I’ve summarized in a previous blog how it was when I returned home after Shepherd Center in 2007. Well, I want to go into more detail and open up about what was going through my mind at the time. First and foremost, you need to know that I’m not an emotional guy. I don’t share my feelings and it takes a lot to impact me if that makes sense. I’ve become a much harder rock since the accident too and it’s something I struggle with. Sometimes I just feel numb to my environment.
When I left Shepherd Center to come back to Statesboro I really didn’t know how life was going to be from that point on. My life wasn’t normal anymore. I moved into a new house that was wheelchair accessible and started adjusting to being “home” again. There wasn’t much I could do to help as far as unpacking and setting up furniture. I felt helpless and useless. It was bad enough that I couldn’t help a lot with my son and daughter who were still just toddlers. My mind started getting the better of me and I just thought about the future. What good will I be to my kids as they get older? I’ll never be able to play with them like I want to. Never be able to play sports with them or even many other physical outdoor activities. What can I even do as a husband? This is how my mind worked day in and day out. I was struggling really bad and talking about it to my wife (ex-wife now) or anyone else did no good. They just didn’t understand and I already went down the road as far as talking to psychologists. It seemed like I was just another person filling in that time slot for an hour and then it’s on to the next person. At this point, I didn’t know what to do. I already had a bad relationship with God because I felt that what happened to me was basically unfair and that I didn’t deserve it. I searched after Him for answers and I prayed to Him for guidance and healing but I just never felt like He heard me because I felt nothing. I was convinced that God abandoned me because of something I did in my past.
I spent the majority of each day separating myself from everybody . I didn’t have any way of going anywhere unless I called a transport company and then it was a matter of waiting around to get picked up. Whenever we went somewhere I felt like a piece of cargo being dropped off as everyone watched me unload from the van by a wheelchair lift almost like I was some kind of alien. It didn’t matter where I rolled because I was always stared at by people around me. I really didn’t like that and it made me insecure about myself. Certain muscles in my arms and back started to atrophy and I could really tell a difference which is the main reason I got all tatted up (Hannah is the only person that knows that so you ought to feel pretty special). I figured if people were going to stare they were going to stare because of my tattoos. It got to the point where I didn’t leave my house anymore unless it was absolutely necessary to where I had to go to a doctor or something. It took about a year before I started going out again and by that time I was fortunate to have my own van.
I had good days and bad days just like anybody else but I was having a constant battle in my mind. I was very angry and I always concentrated taking my anger out on my kids and wife (same ex-wife). It seems like it was almost natural because they were the only ones around me most of the time. Isn’t that what we do? We have a bad day or get upset about something that might not have even happened at home but a lot of the times we tend to bring that stuff back home with us. We can easily direct any kind of frustration or negative emotions out on our loved ones. The Bible says be slow to anger and slow to speak (James 1:19-20) which is a lot easier said than done sometimes. But just as anything else in the Bible, it is the truth and best advice you can get. We have to be slow to anger because we are humans. We are emotional and when we get angry we can do stupid things. Stupid isn’t even the best word to describe what we do sometimes but in a nutshell we do stupid things. We say things we regret and we can do some devastating damage with our mouth. Anger can be one of the most intense, destructive, and unhealthy emotions that we can experience. Let’s not forget to mention the kind of acts we can do because of anger. While I was going through my struggles I started hanging around people that were not good influences. My marriage was hurting to say the least and I wasn’t getting any attention at home so I started to go out which led to drinking and eventually also started smoking weed with people that I thought were my friends. I didn’t have any real friends because real friends wouldn’t do that stuff with you. If your friends are negative and don’t encourage and lift you up in any way then they aren’t true friends. I use to think I had a lot of friends but the true reality was that I hardly had any. Eventually all of my struggling took a toll on my marriage. I’m not going to go into detail about what my ex wife did but our divorce was from a mixture of things on both our parts. You can tell when someone falls out of love with you and it can be heartbreaking. Not everyone can handle a life changing situation like my injury. But my divorce was probably the best thing that could ever happen to me. I started becoming very independent and doing a lot more things. I wasn’t focusing on my injury anymore and what I couldn’t do. I was moving forward…
The best thing I did after the divorce was recommit my life to God. I had a choice to make. Whether to believe that God has forsaken me or that he has been by me the whole time. I needed to know the truth and I found the truth in His Word. The Bible says that the truth will set you free (John 8:32). I was believing too many lies from the enemy. Those whispers throughout each day started bringing me down and I was believing them. As Christians we are in battle everyday. We have to know the truth. We have to recognize the lies of the deceiver. He wants nothing more than to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). Don’t give in to all those whispers and know who you are in Christ. Jesus brings purpose to life and changes life for the better. He gives direction and makes a difference. I thank God for where he’s brought me from and for the guidance he gives me everyday. Without Him, His word, His house, and many other other things I would still be the person I use to hate. A part of me died on October 19th, 2006 and its been a journey ever since then but I am at peace because I have everlasting life. If I don’t walk again here I know I’ll be running in heaven. Life is just better… with Jesus!
Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All whoever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”