Guest Column: KINDNESS WARMS FAMILY'S HURTING HEARTS

The Roanoke Times, New River Current, Jan. 12, 1997 Page NRV2

By GREG ROOKER

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 have rested.

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 do now.

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.

 


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