I pray the day is finding you well.
Hurt people, hurt people.
We spent the night in Buffalo, Wyoming two nights ago.
We spent last night in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
We left Buffalo and entered the Big Horn mountain range. If you have never seen the Big Horn mountains you must add them to your bucket list. They are some of the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen.
Coming out of the Big Horns we entered a town named Worland. There is nothing spectacular about Worland, but Worland did remind me of someone I knew in college.
I remember my first day playing college football. The head coach sat all us freshman down and said, "I have a wife and three daughters. If I don't produce, I'm gone. If you don't produce you're gone. I will tell you when you are tired. I will tell you when you are sick. I will tell you when you are hurt. Don't worry about going to the book store to get your books. We have people doing that for you. Here is your class schedule and your football schedule." My immediate thought was, "I should have been having more fun in high school. This is a job." I did not know at the time just how accurate that thought was.
I played half a season on a broken ankle. They just taped it up into a cast.
I dislocated my shoulder. They taped that up as well.
One game, right before half time, three seconds left in the half, the other team threw a bomb. I intercepted it in the end zone. This presented a dilemma. I could either run it back for a touchdown or kneel down and get a stat. I choose to run it back.
The field opened up before me. At the 50-yard line a hole opened up. I ran into the hole flat out. Just then the other team's center filled the hole. We hit like two bighorn sheep. The kinetic energy was enormous. The impact did a lot of things that I did not notice at first. What I did notice was that it sent me flying through the air with the greatest of ease. As I was flying through the air I kept my head up still looking for the end zone. I landed on my feet, my body still going forward, I put my left hand on the ground to maintain my balance. Just as I did this I got hit on the elbow, which at that particular time was locked.
My elbow dislocated.
I went to the ground.
I got a stat.
I started to notice other unforeseen implications from the impact. Water-packed helmets had just come out and I was wearing one. The force of the collision broke the water pack and the hard plastic came down and broke my nose at the bridge. The combination of my head wound and the water made me look like I had ruptured an artery.
Blood was everywhere.
The impact also broke the rivets on my shoulder pads and the tie string that secures the pads to my chest.
I stood up.
My parents were at the game and they thought I was dead. I looked like I was bleeding out, both shoulders looked dislocated (they weren't), my elbow was going off in the wrong direction.
I was a mess.
During halftime the equipment people and the trainers went to work on me like a NASCAR pit crew. The equipment people fixed my gear. The trainers fixed my nose and relocated my elbow. They taped me up. Put an elbow brace on me and pronounced me ready to go for the second half. The secondary coach came up to me and said. "Put your arms above your head." I did. One arm was touching my helmet because of the brace. The other arm was where it should have been. The coach said, "Can you intercept a pass this way?" I said, "No." Then he told the trainers to take it off. You should have seen the look on my parents faces when I started the second half.
Even this did not stop me from playing football.
A few games later we were playing a team that had an all-American wide receiver. I was put one-on-one with him. By the end of the third quarter he had no receptions and we were winning 14-7. At the twelve minute mark of the 4th quarter I was speared. The player got up saying, "I got him, coach, I got him!" He was kicked out of the game. I spent the next week in the hospital. The receiver went on to catch four touchdown passes in 12-minutes and they won the game. I guess strategically for them it was a good play.
That ended my career.
The doctors told me if I took one more hit like that at best I would have one kidney, at worst I would be on dialysis the rest of my life.
And my life changed.
Even after the doctors told this bit of news I was cleared to play again for the next season,
My last game was the alumni game that spring. I had the opportunity to intercept a pass, instead I simply took out the receiver. That is when I knew I was done.
That fall Oklahoma State called. They heard I wasn't playing and they needed a free safety and wanted to know if I was interested?
I cordially declined.
People were upset that I did not take them up on their offer. When Wyoming called I relented to the pressure.
I knew I couldn't play but went anyway.
This is where I met the girl from Worland.
She was a great person.
I was a butt.
She would ask me, "Do you love me?" I would say, "No." I just could not go there. After a while she got tired of me. She got tired of being treated badly. She deserved better. She deserved the best and that was not me.
After she broke up with me she would watch me from a distance. I would catch glimpses of her just standing there looking at me.
She would have a sad look on her face.
I was a mess. I hurt this person and I am sorry for doing so.
After my great healing I think about her from time to time and when I do I pray, "Father, my prayer is that her life is better than she could have ever imagined. That she is happy and whole and strong."
I want to tell her that I am sorry. Perhaps I'll get the chance some day.
Hurt people hurt people.
Jesus heals people...and healed people heal people.
I pray my healing will continue to bring healing to others.
I pray the same for you.
"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us" (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4, NLT).