Tender Mercy

Mark usually wakes up happy, but the morning of April 16, 2013 he was beaming.

“Good morning,” I said.

“I just had a rush come over my whole body, and I feel all better,” Mark said excitedly.

“Great. How do you feel better?”

“My muscles feel better and I think they’ll co-operate with my brain now. Watch,” Mark said as he moved his leg, bending his right knee, and straightening it. He tried to repeat the same movement with his left knee. It did bend but not as easily as his right knee. The left leg always gives him the hardest time in responding to his brain commands. He was trying hard to imitate the walking motion while lying on his back.

Encouraging him, I said, “That’s wonderful Mark.”

I must admit, I was a little disappointed. His demeanor and confidence made me believe that he was “all better.” It had been 22 years since the car accident and when he lost total control of his body. He’s worked hard to gain every ability, starting with waking up, breathing on his own, swallowing, talking, moving in his arms and hands. He’s determined that someday he’ll have control over his legs too.

He was thrilled.  His ultimate goal was about to be reached. In that moment he felt “all better.” Those feelings he’d never related to me before.

Wouldn’t it be magnificent if it happened, just like that? I believe it could, if God willed it. But it was not His plan. Not for that day anyway.

That evening, I was helping Mark with a shower and he said to me, “This morning I felt a rush come over my body.”

Mark did not remember he had told me, so I reminded him that he had.

“Good,” he said. I wanted to make sure you knew, because I think my recovery will be faster now.”

“Did the rush go from your head to your toes or was it all at once over your whole body?”

“It was all at once, all over my body and it lasted a minute or so.” He remembered it vividly.

Then he smiled and teasingly or excitedly said, “I may even get my hair back, won’t that be great, if I regained it all . . . to my perfected Celestial state!”

“Not yet.” I said. “I prefer to keep you here with me on earth.”

Then I felt a little selfish and wondered if he was ready to move on. Seeking conformation, I asked, “Wouldn’t you prefer to stay here with me?”

“Of course I would,” Mark replied.

Sometimes I wonder if Mark lives for me. I’d love for him to be free from his frustrations and inabilities. But he inspires me and so many others. His spirit is strong. He is full of hope and faith, and works hard to accomplish every task. He is thoughtful of others. He appreciates everything he has and the help he receives. These are good reasons to love him and to hang on to him as long as I can.

This experience brought much joy to Mark and I was grateful that he was able to remember it throughout that whole day.