The Watchman

The Watchman

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Our Miracle

I remember when Rick told me that he thought we should have one more child before he received his commission and our life as an active-duty military family would begin.  I remember laughing because there were only two months in order to get pregnant and give us enough time to have the baby and have the baby old enough for me to feel comfortable moving across the country.  Past experience with the previous two pregnancies seemed to indicate that a pregnancy would not be in the picture.  But surprise, two months later I found myself pregnant with no medical intervention required.  At the end of July, we were blessed with a little boy.

Now I wish I could say that he was the sweetest, happiest baby ever and that moving with him was a dream, but the reality was the kid had colic.  Every night as the sun went down, he would start to cry and would not stop until the sun came up again.  The only moments of peace were if he was in his swing rocking back and forth.  Rick and I took turns sleeping on the couch and winding up and pushing that baby swing.  Needless to say, there were four grumpy people in that house and Jon.  When I spoke with the his doctor, the doctor was at a loss on what to do other than wait it out.  He told me to give it two months.  Sure enough, two months later as we loaded up our trailer to move across the country we finally had a night with no crying.  Since that time, Jon has been nothing but steady, positive and most importantly: happy.

Fast forward to nine months ago: Jon was again two months away from a journey.  This time, instead of heading to the east coast, he would be heading west.  There was in that preparation to leave the same sense of excitement tempered with trepidation and fear of the unknown.  There were sleepless nights, but they were not filled with crying as the nights all those years before.  Instead, there was a constant review of packing and unpacking and repacking in hopes that nothing would be left behind.

Jon left for California to serve an LDS mission.  He met great people.  He was having many wonderful and faith building experiences.  He was so happy and felt so blessed to be there.  Then one night we received a phone call.  The caller was Jon's mission president, President Kendrick, letting us know that Jon had crashed his bike and was in the emergency room.  At the time, President Kendrick was still pretty sketchy with the details.  The doctors were running tests and trying to determine the extent of the damage.

In the emergency room.
Later in the evening we received word that Jon had been discharged from the hospital and would be seeing a specialist for his jaw in the morning.  What followed was four days of phone calls back and forth to California that resulted in my travelling there to be with Jon while he had surgery to put his jaw back together and bring him home to Utah to recover.  In the end, his injuries included severed ear canals, jaw broken on both sides, broken shoulder, stitches in his chin, bruised bone in his knee, and damage to his teeth.  In all, he has had five surgeries of various levels to put him back together.  But there was no head trauma, his hearing was undamaged, and even his glasses only received minor scratches.

Jon recently asked me if I wished I had kept him home so that he would not have been injured.  The answer to that is absolutely not.  Jon has become an example to us of our Heavenly Father's tender mercies for His children.  Through his experience, we have gained a deeper understanding of the Lord's guidance and the peace that the Holy Comforter can bring.  We witnessed the power of prayer.  At each step of this journey, Jon has been blessed with the right person at the right time to say what we needed to hear, to take the action that needed to be taken, to exercise the skill necessary to aid in his healing.  From the man on the street who was willing to load Jon and his companion in his truck so they could get help to the patient mission companion who was blessed with a knowledge of smoothies and the ability to make anything put in a blender taste good to the many caring professionals who were often inspired to do just one more test, these are the blessings for which we daily express gratitude.  That a body that had been so broken could be made whole is a miracle.

Life is not about bon-bons and tropical breezes.  Even Dorothy faced many challenges as she traveled the yellow brick road.  Life is to teach us to have faith, to rely not on our own understanding but to turn to the Lord.  As we acknowledge His hand in all things, we will see the daily miracles that surround us.  No matter our struggles and no matter our joys, we must remember that there is one who truly understands all.  When discouragement set in, Jon took strength from this verse in the Doctrine and Covenants:

D & C 122:7

7 ...know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

While he was in the emergency room, Jon was given a priesthood blessing.  He told me that he was promised that he would be made whole and that his pain would be minimal.  I have time and again been amazed that Jon was able to control the pain he did have through the use of ice packs and with medication no stronger than children's Motrin.  Through each new part of this experience, Jon has managed to keep a smile on his face.  Maybe it is because he got a lifetime of crying finished during those first two months of life, but it is more likely that when you learn to recognize the Lord in your life and heed his counsel, you cannot help but be happy.

Five days after the accident: Look closely and you can see how his face has
 become lopsided because of his jaw shifting.

After the first surgery in San Diego to repair his jaw.

Second surgery to repair his shoulder: this time in Utah.

About ready to go back: Just need some dental work finished.


  1. Jon is a great kid. I remember him through all the phases you show in the photo. I am so glad he's going to be okay and I'm sure the experience will help him be an even better missionary (not to mention provide a very cool "on my mission" story for the rest of his life).

    1. I find it interesting that my three boys have had three very different mission experiences that have led each of them to the lessons they needed to learn. And from now forward, Jon will have some amazing scars and in the battle of comparing scars with Wil, he is definitely in the lead. :)

  2. Oh Ann, I'm so sorry about Jon's accident. It is a miracle that he is "whole" again on the outside. Not for a minute would I think either of you were less than whole on the inside. What a terrible thing it must have been to get that phone call; yet you gained so much from the experience. I am in absolute awe of you, your faith and you family.

    1. It was so great to take him back to California this week. He is so happy. On Sunday he shared his testimony on how this experience has helped him gain an increased understanding of Heavenly Father's love for us. I am glad he could come through all this with such a positive outlook.