I can’t tell you how many times God has shown up in the most personal of ways to encourage me in my darkest moments. One of my favorite moments happened just two days after the accident. I couldn’t even walk to the PICU to see Anne; I had to be pushed in a child-sized wheel chair by my friend, Christy. Anne’s head was swollen to twice its normal size and the pressure in her brain was dangerously high. Her survival was still in question, and I wasn’t well enough to stay with her. Leaving my little girl – not knowing if she would live – was one of my lowest points.
Our pastor, Pete, accompanied me and my friend, Christy down to the lobby of the hospital… where I saw two large men in Falcons’ jerseys. The average person would not have noticed these two large men, but I happen to be one of the most devoted Falcons’ fans in all of Atlanta, GA. I listened to pre-season games on the radio when I was 8 years old – hanging on to the announcer’s every word. I still remember the loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the ’80 playoffs. I cried when we lost the Superbowl in ’98. Unfortunately, I’m not even exaggerating… You see, I knew those two large men. I knew their names, the position they played for the Falcons, even their college alma maters. (I know… it’s not healthy, but nobody’s perfect.) I yelled, “Christy, push me to those Falcons’ players, NOW!” I introduced myself, asked one player how his knee was feeling (cause he had hurt it during the season), had my picture taken with them, and left with a smile on my face – genuinely happy. I looked at Pete and said, “It’s the little things.” And Christy said, “From eternity past, God did not want you to leave this hospital discouraged. He knew you needed encouragement, and He sent what would encourage you.” Falcons’ players is what I needed that day. God knew Anne would live, and He knew that I needed Him to reach down and give me a gift that showed me that He knew me, loved me, and had everything taken care of. How amazing is that?
What’s amazing is that I think I got to be a part of one of these “moments” for somebody else this week. A little boy from Nashville named Curt Cannon was in an accident and has a brain injury. A friend of a friend of a friend of the family (who has been following Anne’s story) told me about Curt, and Eric & I have been praying for him. He was transferred to Scottish Rite last week. He’s still in the very early stages of his recovery… On Tuesday, Anne had a Dr.’s appointment near the hospital that didn’t last very long. We were left with an hour to kill, and I prayed, “God, should I visit the rehab floor? Do I have the emotional energy to see that place again?” A small whisper of “yes” nudged me to take the turn toward the hospital and soon I was wheeling Anne down the old hallways. I wanted her to see her room, and as I was walking that familiar corridor, I thought, “I wonder where Curt Cannon is?” We turned the corner to see Curt’s name on Anne’s old door. My jaw dropped… Of all the rooms on this floor, was it just a crazy coincidence that Curt is in Anne’s room? I made my way to the nurse’s station to see not one, but three of Anne’s old nurses. I skipped the pleasantries: “Is that Curt Cannon in Anne’s old room?” Thankfully, one nurse remembered who I was and knew who Curt was and immediately determined that Curt’s mom needed to meet me. “Are you sure?” I asked. “I don’t want to overwhelm her.” “No, I think she needs to see you.”
As this nurse went to find Curt’s mom, word spread that “Anne was back on the Rehab Floor.” I saw old therapists down the halls asking, “Have you seen Anne Jackson?” And then we were surrounded by old friends and happy words of how great Anne looked and how well she was doing.” Curt’s mom watched the reunion, watched Anne walk and move her left hand… and then we talked. Nothing spectacular – just two moms talking about two kids with horrible brain injuries… I went back to the nurses’ station to say goodbye and the nurse said, “She really needed that. Thank you for coming today.”
And it hit me. God just gave her a moment. She was discouraged. From an earthly perspective, Curt’s in a scary place… still technically in a coma and relatively unresponsive. But God knows different and He knew that Curt’s mom needed a boost to help her face the rest of her day and be able to get back up the next morning with a glimmer of hope in her heart. Anne’s sweet spirit and our presence did that for her. God knew. He knew.
If you want to follow and pray for Curt, feel free to visit his Facebook page.