Ten years ago today, my brother Robbie was in a terrible farm accident. He was 15 years old. And every year on June 9th, I call him or blog about the miracle that he survived. My mom also talks about Robbie today on GriggsDakota. It is an anniversary that we will always gratefully celebrate as a family.
This year I have thought about Robbie’s accident more than ever before because of a friend who I see almost every day as we drop our daughters off at daycare together. From her life experience, I am reminded of Robbie’s accident.
This friend’s oldest son did not survive a farm accident. The accident was not as physically severe as Robbie’s yet God took my friend’s son to heaven. Her son would have been Hunter’s classmate in our prairie school but he died just before starting kindergarten. It was years before we moved to the prairie and we never knew him and only know the local stories of the tragedy.
My friend and I had the chance to visit for a short time this spring away from our small town chatter and young kids as we both needed to be in our 100 mile away big town for errands and appointments. We sat in mall at Subway and quietly visited. I told her how much I admire her happiness and peace she displays every day and that I knew when I first met her she had tremendous faith to keep going in life after the loss of her son. She went on to share that despite never understanding why God chooses one and not another, when one survives and another does not or when a short time after she lost her son, her best friend’s elementary-aged son was also killed in a farm accident, she knows it all is a part God’s plan.
The loss, the pain and complete emptiness from the tragic death of her son drew her closer to God in ways that would have never happened had she not experienced such a heavy burden and loss of her child. She sought out ways to grow spiritually and today has a tremendous testimony and faith that she shares through leading Beth Moore Bible studies in her little community to her work as a teacher. The loss dramatically changed her life and how she lives her life as a mother, wife and teacher. Her son is gone from this earth forever but she has great peace about where he is and that she will be reunited with him someday when her earthly life is complete.
Sometimes God shakes us to the core with a wake up call or series of events that forces us to completely change our direction. It is not always easy. It is often painful. But it gives us an opportunity to grow closer to God.
Ten years ago I waited in little sitting room in the emergency room for the inbound ambulance that Robbie was being transported on from our farm. On the board, under the column “Inbound” the words “Aneta, Crush Victim” were written outside the little room. I could see only those words through the door’s window. I prayed like I never have before not knowing what to expect when my brother arrived. Hundreds of you prayed. Robbie survived.
Today, Robbie is a living testimony of faith.
He openly shares about what God did in his life, the series of miracles that occurred to save him and how he worked through therapy to go on to do all the things doctors told him he would never be able to do as a result of the accident. The positive impact from living out and sharing his faith in young people’s lives now as a elementary school teacher and high school basketball coach is immeasurable. The impact he had on me is immeasurable.
Hundreds prayed for my friend’s son to survive. He did not. But his memory lives through his mother’s deep faith and is a living testimony. Her peace, happiness and deep faith impacted me this year and reminded me almost daily that my life is pretty easy compared to the struggles many around me have experienced. The impression my friend has made on me and many others in our small prairie community through living out her faith is immeasurable just like Robbie’s.
Both Robbie and my friend have taught me that faith is not always easy. It is a journey, a long road, full of twists and turns. Sometimes you get struck down with an event that seems like a lightning bolt and it is your faith that can pull you back up again to keep going on the road of life. Even if you are on shaky ground with trembling knees, God can help you to keep going.
Tonight at the first pee wee baseball games of the summer, I will sit by my friend, watching my son and her younger son both pitch in the double-header. And I will be grateful for the friends and family members that I am surrounded by who grow my faith and remind me of all that I have to be thankful for each day.