From Michelle.  28 July, 2010  11 p.m.

Dear friends and family,

Five days have passed since I wrote, a seemingly inexorable flow of events.  Steve and I are riding the wave of it, as are our children, in their own way.  Today was, inexplicably, a more difficult day, and after spending a half an hour learning and not succeeding in putting on a pair of pants, in a rare moment of privacy, Steve wept for a moment on my shoulder.  He stopped himself quickly and when I encouraged him to continue, he said, “but someone will inevitably come in.”  And someone did, a minute or two later.  That is the flow, the unceasing rhythm of the hospital.

I think we both are most often grateful for the lack of solitude, the flow of now-familiar nurses, therapists, doctors and attendants, and the constant details requiring our attention.  The daily tasks and interactions provide a warmth to the cold realities, and the details clothe our more intimate feelings.  And time passes.  Five days!

The stolen tearful moments are as precious as the breakthrough victories because they allow the fullness of the present to be felt, with a sorrow both bitter and sweet.  In four days,  however, the tearful moments have been few and the victories, in Steve’s personal Olympic marathon, have been many.  A muscle here and a muscle there, beginning to “fire,” as they say.  There have been many moments of wonder in these tiny promises of movement, often almost imperceptible hints, other times “Olympian”.  In fact, the trajectory has been so very much in a positive direction that the occasional setback, whether physical or emotional, takes us by surprise.

But even this bad day had its sweet moments.  This afternoon, Aidan and Jude were dropped at the hospital by friends, and for the first time, perhaps since the accident, just the four of us went down to the cafeteria for a bite to eat.  Another friend had sent us some delightfully silly masks so Steve playfully challenged the boys to wear them down to the cafeteria.  He affected a British accent to accentuate the funny glasses and whiskers and soon the “professors” Monster, Monkey, Cockroach and Cockadoo were having an animated and very silly conversation in very poorly executed British accents!  I cannot lie: we triggered many a smile at the cafeteria today!  This is most often Steve’s posture toward his situation: one of humility and good humor that makes all those around him smile!  He smiled a lot today, this bad day, and so did we.

The writer Ann Lamott wrote: “I do not understand the mystery of grace — only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”  As I think of the wave we are riding, I think this sense that we are being carried into a territory that will leave us profoundly and mysteriously and  – by grace alone – gloriously changed is the odd and unexpected sweetness that softens the bitterness of this sorrow.  When I say glorious I mean it in the strictest sense of the word glory, i.e. praise, worship, and thanksgiving offered to God.  There is a grace that is there for the finding in every moment of our every day.  And often, we find it.  It is mysterious.  It does not explain or change or erase what is painful.  But it changes us, when we allow it, with a strange sweetness.  My prayer is that we will continue to let it carry us to the places that we cannot yet imagine.

Please pray with us for that kind of glory.


» Click here to enter your well-wishes for Steve in the Guestbook This entry was posted in General Updates, Photos. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Becky

    Michelle, thank you for your intimate words that allow tears to flow…in glory and sorrow and gratitude and victory for new muscles and laughter in the cafeteria. Praying and remembering the 5 of you. Love, Becky

  • Christinesine

    Michelle, Beautiful and heart rending. You are in our prayers constantly.

  • Amanda Vermeulen

    I can hardly imagine the sorrow and sense of loss you must be feeling at the realization that your old life is irrevocably gone, but the love, courage and an unshakable trust that God will bring you through this to a new place that He has chosen for you and the peace you have about all of this, leaves me in awe. No human is capable of the strength that shines from all of you. There is absolutely no denying the presence of an almighty God in the middle of all of this.

    I am certain that He weeps with you for your loss, but I am even more certain that He smiles at your unyielding faith.

    Praying for all of you to continue to be brave and to be able to focus on one hurdle at a time.

    God bless,


  • Justinasumathi

    Dear Michelle,your words are so inspiring to me.It helps me find the strength i need for the day.Convey our love to Pastor Steve.I am overwhelmed by the beauty and strength of his spirit.I see Jesus in him.Love Joe and Justy

  • Andy & Isabelle MagnusonIamam5

    Keep Looking up! Those glasses are cool.

  • Sarah Campbell, UPC

    This picture made my day! My family continues to hold you up in prayer. – Sarah

  • Fred Davis

    Annie LaMott is a favorite read for me – not because she leaves things neatly tied up in comfortable packages but she recognizes the messiness and difficulty of life yet still sees grace in it all. I privately wept with you as I read about the discouraging first effort at dressing – such tasks, once taken for granted, now so difficult, can bring a profound awareness of loss. I identify so clearly with that scene and want you both – and Steve in particular – to have the freedom to cry and to take care of yourselves emotionally. I hope you can just shut the door and say no visitors when you need to.
    Every nerve that fires and every muscle that is inervated is such a huge cause for rejoicing. God is doing a mighty work.

    I loved the pics of the boys. What a treasured moment that must have been. Once again, prayers are being lifted before God's throne on your behalf regularly. Thanks for sharing your lives so openly with God's people so we can stand with you in these moments.

    We love you.
    Fred and Judy

  • Kathleen Barry

    Thank you Michelle! It is a difficult thing, to recognize a grace that does not erase or change what is painful, but it is a grace that requires our participation, to as you say “change us, when we allow it.” I am so grateful that you have taken the time to share so beautifully and eloquently about how God is working in your lives, in real, often tear-invoking but always glorious ways.

  • Elizabeth McLaughlin

    Hi Michele,
    Our prayers and thoughts are with you constantly. What an amazing journey for all of you. I love the photos and videos you post. Watching you and Steve is inspiring. What a great love. God bless you all and keep you safe. Elizabeth


    A beautiful prayer Michelle, gentle and true. A hug to you my friend filled with gentle strength, I love you !!! Jasmein XXXX Please pass a hug on to Steve !!!!!!

  • Deborahannegustafson

    Will pray for those intimate moments. Which are both important and difficult.

    Steve's capability to be humorous in Very difficult situations. I so honor him for his strength.

    What a gift to have a family meal.

  • gemma Griffioen-Bakker

    lieve Steve en Michelle,
    het is zo bijzonder dat in moeilijke tijden je pas ècht leert te leven en te genieten van hele kleine goede dingen.
    Hoe mooi is jullie leven nu, hoeveel meer houd je nu van elkaar en houden jullie nu van de kinderen.
    Geniet op de goede momenten en huil om de goede en moeilijke momenten!
    Heel veel lieve groeten van Gemma van Henk Griffioen uit Nederland.

  • Naomi Diaz

    Dearest Michelle,
    We are profoundly thankful for your selfless stance in all this. You made me cry again today for many reasons. Joy & hope and the feelings of a parent. We will pray for you continually as we both beg & praise God for His tender mercies towards Pastor Steve, yourself & the children. Praise God for all the blessings, big & small.

  • Olive Hafenstein

    Talk of praise, worship and thanksgiving to God on a particularly bad day sums up the mystery of grace. Thank you Michelle for making it real to me. Power on in the grace of God!

  • Faye Vossler

    Steve and Michelle,
    I'm the boating PT, that met your friends John and Carol Dentonni in B.C. Yesterday we traveled north a 70 mile stretch in the north Pacific around Cape Caution. We rose up & up a couple of swells, and down into the trough on the other side only to repeat the same over and over and over. Today when I read Michelle's note, I was reminded how much traveling over the swells is like physical recovery for a Patient. If you graph the progress, it never is a straight line going up, it is a couple of rises, then a dip. In years of providing Physical Therapy I have never seen it work any other way. It is so hard to weather the dips, but there is always a rise after that. Keep focusing on the next swell to lift you up. OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!!!!! We pray for GOD's healing hands to continue to sustain you through the dips, and make the rises even higher!
    Faye Vossler

  • Cbsample

    What a lovely, true, helpful reflection on the ongoing challenge and God's presence in it. What a help to all of us with our own other challenges. Thank you so very much. Great Grace Continuing. Praying. Chris in Maine.

  • Shehuy93

    Beautiful, Michelle…beautiful, glorifying, powerful…His grace. Your trust.

  • Claire Skeggs

    <<<<There is a grace that is there for the finding in every moment of our every day. And often, we find it. It is mysterious. It does not explain or change or erase what is painful. But it changes us, when we allow it, with a strange sweetness. My prayer is that we will continue to let it carry us to the places that we cannot yet imagine.>>>> (I just quoted you, Michelle.)

    I think I will think about it… those words. That wisp of wisdom today from you.

    Thanks for that. As we continue to pray for Pastor Steve and you and the three boys , you continue to be a blessing to us through the grace that you find and share everyday.

    Andrew & Claire Skeggs