Thursday, June 30, 2011

You have no idea!...

Sunday afternoon, my four-year-old son and I walked into Gates’ hospital room to see his right arm resting, up over his head, the inner bend of his elbow crushing his hair just above his right ear with forearm and hanging hand framing his face. 

His eyes, shifting from the TV to the entry, caught our movement at the door; his salutation was one I’ve never before heard, “Nine more days, man!”  I laughed out loud and asked, “You anxious?”  His response, “You have no idea!” 

Gates returns home, July 5th; a day he’s termed “My Personal Independence Day.” 

On my visit Tuesday, Gates’ room was full of well-wishers and gift bearers.  I love to watch him talk, his arms dancing around giving emphasis to his words.  It’s wonderful to see movement, where just a short time ago his entire body lay motionless.

I listened quietly as Gates talked about his progress as slow as “watching grass grow.”  I challenged him a little, telling him to not minimize what he’s accomplished; however, for a young man who has a talent for nearly everything he does, it’s a little slower pace than he’s accustomed. 

The last few days have been interesting.  After a date night with my spouse, we sat in the parked car of some good friends, in their driveway and talked about Gates.  The day before, another friend of mine with whom I went to High School and hadn't seen for years, sat at an adjacent outdoor table, at lunch, and we talked about Gates over the noise from the street. I then received a message, today, from another friend who has never met Gates; she wrote, referring to the time between posts, “…I can hardly sleep at night wondering how he's doing…  I do miss the posts. Gives me great inspiration to plow through tough times.”

Though the last few days have been interesting…  they’re not unusual.  It was after talking to Gates’ bishop last night that chills raised the hair on my arms as I thought about his “real” progress and how that progress has inspired so many others.

“The words of eternal life, while full of transcendent hope and promise, are not easy. The pathway of progress marked by the Lord is filled with challenges and risks. But it is the only way to celestial life. As we move along the path, we have the reassurance of knowing that we follow in the footsteps of one who knows the way, who understands and trusts us to press on, always with his encouragement and supporting strength, but by our own effort and will. He has removed from this path every obstacle that we could not remove ourselves. He now beckons, ‘Come to me.’” – Elder Dean L. Larsen

When Bishop Nelson asked Gates to tell him about his “down days” Gates response was exactly the progress, in him, I see; not at the pace of “growing grass” but at the speed, steadiness and strength of one who’s progress gives me and so many others the encouragement to “plow through tough times” when he said:

“There are no, ‘down days’ or even ‘down hours’.  I may have a rough minute or two but those don’t last long.”

“Life never was intended to be easy. Rather, it is a period of proving and growth. It is interwoven with difficulties, challenges, and burdens. … Yet these very forces, if squarely faced, provide opportunity for tremendous personal growth and development. The conquering of adversity produces strength of character, forges self-confidence, engenders self-respect, and assures success in righteous endeavor” – Elder Richard G. Scott

This Saturday, at Eaglewood Golf Course from 6:00pm – the Firework show, we have a booth and will be selling tee-shirts, wristbands, water and more for Gates’ benefit.  Gates intends to come by and say, hello and we welcome everyone to pass by. 

Finally, another local vendor has stepped up to offer a donation of ALL proceeds to Gates’ to support his recovery.  To you, Deco Boards ( will give a 15% Discount and Free Shipping and to Gates ALL proceeds when using, for your order of a personalize whiteboard, the code:  GATES

“Our prayers for others flow more easily than those for ourselves.  This shows we are made to live by charity.” – C.S.Lewis

Gates Snowboarding in France

Monday, June 13, 2011

I let too much time pass between entries...

I didn’t immediately turn around to look; I was privy to know he was there.  What I watched, however, was a powerful display of excitement from the congregation as a wave of rotating heads, in a sea of smiling faces, shot glances of love and heartfelt welcome as Bishop Nelson announced Gates’ attendance, in the back overflow, at sacrament meeting.  It was Gates’ first time back in the Foothill Ward.

Etched into my mind is the image of two young siblings, one searching the crowd for Gates, while the other, hand on her sister’s shoulder, relayed direction to his location.  As this young lady’s eyes landed on the target, her grin turned into an open-mouth smile, her eyebrows raised so high her forehead wrinkled and she literally stopped herself from the urges to stand on the bench for a better view; Gates’ presence brought a very welcome spirit this past Sunday.

Gates works out in rehab every day, various times throughout the day.  His strength has improved and his balance and movements have steadied.  He works himself to exhaustion every single day, so a fieldtrip to the Gateway to see a movie, last Saturday night, was a well deserved reward. 

Gates’ neck is no longer augmented by the brace which supported his head.  It’s left him with “very soar” muscles, he tells me, but it also gives him more motion and rotation.

I let too much time pass between entries.  My goal was to write at least every Sunday to share stories of a distinctive group of people who have experienced similar challenges as Gates, their battles and triumphs.  I communicated the story of Julie Jorgensen two weeks ago and look forward to imparting of the history of others such as:  Sabrina Glade, Tanner Godfrey, Emily Wallace and others as they care to express.

Tonight, as Gates has just learned of this young lady, we ask…  as you pray for Gates, keep in your prayers Kendra, who suffered a similar injury just a few weeks ago.

“I have cherished from childhood the truth that God is a personal being, and is, indeed, our Father whom we can approach in prayer... I cherish, as one of the dearest experiences of life, the knowledge that God hears the prayer of faith. It is true that the answers to our prayers may not always come as direct and at the time, nor in the manner, we anticipate; but they do come, and at a time and in a manner best for the interests of [those] who offer the supplication.” – President David O. McKay