By blessings brightly lit, keep going toward that blessed light that yet to us is dark…

From Michelle.  17 September, 2010.  2 p.m.

Dear friends and family,

I am writing from the now familiar corridors of the Harborview Medical Center, where Steve spent eight long weeks in rehabilitation.  While Steve engages in a host of appointments, I get to enjoy the putrid green and yellow shadows of the hospital basement cafeteria and reminisce about our continuing adventures this past week.

A highlight was a trip to the pool, just Steve and I.  As most of you know, Steve had been to a pool once before where he stood for the first time unassisted in the water.  I was absent from that momentous occasion, however, and eager to try this method, where my size and strength mattered little in assisting my love.  After a few discouraging days, it proved to be a sweet and encouraging time for us both.

Going to the pool is no small matter.  There is getting changed, with heavy limbs, pressure stockings, belly bands and other tricky paraphernalia to navigate in the chair, there is the temperature of the pool as Steve has little ability to regulate his body temperature, and there is the not so small matter of getting Steve from his wheelchair into the special contraption that lowers him into the pool.  On Steve’s previous visit Steve had two experienced therapists and a strong male friend to assist him in the process.  This time we were on our own and feeling both tentative and excited about the process.

Needless to say, we managed to navigate all of it, and with a few adjustments and floating devices, we had him standing in the pool!  We did a few warm up exercises, kicking and bending the legs, and then we were off…  walking.  Steve held on to my shoulders and looked me straight in the eye and lifted a leg.  While this took an extraordinary amount of effort, every muscle necessary for the movement of walking seemed to be present.  Then Steve lifted his other leg.  And again.  And again.  While at times his balance wavered, or his left leg tried to cross his right, essentially, Steve got to feel his body walking again.  And again.  And again.  I kept expecting him to be finished, but he wanted to do more, and more.  We inched our way to and fro, his face grimacing with the effort, but an occasional elated smile breaking through.  Back and forth we went in the small distance of the pool at which he was sufficiently supported by the water but where I was still able to stand (mostly on tip toes!).  A great number of elderly folks swam by, and kids splashed away in the opposite corner, but we were so engrossed in our little miracle moment that we hardly noticed.  The great effort it cost only made the achievement of that moment sweeter.  We cannot know how strong those muscles will become, and whether or not they will be able to function that well against gravity, but here in the pool, for that moment, Steve could walk!

Moments like these are the footholds across the chasm I spoke of last, the love and hope that rises forth from unexpected places to buoy us onward in the dark.  A friend sent a poem that described it aptly:

We travelers, walking towards the sun, can’t see
Ahead, but looking back the very light
That blinded us shows us the way we came,
Along which blessings now appear, risen
As if from sightlessness to sight, and we,
By blessings brightly lit, keep going toward
That blessed light that yet to us is dark.
-Wendell Berry

As we look forward the darkness still blinds us.  Not only Steve’s fingers and legs, but every future prospect remains hidden from view.  Our team of caregivers and our call for this year remain only dimly lit.  I have been praying for a sense of purpose for this time that has been set apart, beyond what is obvious: Steve’s healing.  Knowing God, I expect that far more is happening both within us and beyond us than what we can see in the plain, brutal reality of Steve’s injury.  It is this journey and these events that I am more interested in.  My hope is that with all physical certainty wiped away, our spiritual vision might gain in clarity.  Our vulnerability is in that sense truly His strength.  We continue to walk in blindness toward the light!

With love and deepest gratitude always,


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  • Kayleen Hilyer

    Michelle – am so encouraged by your posts! What is your new address so that we may be able to continue to send cards?

    Sandy Lake, PA

  • Amelita

    Michelle, save all these writings of yours. They are all so inspirational. So many people will be encouraged in their own “darkness” to keep going until they too can see the light.
    All our prayers always,

  • Kikomnl

    oh praise god again and again and again. we are so proud of you pastor steve!! keep on walking :) michelle thank you for your beautiful words that inspire, for sharing. we love you both and continue to hope and pray and believe.

  • Jayoder

    Stay with it Michelle & Keep up with the events like this.
    In no time, you will be on your own in the Pool… And, around the House.??
    God Bless Your every Effort.!!

  • Bstalter

    We all live with uncertainty and do not know what tomorrow brings beyond the sun coming up and going down. Cherish the rise of the sun and Son.. daily. Many are watching God meet your needs.

  • Susan Sanders

    Thanks so much for the beautiful Wendell Berry poem, and for being you!

  • Tiffany Megargee

    Miche and Steve– I was at the Y the next morning and as I stared down at the pool, I thought of you both there and prayed that it had gone well… I am so thrilled to hear the details. I also looked at the Nustep machines there and wondered about Steve getting into one… I will look forward to talking more about those possibilities when I see you soon. XO-Tiffany

  • Jireh Grobler

    Dear Steve and Michelle, While you are always in our prayers we are so happy to read about the progress that is happening. We continue to pray for healing and outcome and support in all the detail of getting there. Reading about your faith is inspiring. Thank you for such an amazing witness. My God continue to bless you in this difficult journey. Gene and Jireh

  • Amyheckma23

    Thank you for being so open and letting others experience your journey. Your family continues to be in our prayers. Your strength, and Steve’s, is inspiring.. You are doing a ministry that you can’t possibly imagine how much of an impact it is having on others!!! God Bless you all and we will keep praying!!!!

  • Melody DuBois

    Thank you, thank you, for sharing your thoughts, your heart, your lives (and at such great cost of time and energy that are already in such short supply). You spoke of purpose beyond the obvious… you cannot know how many sermons are being preached in each moment and struggle, in each word you speak or write, in each testimony given of you by others as we all watch with breathless awe the life of God in you and Steve and the community that walks through this with you. Though that blessed light may yet often seem dark to you, it shines from every fiber of your beings. God be praised!

  • Brad

    from C.S. Lewis’, _The Great Divorce_:

    “[Mortals] say of some temporal suffering, “No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say “Let me have but this and I’ll take the consequences”: little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin. Both processes begin even before death.”

    Another expression the life-view canon by which you and Steve already operate with staggering consistency.

    As Christians may you continue to see, in life, promptly and repeatedly, agonies turned to glory, as your post so clearly illustrates, through continued focus on the incomprehensible Light and Love of The Lord.

    Calls for God’s blessing You and Steve continue in the night-time prayers of my 9yr.-old daughter and I.

  • Linda Toothman

    Thank you so much for being willing to share your daily journey. Most of us do not experience God’s amazing power and grace in the way you are but your story shows us that our amazing God is always there no matter the need. All we have to do is be open to him. Thank you for opening that window for us. God Bless, Linda Toothman

  • Elisabeth A Williams

    I sometimes wonder if you, Steve, feel like Truman on The Truman Show. So many of us are hanging on every posting, cheering for you both to walk in literal and figurative freedom. Your foes are many – bureaucracy, fatigue, uncertainty, financial difficulties – and your whole virtual Christian community suffers, prays, and rejoices with you. Forgive us if we take more from you than we give.

  • Michelle

    I’m smiling for all the small happy struggles that have been yours. My whole self is smiling and longing for so many more of these precious times for you two to share together. Remembering how little time you had with each other last year and wondering if that’s one of the small blessings of this in a strange way.

  • Jhorlacher263206

    This statement came from a Young Life conference speaker, I thought of it while imagining those steps in the pool. It is a statement about God. It is a statement about your healing journey.

    “When thinking about the works of God, we Should always be amazed, but should never be surprised!”

  • Julie

    “Not one of all the LORD’s good promises failed; every one was fulfilled.”… Joshua 21:45…..We know God and can be assured that the future is bright, as He has promised!

  • Xn2leader1

    In the midst of your anguish and turmoil, you lift us all up into heavenly places. I am sure that you don’t feel very heavenly a good deal of the time, and that is more than understandable and quite normal. What is abnormal is your ability to see beyond the normal to the supra-normal, to know the love of God our Father, and the encouragment of God the Holy Spirit, and the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ– all this knowledge (not just information but knowledge that transforms) is gained not by sitting on a park bench contemplating one’s navel, but thru the pain that you all experience daily and all day. May the Lord give you strength to carry on. You both are lights in darkness, chosen ones to carry a new light in a world of pain and suffering that will end in trumph!!!

  • Naomi Diaz & family

    Again thank you for this wonderful share. God is faithful. God bless you and the family more & more.

  • Roger and Helen – UCM

    Hi Michelle – once again you give us a most beautiful and intimate insight into your life and the joy of each little victory (and some big ones) as Steve is restored step by step. I hope you will keep all the posts you have made and turn them into a book. They will form a wonderful book of hope for anyone undertaking a perilous journey from darkness to light, or despair to joy. Plus, I am sure there are a few replies that you have treasured as we have seen the people who love you and Steve respond with a profound depth of emotion and faith. Our love and prayers go out daily to you.

  • Mestorms404

    i am so moved Michelle, by your words, by your struggles and vulnerabilityand by your FAITH. i am sending love and blessings. xo michele

  • Camilla Garcia de Presno

    Thanks for all your updates, Michelle. We pray for you, and hope that you will see a brighter light soon. You are a blessing to us also, not only your kids and Steve, with you positive attitude and your great faith. keep it up! Ingat! From Camilla and Jostein in Norway

  • Joannasmith

    How wonderful to have such a high point to cling to. Thanks for sharing. We appreciate hearing about the highs, as well as the lows.
    Love you both heaps. Keep looking after yourselves!
    Joanna (& for Nigel)

  • Greggfarah