Monday, August 2, 2010

Finding Inspiration

It's all too easy to get caught up in the twists & turns of your life
and end up bemoaning all the things that don't go your way.
I'm terribly guilty of that.
But every day that I go to work and see the smiles on the faces of our kids,
in spite of the insurmountable obstacles they face every day,
I'm kicked back to reality.

Brandon is one of those.
You all should know him by now.
(Put "Brandon" in my search box & a bunch of stuff will come up.)
His mind is fine, but his body has not cooperated.
Yet, he still manages to maintain a cheerful attitude.
He is a kind, considerate, smart, and thoughtful young man.

That doesn't mean he doesn't have his moments.
Yeah, I'm lookin' at you, buddy.
(And you know your mom will back me up on this.)
So, when the angst of adolescence rears its teenage head,
he looks for inspiration too; some meaning to his life.
He found some, in spades.

Look at this good-looking young man...

One day a couple months ago, when a planned outing to church didn't work out,
Brandon ended up watching a video of Nick Vujicic, the founder of Life Without Limbs.
He hasn't stopped.
PLEASE click on that short video link.
One of his special friends at work, Diana, mentioned
wouldn't it be great if we could take him to see him in person?
We found out that Nick was going to be in Virginia on July 31
as one of his worldwide stops.

The stars are aligning.
Hmmmm, could we?
Hmmmm, would it be possible?
Let me see what I can do.

It takes a plethora of planning to get him out of the Home overnight,
and a lot of work once we get wherever we're going.
Doesn't matter.
St. Mary's (I have said this before, I know)
goes above & beyond to give joy to our kids' lives.
(The nursing assistants at St. Mary's provide the bulk of our kids' personal care.
It is very physical & tiring work. I salute them.)

Our issue of lodging was solved by Sista G.
She said we could stay overnight at her house, since she lives right there.
And she pulled out all her tricks to keep Brandon entertained while we were there.
Movies, balloon-bouncing dogs,

feeding the sheep & horse.

One of the almost-grown lambs, the one they saved from near-death & raised in the house,
came inside for a little visit and nibbled a pretzel off Brandon's shoulder.

The fun quotient worked so well he wants to go back.
Well . . . you know, we're planning to go to a Hokies game on Oct 9th,
which is also just down the road from her house. . . . .
nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
Thank you so much Sista!
You helped give Brandon an unforgettable gift.

You know how they say 'you never know what you can do until you try'?
Well, you never know what will be given to you unless you ask.
A simple request emailed through Nick's website
garnered a generous reply from Allison, one of his assistants.

There were at least a thousand people assembled for Nick's talk,
both in the main assembly room and in an overflow room,
where they watched him on video.

Thanks to Allison, out of all those people,
only one was granted a meeting with Nick afterward in his private room.

Only one.

Nick was wonderful - loving & kind.
He gave Brandon his time.
Talked to him. Prayed with him. Made him feel special.
He did not make us feel he was in a rush at all,
even though another service would be starting shortly.
It was something none of us will ever forget.
At the end, Nick asked that their chairs be maneuvered he could get close for a special hug.
A hug that lasted.

Nick, thank you from the bottom of our hearts and may God bless you all your days.
This was an experience Brandon will never forget.
(I know I never will.)
One that strengthened his spirit.
One that will fill his heart & occupy his dreams for a long time to come.


Rosie Hawthorne said...

This was beautiful. I have tears in my eyes. Thank you for all that you do.

Kathy said...

Aw Rosie - didn't mean to make you cry.

Anonymous said...

Seriously heart-warming Kathy. Thanks for sharing... Matt

nana said...


Suzanne said...

I had seen Nick's videos before. These are two remarkable young men. Well-written, Kathy. Thanks for sharing the story.

Mary Ellen said...

That was awesome!!! I used to work at St. Mary's on Unit 1...Brandon is a great kid!!! So glad to see what you were able to do for him!

Sista G said...

I enjoyed being able to make Brandon's visit here a little bit of fun, as well!! I was overcome by how much work you do in just a 24 hour period for his care - bravo!