My wife, Robin, is in her last semester at Azusa Pacific University. She anticipates completing her Masters of Science in Nursing Degree with a specialty as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Maternal Child Health and a Teaching Certificate in mid-December. Following this, Lord willing, she will be teaching in the Nursing program at Biola University on the 10th anniversary of her near death head-on collision in February. How did she get here?
To watch her emerge from the roadside wreckage of ten years past only to engage the long road of recovery she has since been on has been a stunning thing to watch. Nearly ten years ago, Robin was getting around the clock care in the ICU with traumatic brain injury and fifty bone fractures. Since then she has undergone thirteen surgeries, hundreds of hours of painful physical therapy, and other medical interventions and treatments. Even now, she sometimes battles with pain at levels I will never be able to understand.
I remember the time early in her recovery at home when she finally made up up the stairs to the second story of our former home so she could see her bedroom again. Standing at the top of the stairs, she stood there weeping at the sight. It had been seven months since she had last seen our room. I also recall her first days behind the wheel again. She was driving over an hour each way to Azusa Pacific so as to complete her intensive Bachelors Degree program at the time. Taking that challenge on was very big for her and it taxed her to the limit. But she did complete the program's demanding requirements and graduated in 2003. Before long, she was hinting about going back for her Masters so she could go into teaching. How could I say "no"?
In the meantime, she had returned to work on the Labor and Delivery floor as an RN -- this time at Mission Hospital where she had been a patient after the crash. Her days there are long - 12 1/2 hours plus -- and take alot out of her. A few weeks ago, Robin fell and broke her foot in two places so she is currently on disability. But, before that, there was a period during which she was working two 12's a week, in school two days a week, teaching at the hospital for Concordia University every week and trying to study, complete papers for school and prepare for her oral and written comps (she needs to re-take them this semester). And, of course, she continues to be a mom, Stampin' Up Demonstrator, and counselor/church leader's spouse! And, oh yeah, she also holds classes from time to time for Doctors and Nurses who need to renew their NRP certification.
Her Masters Program has been mostly good, but very tough. I'm so glad to see her nearly at the finish line. A few weeks ago, she got a call from Biola University asking her to please submit her application so they could consider her for a faculty position in the new year / new semester that begins in January. Looks like her life is about to change again!
About a month ago a film crew from The 700 Club TV program was at our house to capture some Robin's story. Like everyone else that really hears it, they left a little in awe of my wife. She gives the glory to God, as do I, for what He has done in raising her back up to life. Robin is not really a showy person and doesn't toot her own horn as much as she could, so I'm tooting it for her. It's pretty inspiring to live with someone who has come back roaring from the brink, seizing life with a determined grip and pushing for change at a considerable cost. Think it's hard to change your life? There's no doubt that it can be. Think it's possible? Or worthwhile? I don't know, but before you give up on the idea, ask Robin.
(By the way, our son Andrew, who was nearly 16 at the time of the accident, was in the front of the same car as his mom. We are so proud and grateful for the many things he has acheived since undergoing such a severe trauma as survivng that horrible crash ten years ago. And our daughter, JeanneAnn, was three at the time. She is now 13 and growing to be such a lovely young lady. Thanks be to God for His mercy to all of us in the Faris Family!)
One of the things that began my questioning of sermons (as the primary weekly tool of teaching and discipleship) began with a post I read on Jeremy Pryor's blog: http://jeremypryor.wordpress.com/2007/09/26/are-sermons-destroying-christianity/#comments
You'll notice, if you mosey on over there that Jeremy has removed his original post inasmuch as he didn't like the spirit of what he had written. I admire that. But there are plenty of interesting and worthwhile thoughts about sermons and sermonizing in the comments. I especially commend the extensive post by "Gavin" which gives much food for thought.