This is Ron with your Motivational Message:
I stood six foot two inches, young and muscle-bound, wiggling my toes in the warm sand. As I gazed out at the shimmering sunlight reflecting off the aqua blue ocean I could hear seagulls and the thundering roll of a breaker as it crashed against the shore. “Life is good,” I thought to myself, with a smile. Little did I know, in a matter of moments that my life would be forever changed.
It was March 17th, 1980, 34 years ago today. My brother, Mike, and I were enjoying our Spring Break in southern California. It was there that we were to celebrate his 13th birthday on March 16th and my 18th birthday on March 18th. I remember the feeling I had when my brother and I stepped out of my car. The beach scene was breathtaking; it was the perfect day to conquer one of our goals: the surf.
We laid out our towels in a prime location on the beach. I turned to Mike and our eyes made contact. I felt the urge for the first time to tell my brother that I loved him, but I was too “cool” to go through with it. I decided to go for a swim. “I’ll be here working on my tan,” Mike said as he lied back down on his towel. I headed towards the surf as I watched the waves roll in. Suddenly, a big, powerful breaker beckoned me. I began to sprint towards the oncoming wave and dove. Like two male goats slamming their heads together, I crashed headlong into the current.
The force was immense, violently sending my body downward, my head hitting the sand bar. I heard a loud crack and I lost all sensation from my neck down. The impact had broken my neck and I was left instantly paralyzed, floating motionless in the unforgiving ocean. I tried so hard to move, but I couldn’t swim. I was going to drown. No one had seen me go in and no one knew where to look for me. “Oh, God!” screamed my soul, “I don’t want to die!”
My brother, Mike, sat up from his towel. Somehow, he knew in his heart that something was wrong. Without delay he rose to his feet and ran into the churning surf. Miraculously, he found my limp body. With all the strength that he could possibly muster, he pulled me to the surface. My prayers had been answered.
As my head popped out of the water, my lungs pulled in air. Exhausted from several minutes of desperate struggle, Mike made it to shore, holding my head in his arms. He cried, “What’s the matter, Ron? Why can’t you move?” I told him that I may have broken my neck and there was something that I needed to say. “I…love..you…Mike,” I then asked him to give Mom a hug as I faded into unconsciousness.
My brother endured the painful uncertainty as he waited anxiously for the ambulance to arrive. The paramedics loaded me into the ambulance and in the confusion they didn’t realize that Mike was my brother and drove off, leaving him behind. Mike recalls much of that day standing on the unfamiliar beach, in an unfamiliar town, not knowing where to go and not being able to drive.
As he stood alone, a kind woman slowly approached him. She called him by name and told him that everything was going to be okay. He wondered how she had known of so many things, having never met her. The woman invited him to her beach house so he could use her phone. She watched over him until friends of our family found him.
Being a parent with children of my own, I can only imagine what it must have been like for my mother to receive the call 34 years ago. The hospital worker on the other end, told her that her son was in a terrible accident and needed life support. She needed to fly in to California immediately to sign paperwork. The news drove my poor mother her to her knees. My father tried to comfort her uncontrolled sobbing as he, too, felt as though his heart had fallen out of his chest.
When my parents walked into the ICU, I was scared and I asked my mom for a hug. Dad placed his hand on my head and earnestly prayed. It was then that we felt a sense of peace in the midst of our despair. It was March 18th, my 18th birthday.
I celebrate the memory of this day, as tragic as it was, for it reminds me that in the midst of human tragedy God’s love can find a way. Even if it’s through the arms of a little brother, in the words of an angel, the hug of a mother, or the warm hand of a father, I believe it is our faith in the Lord that sustains us. When I was under the water, I remember thinking three things: I didn’t tell my brother that I loved him, I didn’t hug my mother goodbye, and I didn’t do what God created me to do which was to help others.
Thank God for second chances. For the last 34 years, I’ve made sure to tell people that I love them, I won’t pass up a hug, and I have worked diligently to help others. I have missed the mark more than once and the obstacles still come my way, but I am truly grateful for another day. May you be reminded through your own experience of the true purpose for the gift of your special life.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for helping me on my journey with your prayers and financial support. You truly make a difference in my life. Let’s keep changing the world.
Recently I’ve realized the impact of my speaking in public schools. It is more necessary than ever, and the exciting thing is, kids listen to me as I inspire them to believe in themselves. If you’re able to help me on this journey financially, please visit us by clicking below.
To your inspiration,
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