four major tournaments about to occur in just three months.  Two of those tournaments, the Gorilla Open and the East African Championships, I would be hosting and directing and I had no clue as to whether or not we would have to cancel the whole schedule.  Doctors discussed options and we looked at the capacity of the hospital and we decided to go for it, in Rwanda.  Dr. David had found one eleven inch long titanium bar in the stockroom with four screws.  They were going to surgically implant the bar inside my femur and secure it above and below with the screws and it would allow an active guy like me to recover more quickly, possibly walking in just four months.  The surgery went well and then it was time to start recovery.  I walked out on crutches to our car five days after the accident and three after the surgery.  By Saturday, one week after the accident, I was back coaching my team again.  Two weeks later we hosted and I directed the first ever tournament in East Africa to use the electronic scoring system and the first annual Gorilla Open Taekwondo Championships.  And now, just over two months later I am walking with just a cane, have started doing Taekwondo again little by little, haven’t missed one day of coaching and we just hosted the East African Championships which the men’s team won and Rwandans took away six gold medals and two silvers from.  Next week by God’s grace I take four players to the German and Dutch Opens in Europe.  All in all what can I say?  God is good and loving.  He spared me and my family from tragedy.  He gave me peace in the whole process.  He is the Healer.  I cannot believe the progress from a double femur break.  He does not put us to shame as it says in Romans 5:5.  Lastly, I would like to say that so much good has come out of this.  I had to be still for the first time in my life.  I had to learn how to walk again, which hasn’t been a bowl of cherries.  I had to be dependent on others for help.  He pulled me off the mat and made me watch my players, which made them a lot better as I could now recognize things they needed to change.  Truly, I am blessed to be alive and then blessed so much beyond that to have a purposeful life for Him and such an incredible family to share it with.  Amazing how a new perspective can come so quickly.  

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Carolyn Martin permalink
    February 28, 2013 5:07 pm

    All I can say is Yes and AMEN to everything you have said. You most definitely get a new perspective on life when you have to go through hardships. But, God is good, He is good all the time and always carries us through. Ps. 23:4 – Through, we do not stay there forever.

  2. Sanna Teer permalink
    February 28, 2013 5:59 pm

    Praising God with you. Continuing to pray for healing and for your family.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: