It was about ten minutes of quiet observance, as Gates and I reminisced, before my angel-faced, two-year-old daughter reached out her little hand and touched Gates’ sock covered toe; locking eyes with him as her finger made contact with his rested foot.
“Hi Cutie.” Gates said as she cautiously backed away as gracefully as she approached.
I can’t pretend to know what she was trying to communicate; however I’ve thought several times since about that experience and the symbolic meaning of “to be touched.”
One year ago today, April 5th, Gates’ made “one last run” down the snow packed hill of a frosty Utah Canyon. Referring to an earlier post, all of us can remember where we were, what we felt and how we were touched when we heard the news.
“If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing… We never need to feel that we are alone or unloved… because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and our right to bear us up. And He always keeps His word.” – President Henry B. Eyring
Over the last 365 days, we have been touched, not only by the attitude and endurance of this admirable young man, but by the demonstrations of generosity, love, sacrifice and service of countless others. And it continues…
Later this month one of Gates’ friends, Ben Smith, is longboarding across Utah raising money to help Gates continue his independence.
Gates’ pursuit of independence has touched me as I watch him surpass milestones and overcome obstacles including mastering his balance, gaining control of his arms, opening doors by himself and just enjoying life!
I caught him cruising Bountiful Boulevard with his buddies not long ago, he’s been to a Jazz game, hit up several local concerts and even gets out on the golf course with the guys.
It doesn’t stop there! He plans to go skydiving again this summer telling me, “Nothings changed; I’m still the same guy.”
Just as importantly, Gates shared, “My health is on an upward swing.” And he’s looking forward to one of his other passions, getting back in the water, another demonstration of his physical progression.
This Sunday we celebrate and remember the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is because of Him, we have the hope and eternal perspective we do. It’s through His light we can be touched by others to do better, to be better.
“As part of His infinite atonement, Jesus knows ‘according to the flesh’ all that through which we pass. He has borne the sins, griefs, sorrows, and … pains of every man, woman, and child.” - Elder Neal A. Maxwell
In response to the one year anniversary of Gates’ accident, his Facebook status says it all: “year one. claim.”
Please take a moment and share, with Gates, how he’s touched you, the last 365 days: