Please, Daddy, Don’t Do That Again!
When my son was only about three years old, he and his sisters were playing a game that involved chasing each other around the house with loud giggles of laughter erupting every few minutes whenever one of them came close to tagging one of their siblings.
The giggles were interrupted suddenly by a loud crash followed by a blood-curdling cry of pain. I jumped to my feet and ran to the living room where the apparent mishap had occurred. My son had come around the corner too fast and had fallen headfirst into the corner of a table. I quickly picked him up from the floor where he was lying and held him in my arms both to comfort him and to examine the wound. Streams of blood gushed from his forehead.
By the time we reached the emergency room, his tears had subsided a bit, but I was nervously anticipating the slight trauma still ahead of us. After examining my son’s forehead, the doctor confirmed that he would need to stitch the wound in order for it to heal properly. The good news was that the cut would require only one stitch. The bad news was that the doctor planned to do it without any anesthesia. “We can stick him once or we can stick him twice,” the doctor informed me.
I was then told that giving him a shot to anesthetize the area would be just as painful and traumatic as giving him the single stitch. The shot would then have to be followed by a second “stick” to actually stitch up the wound. I reluctantly agreed with the doctor and opted for the single “stick”.
I encouraged my son that he was being a “brave little boy” as the doctors and I gently strapped a restraining device around his tiny body to keep him from thrashing around on the table during the procedure.
Inside, I was fighting back tears as he looked at me with frightened, but trusting eyes. “Keep looking at Daddy,” I encouraged him. “You’re being a very brave little boy.” His huge eyes remained locked on mine as the doctor gently washed out the cut and prepared to stitch the wound shut.
“Okay, here we go,” the doctor said quietly. “It should be quick.”
“Keep looking at me,” I said, trying to smile and draw his trusting eyes into mine. “Daddy’s right here.”
With precision and swiftness, the doctor quickly stabbed the curved needle into the swollen flesh near the cut on my son’s forehead. My son’s eye’s widened as he gasped in pain. Then in a whimpering voice that carried the sweetness and innocence that only a three-year-old can summon, he looked up at me and said, “Please don’t do that again, Daddy.”
My heart broke. How do you explain to your three-year-old son that the pain he is experiencing – the pain that, in his mind at least, was caused by me – was inflicted with love, with a desire and design to bring healing? Oddly enough, that is one of my most precious memories of my son’s early childhood. The procedure was over almost as quickly as it had begun and, after a few hours, my son had returned to giggling with his sisters. (Running in the house, however, was forever banned from that point onward.)
His trust and sweet response to the ordeal continues to pierce my heart with love for him. This episode is also a reminder for me of our heavenly Father’s love and care for us and for those around us who may be experiencing a painful season in life.
In my mind’s eye, I can envision God holding us as our Father whenever we’re hurting and telling us to keep our eyes on Him and to trust Him, even if we don’t understand why things are happening to us. When we’re tempted to blame Him for our pain or to cry out, “Please don’t do that again, Daddy,” we can take comfort in knowing that He is very near to us, that He loves us and to trust that, even though we may not always understand, there is a higher purpose at work in everything that happens to us.
So keep your eyes on Him. Trust Him. He’s holding you and healing you. He will never let you go. Know, too, that giggling – or however you experience joy – will soon be a part of your life again.
By Tim Wright
Meditation: Then it shall be, after I have plucked them out, that I will return and have compassion on them and bring them back, everyone to his heritage and everyone to his land. – Jeremiah 12:15
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!
Know Where You Are Heading in Life
A boat docked in a tiny Mexican fishing village.
A tourist complimented the local fishermen on the quality of their fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.
“Not very long,” they answered in unison.
“Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?”
The fishermen explained that their small catches were sufficient to meet their needs and those of their families.
“But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
“We sleep late, fish a little, play with our children, and take siestas with our wives. In the evenings, we go into the village to see our friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. We have a full life.”
The tourist interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”
“And, after that?”
“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant.
You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”
“How long would that take?”
“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years.” replied the tourist.
“And, after that?”
“Afterwards? Well, my friend, that’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the tourist, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!”
“Millions? Really? And after that?” asked the fishermen.
“After that, you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends.”
“That’s what we are doing now,” replied the fisherman.
The moral of this story is: Know where you’re going in life, you may already be there!
Meditation: Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: – Philippians 4:11
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!
What Jesus Did
Give up! Give up those hurts of the past. It’s time to move on. satan loves to have you live in the past because that renders you ineffective to live in the present, in the now.
Tell Me, child. What is it that has happened to you? Who hurt you? What mistakes have you made that you regret? Did what happen to you change the fact that Jesus loves you, and He died on the cross for you so you could live in heaven with Him for all eternity?
Can anything or anyone ever change that fact? You know that nothing can ever nullify what Jesus did for you on the cross. If that’s true, and it is, then nothing else matters, does it?
There is nothing that can happen to you, nothing anyone can do to you that can ever change the fact that My Son, Jesus, loves you and died on the cross for you so you gain heaven for all eternity. No one can ever take that away from you. No One!
Hold on to that thought. Put things in their proper perspective. When you do that, you’ll see that being loved unconditionally, attaining salvation and having the right to go to heaven is your ultimate goal. Everything else pales in comparison to that.
Even physical death cannot take heaven away from you, for then the real you-your spirit-just changes abodes. Physical death for Christians is moving from living in the temple of the Holy Spirit, your body, to living in heaven.
I know, My child, I know. Your mind is often filled with hurtful things that happen to you. Sometimes you even say to people “You don’t know how much it hurt Me when such and such happened.” Well, I ask you again, does what happen to you in the past change the fact that Jesus loves you and died for you, and now you can spend eternity with Him in heaven? I don’t have to wait for your answer, because I know immediately your mind said, “No!”
Then, child, nothing else matters! Compared to eternity, all problems are nothing. Loving Me, being in My family, gaining the right to live in heaven for eternity, that’s what’s important in life. If you lose that, you’ve lost it all. Don’t hold grudges. forgive! Nothing you can gain on earth can make up for that loss, and nothing can happen to you on earth that can take that away from you- Nothing!
Meditation: Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? – Isaiah 43:19
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!
She Never Left My Side
Push…Puuush!” I called out to my friend, but it appeared that there was no use in trying anymore. My car was stuck in the mud, and I was on a double date. I was just 16 years old, and I wanted to make a good impression on my pretty and intelligent date. However, hearing the motor rev with the car still stuck in the mud did not earn brownie points for my friend or me in the eyes of our dates.
We continued to push and push, but there was no getting my car “unstuck” from the mud. Sharon, my date, was revving the car’s engine while Jeff and I were pushing and pushing. Finally, I said, “Enough!” Embarrassed, I approached Sharon as she sat behind the wheel of my mother’s red station wagon. Before I could speak I noticed the gear on the car: It was set on neutral!”
I set the gear to “drive,” instructed Sharon to wait until I gave her the signal to press down on the accelerator, and then went back to help Jeff push the car out of the mud.
That was our first date. Even though I got mud on my slacks, I had love in my heart. I was “stung” by the Love Bug.
Sharon and I dated seriously throughout high school. I went away to college as Sharon was finishing her senior year in high school. Our love, which was blooming, was only matched in size by our long-distance telephone bills.
The next year, Sharon joined me at the University of Texas. We were so happy. We thought we were on top of the world. We thought our lives were set. That was true until that eventful evening when in a split second our lives changed forever.
On February 18, 1981, we were studying at the library of the University. It was late, and Sharon told me that she had to return to her dormitory to go to sleep. We slid into my car and headed toward her dorm, but, unfortunately, my gas gauge was registering “empty.” I pulled into a nearby convenience store, borrowed $2 from Sharon, and walked into the store to pay for the gas.
Things do not always work out as one plans them. Unfortunately, the store was in the midst of a robbery, and one of the thieves forced me into the cooler. He followed me, pushed me to the floor, and calmly shot me in the back of the head-execution-style! The story does not end there. Yes, the criminal thought I was dead, thus eliminating any witness to the crime. However, when the thieves left the store, I still had a faint pulse.
Very few people believed I would remain alive much longer. That is why the police transferred my case to the Homicide division. That is also why the neurosurgeon when he was awakened at his home to see me at the hospital, came quickly but returned home, as he believed an operation would be futile.
However, when the doctor returned to the hospital in the morning, he was shocked to see that I was still alive. He told my parents that an operation was necessary, but he added that he would be surprised if I survived the surgery.
I fooled all of the medical experts and survived the surgery. However, the surgeon warned my parents that even though I was still breathing, I would probably never be able to communicate with anyone or understand anyone who was attempting to communicate with me. Basically, the surgeon stated, I would be “a vegetable.”
Hearing those words, my father told Sharon, “Get on with your life.”
Sharon quickly replied, “Mike is my life.”
Even though we were not yet married, Sharon believed in the vows, “in sickness and in health.” She dropped out of college for one semester to be with me at the Rehabilitation Hospital in Houston where I was eventually transferred. Sharon was spending her time with her “drooling boyfriend in the hospital” while other college freshmen were spending their time at parties.
Eventually, Sharon returned to Austin to continue her college education. Once again we had enormous phone bills. My goal was to also return to Austin, to the University of Texas, to be with Sharon. Eighteen months after no one thought I would survive, I accomplished that goal. One of the primary reasons was … Sharon, my love, who refused to give up or give in.
Four years after returning to college, I graduated. For me, that meant I could finally propose to Sharon, my light at the end of the dark tunnel. She was the one who would always encourage me to look forward and not to focus on the past.
On a beautiful day in May, Sharon and I exchanged vows and were married. We were meant to be together. We had dated for nine long and eventful years, but I realized at the wedding that it was worth everything. Sharon was truly my soul mate.
We have been married for many years and we have a beautiful daughter, Shawn. We have experienced so much-some bad, but more, much more, good. This is not just a “love letter” to my wife, but the story of a girl’s overcoming everyone’s “rational” thoughts to stay behind with her critically injured boyfriend. To me, it shows what kind of woman Sharon is–a beauty inside and out. Further, it shows the lesson of not giving up on one’s dreams. I give Sharon all the credit for my recovery – not me. I don’t know where I would be without her – definitely not where I am today.
Michael Jordan Segal, who defied all odds after being shot in the head, is a husband, father, social worker, freelance author, and inspirational speaker, sharing his recipe for happiness, recovery and success before conferences and businesses.
By Michael Segal
Meditation: Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. – Song of Solomon 8:7
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!
Saving the Man Who Saved My Life
I was in Haiti in October 2005 researching my book on modern-day slavery when I contracted a severe case of malaria. A young Haitian man named Bill Nathan, then 21, who manages a shelter for homeless boys in Port-au-Prince, took me in and attended to me daily as I lapsed in and out of consciousness. He found the chloroquine that kept me alive.
When the epic earthquake struck Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12, 2010, I saw a chance to repay the debt.
At 4:51 p.m. on that day, Bill was on the seventh floor garden on the roof of the Maison St. Joseph, a sanctuary of peace for some 20 boys who have been abandoned by their families, or who, like Bill himself, were child slaves. He had just ushered five of the boys down to their chores on the ground floor, so that he could enjoy his one daily indulgence: a few moments of solitude in the roof’s little gazebo, surrounded by potted plants, before evening prayers.
Two minutes later, the quake smashed open the building, and the top three floors pitched northward, hurling Bill down nearly 80 feet onto a neighbor’s concrete roof, where he landed briefly, apparently on his back. Almost immediately, he tumbled onto a tin-roofed shack, and then to the ground. A neighbor later said she saw Bill “flying like a bird.” In his last moments of consciousness, Bill saw the top three concrete floors of the orphanage, along with a massive wind charger hurtling toward him. Instinctively, he rolled out of the way and grabbed a clothesline, pulling himself into a corner before the cement crashed exactly where he had fallen. His legs wouldn’t work, so he crawled for several feet over broken glass, before passing out.
The first three floors of the house, where all but one of the boys were gathered, shook “like a scene out of Titanic,” said house founder Michael Geilenfeld, but, miraculously, they did not collapse. Had the quake hit 15 minutes later, all of the boys would have been on the sixth floor. Tragically, a 25-year-old American seminary student was crushed on the fourth floor.
Forty-five minutes passed before the others in the house discovered Bill, unconscious but alive. The older boys carried him on a table to Kez Furth, 24, a volunteer American nurse living next door. For the next four days, Furth treated him on the floor of her 500-sq. ft clinic-apartment, outfitted with less than the average public school nurse. At the same time, she attended to dozens of other victims, who convened in a refugee camp up the block. Some had traveled up to a mile for treatment.
When news of the quake reached me, I immediately called Bill’s cell phone, to no response. On Wednesday morning, I reached out to Miles Wright, the no-nonsense, burly Texan who serves as treasurer of Hearts With Haiti, the group under whose umbrella Maison St. Joseph and two other similar facilities run. Over the next 48 hours, we heard just sporadic reports that Bill had regained the ability to sit up, then to walk gingerly, but that overall his condition was worsening. Miles immediately resolved to act: “‘Round where I’m from, when your family’s in trouble, you show up.” On Thursday night, we convened in Ft. Lauderdale. Through the extraordinary support of Hollywood director Tom Shadyac, a friend of Bill’s and mine, we were able to hire a small twin-engine plane. Although that morning the FAA had ordered a ground stop on all flights bound to Haiti, I worked the phones, and by the next morning, we were packing the six-seater with two Haitian surgeons and some 200 lbs. of medical supplies and baby formula.
After dark on Friday, the U.S. military finally cleared us to land in Port-au-Prince, and we drove into the city past clusters of Haitians standing in defiance of the destruction around them, praying and singing in impromptu street concerts. The orphanage lay half-shattered. Concrete chunks hovered precariously over surviving structures, suspended only by rusty re-bars. Maison St. Joseph had been looted of its store of rice and beans. When Geilenfeld hired a neighbor to carry some of the remaining food to a more secure location, a desperate crowd by the Caribbean Market mobbed the neighbor, beat him, and stole the provisions.
In the candlelight of Furth’s clinic, Bill lay on his stomach on a mattress on the floor, his arms outstretched. He was in a great deal of pain and had difficulty moving from that position, but he managed a smile when I came in to hold his hand. I lay next to him that night, with Furth resting on an adjacent mattress. It was a sleepless night: on the other side of the wall lay a trapped dog that howled whenever tremors moved the rocks around it. Furth said it had been slowly starving to death for four days. The clinic had just finished the last of its clean water.
The next morning, I helped Furth make her rounds of the refugee camp, and we rushed Bill by van to the airport. We faced resistance from the Marines guarding the entrance. Attempting to make an order from chaos, they were understandably wary of admitting a non-responsive Haitian, even when he was carried by three passport-holding Americans. Finally, a lieutenant named Brandon, disciplined but sympathetic, heard my plea: “It’s a matter of honor,” I said. “This man saved my life, and I need to help him.” ABC News anchor Dan Harris, a mutual friend of Bill’s and mine, backed up my story, Lieutenant Brandon waved us through. French medics gave Bill a morphine drip and we loaded him, along with a 19-year-old American who survived the quake, onto our waiting charter. (See the top 10 deadliest earthquakes.)
Why did Bill deserve a special mission? Not just because he saved my life. Helping people is what Bill Nathan does. Orphaned at age seven, Bill was taken in as a slave by his neighbors who forced him to do domestic work and beat him mercilessly when he did not perform to standard. According to UNICEF studies, such child slaves number as many as 300,000 in Haiti; typically, desperate parents yield their children to fraudulent recruiters willingly, a phenomenon that becomes more pronounced after natural disasters. After three years of bondage, Bill was rescued by an American nun who had known Bill’s mother. She brought him to St. Joseph’s, where he thrived and soon he was managing the recovery of hundreds of other boys. “God kept me alive for a reason,” he told me in a fleeting moment of lucidity. “I will keep doing the work that I’m doing.”
There is a theory of massive disaster triage that advises that the first people who should receive treatment are doctors with non-life-threatening injuries. Though Bill is not a doctor, he has a demonstrated ability to improve the lives of hundreds and to resurrect his community and his country. Saving Bill means saving more lives.
The fall that Bill endured should have killed him, but he was in peak physical shape. His injuries are painful but survivable. While his condition continued to be assessed, we know he has suffered an abrasion on his liver, broken ribs, extensive muscle damage around his vertebral column, cuts and contusions all over his body. The Israeli trauma specialist who attended to Bill upon arrival in Ft. Lauderdale said that he had seen some lucky patients since he first practiced medicine as a war medic in 1965, but Bill was certainly up there. “We can debate the role of luck, I suppose,” muttered Miles, who is a devout Christian. Maybe Bill has good fortune on his side, maybe he has God. He certainly has friends.
By Benjamin Skinner
Meditation: And now may the Lord show kindness and truth to you. I also will repay you this kindness, because you have done this thing. – 2 Samuel 2:6
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!