RADFORD - 1996 proved to be a devastating
time for our family. We can certainly say this year has been the
worst of times for us. Never have we been tested so severely by
obstacles over which we have had little or no control.
My son Jason's accident in June
has kept our family separated, as my wife, Fran, mostly stayed with
Jason at Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center in Charlottesville.
I maintained our home, taking care of our two teen-age daughters,
and attempted to work. As difficult as our situation has been and
continues to be, we have received an abundance of God's blessings
throughout our ordeal. This year has taught us many lessons.
Where we would be without the love
and absolute support of family and friends I cannot imagine. I can't
think of a time when these folks have let us down. Their care and
understanding have been the human foundation upon which our lives
Friends have fed us, traveled for
us, comforted us, taken care of our children and spent hours and
hours watching over Jason. They have written, visited and called.
The responses have come in a myriad of helpful and loving ways.
You can never fully realize the importance of the love of friends
and family until you go through such an experience. We definitely
I also have learned how vitally
important a friendly ear can be to a troubled soul. Making the time
in a busy and hectic world to listen lovingly is a great gift. We've
received many calls and visits from people who just wanted to know
how we are doing. The importance of this simple act is monumental
to the person in distress.
The outpouring of love and concern
from people we don't know well and those we have never met has warmed
our hearts. It is uplifting to receive hundreds of cards and all
types of expressions of caring from folks who don't personally know
Jason but choose to make him a part of their lives.
These wonderful people have taught
me that random acts of kindness are important. They have fed our
souls and seen us through many dark days.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly,
I have experienced the tremendous power of prayer. Fran and I both
believe that Jason's recovery has been powered more by prayers and
caring thought than by medicine.
Although we haven't received the
complete healing we sought, the Lord has brought us many miracles
throughout this experience. The fact that Jason has survived has
been a prayed-for miracle. God's gift to us of strength and stamina
has been miraculous. There have been many more.
Over the past months I have spoken
with friends who said they were ashamed that they "haven't
done anything for us." In all of these cases, these folks have
said they have prayed constantly for us and that we had been much
on their minds.
We believe the most important help
we can receive is prayer. I feel the power of prayer has been ongoing
on our behalf. There is no greater gift anyone can give us.
We are so thankful for these many
blessings and lessons that have been bestowed upon us. God bless
and keep us all in this new year.
Greg Rooker and his family live
at Claytor Lake. He is president and publisher of Family Community
Newspapers, which owns newspapers in Wythe, Bland and Smyth counties.