I had dealt with doctors before, having been
born with Cerebral Palsy(C.P.) and confined to a wheelchair all of my life.
I had defied all odds and had been living a relatively independent, if not
'normal' lifestyle. But all of my 38 years of hard work and determination
to live a healthy and productive life could not have prepared me for the
challenge that would soon come!
"You've sustained a shattered
disc in your spine at the C-3 ,C-4 level," the doctor said. "We've
done a spinal fusion of the vertebrae, thereby stabilizing your condition.
The extent of your injuries were severe, but we're confident that with physical
and occupational therapies, you should be able to lead a relatively productive
He continued, "You will probably
regain some motor skills, but I'm afraid there is no way to determine how
much paralysis you will retain. You are one lucky man, Mr. Lewis. Even if
you are to be a total quadriplegic, at least we saved your life."
Quadriplegic! The word screamed
through the synapses of my mind like a razor-sharp knife such that I could
not distinguish whether the pain was real or imagined! How could I have
struggled for so many years to be as self-sufficient and independent as
possible, only to have everything I had achieved just stripped away from
me like that! Quadriplegic! It just wasn't fair! For months my body had
deteriorated to the point where I was now totally paralyzed from the neck
down! It was as if my soul was somehow trapped inside an empty, hollow case!
Oh, how my soul longed to be free! Was I to live out the rest of my life
as a vegetable? Would I never again be able to feel the warm and loving
embraces of my loved ones again? Would I never again be able to stroke the
soft fur of a puppy or kitten, or touch a delicate flower, or even move
my hands? The doctor said there was a very little chance that I would. Less
than .08 percent of all people to receive spinal chord injuries like mine
ever regain any regeneration of nerve-tissue! And if I did, it would be
That night as I lay in my hospital
room, suspended in traction with a metal 'halo' screwed into my skull to
hold it in place, an overwhelming feeling of despair enveloped me. The dark
room seemed to close around me as thoughts of trying to go on with my life
turned to hopelessness! I began to long for an end to my sufferingthrough
deathand as I did so, I became aware that the darkness around me was
growing, drawing me deeper and deeper into the blackness! How comforting
it would be to let the darkness take me, freeing my soul, at last!! I only
had to close my eyes
Having been a member of the R.L.D.S.
Church for most of my life, I had a very good understanding of the nature
of God, his Son, Jesus Christ, and the divine power of the Holy Spirit!
For several years, though, I had 'fallen' away from the path, living Life
with no sense of direction or purpose. I had shut God out of my everyday
life. Angry at my misfortunesa bad marriage, the loss of my children,
lack of a job, my affliction of C.P., etc.it was very easy to place
blame on God and others around me!
The darkness that filled my hospital
room was beginning to deepen into a 'blackness' that I had never known before!
Instead of the soothing feeling of peacefulness that I had expected, I was
overwhelmed by an intense sense of fear! There was Evil in this darkness,
and I felt its icy coldness drawing my soul into the depths of it!
In that instant, I asked for God
to help me. I prayed with all my might to a God that I had abandoned along
the wayside, hoping that He could hear my desperate plea for forgiveness!
Had He abandoned me, as I had done to Him? Would He be there now in my hour
of need? Or had he left me to suffer in darkness all alone.
In answer to my cries, a shaft
of Light suddenly appeared at my bedside. I could not determine where it
was coming from. I felt suspended in time as the Light slowly began to push
back the darkness surrounding me. Steadily the Light grew in brilliance,
filling the room with a whiteness I had never seen before!
I felt a warmth go through my
body, and suddenly I felt alive again! I felt hopeful and restored in the
depths of my soul.
It has been nearly three years
since that glorious night in my life, and every day I make more and more
progress. I have regained almost all of what I had lost due to my injuries.
The doctors can only describe my recovery as a true 'miracle'! Nerve tissue
has somehow mended, and although I still am not 100% healed, I continue
work with God towards that goal!
I will never forget that night
in the hospital when I lay in my bed, bathed in God's glorious, healing
Light! But the Light was not alland this is my testimonyI also
heard a voice, soft yet distinct. It spoke these loving and gentle words
which to this day still echo in my soul:
"I AM HERE!"
"I NEVER LEFT!"
Donald D. Lewis