Miracle on My Motorcyle


September 17, 1987 is a special date on the calendar for me. You see, it was 21 years ago today that my life took a major hit. While driving our Kawasaki 550 motorcycle I was broadsided by the car of a young lady performing an illegal U-turn. My life as I had known it (had planned) would never be the same.

It was just before the impact and I was waiting for morning rush hour traffic to clear from one of the two major one-way streets located at the end of my commute to work in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. I knew that I had to wait a few moments more before the traffic cleared. So I took the opportunity to shoot up a praise to God. “What a gorgeous morning it is Father. There is not a single cloud in the sky.” Additionally I am going to be early for work, and I am excelling at my job.

Looking back on that moment now, I realize that was the last minute in which I had no chronic pain in my life. I really do forget what that felt like. Perhaps God answered me with ” Oh sure, you think it’s beautiful and hunky dory now, but let’s just see what you think in a minute.” I believe that in Heaven, God was gathering the angels to watch what was going to happen next.

After crossing the intersection, I noticed that a car traveling in the opposite direction quickly pulled along the opposite curb as it going to park. But then it happened. The sudden impact broadsided me full force as the black bumper of the Civic instantly crushed my Left Ankle. I found myself startled (WHAT just happened), in great pain as my foot was hit by the car then pushed off the peg, and dragging along the pavement. On top of all that, my head was wizzing by the bumpers of cars parked on my side of the street as I was still moving forward although at an angle of a track bike (like the GT racers we just saw here in Indy).

I jerked with all my might to keep from going down. All the while it occurred to me that I am now driving on the wrong side of the street (from jerking up), my foots dragging, and I must stop in just a few yards BEFORE I enter the intersection with the other major one-way street. AAAAAAH!

This is where I testify to the miracle on my motorcycle. God was at work greatly in my life. He got me to stop the motorcycle before getting hit again. I did NOT go down even though broadsided. I think part of the credit for that goes to the fact that I raced bicycles at Major Taylor Velodrome and in racing class and training we would purposefully jam our bicycles into each other to learn how to avoid wrecks and react to unexpected pedal in your spokes.

Once I had managed to stop the forward movement of the cycle, I was standing there with both hand squeezing the calipers on the handlebar (clutch and brake). I was managing to stay balanced on my one right leg, but it was heavy and my other foot was mangled. What was worse is that I couldn’t shift the cycle into neutral because it would have been done by my useless left foot. I was stuck there!!

Just then, a VERY pregnant woman came up the sidewalk to help me. I remember thinking that the gutteral screams that came out of me were not very feminine (surprised that I sounded like a guy) and that I could even scare her away if I didn’t quiet them.

She came up to me and saw that I had a problem, but couldn’t hear me very well through the running of the motorcycle and due to the fact that the visor of my full face helmet was down. So she was fumbling around trying to undo my helmet. I swallowed all screams of pain and yelled, “PUT… the KICKSTAND…. DOWN!” Once she did that, I killed the bike by turning off the key with the assurance of the kickstand there to keep me from falling over.

I took off my helmet and looked down at my foot. It looked like the ends of two of my toes were missing and I knew that my ankle foot was broken. The lady had called the police and ambulance and wanted to help me to the sidewalk. I initially declined since she looked like she would deliver her baby if she lifted half of my weight. However the incessant throbbing convinced me that I should accept her offer.

We managed to get me to the sidewalk, a couple of very painful steps, and then I was down. Only then did I see that the only damage to the motorcycle was to the left case guard that helps protect the engine… a $50 part!! Another miracle.

Yes, God saw to it that I did not go down, that I had NO other damage to my body other than my left knee, leg, ankle and foot. Do you realize that if I had gone down I wouldn’t have been able to even use crutches?

May I just say something about crutches. When I am using them I get the “oh, you poor thing” look from everyone. Others using crutches say, ‘don’t you just HATE having to use crutches?” My answer is a resounding “NO.” I love these crutches. This is the original pair and if they had an odometer on them it would have tripped over the 100,000 mile mark about three times. I don’t know what I would have done without them.

When I am on crutches I can really move!! Just ask my friends. Unfortunately, right now I am recovering from a shoulder injury and can’t use them yet. So I appreciate them all the more, because without their use I am much more limited. Still I do have the famous “black boot” that I can throw on when I am expecting to be “slammin'” (on my feet or walking a lot). Again, I get the looks and the questions “what happened, did you have another surgery?”

I know that people are generally caring and tend to think that injuries are supposed to get better. But the sad fact is that some of us are never going to recover from our injuries. Not in this lifetime anyway. These appliances (crutches, canes, boots, funny shoes) are just our ways to cope in the meantime. To try to live a productive life in spite of the physical challenges.
I now joke that I have been through probably about a dozen sets of guardian angels. They draw lots up there to NOT have to get me as a client.

Almost half of my life has now been in constant pain.
As a competitive long distance runner I used to just push through the pain. No pain, no gain, right? Maybe so, but you will notice that I don’t run anymore. I can’t. If it’s an emergency or something I can lope along with the understanding that I will have to pay a physical price. I’ll be “lame” for a few days, and have to go back to using my crutches.

Worse than that, I often don’t realize that I’m overdoing until after it is too late. Again because my way of dealing with pain was to mentally ‘shove it aside’, I use a kind of self-hypnosis that worked well for me as an athlete, but that can do damage to me now.

Since I am allergic to almost all pain medicines, I can take none. So I really am in constant pain every moment I am awake. But there are a couple of coping skills that I have learned that work for me. Music is the biggest one. When I sing or play, it is a painkiller for me. It helps that I like to sing praises to God with our church worship team and jam on mandolin and guitar with friends. That’s why you’ll hear me turn almost any sentence into the lyric and break out into song.

Another painkiller is laughter. My friends help me with this one. Laughter is the best medicine is tried and true. I know that depression is just a natural outcome when someone is dealing with chronic anything. There are chemical things happening in the brain with seratonin and endorphins and such. Since I am unable to be as physically active as I was as an athlete it’s even more important that I laugh. Like exercise, laughter increases the endorphins; the body’s natural pain killers.

So that is why when you first meet me you may think that I am very silly. I am learning to roll with the punches and not take things too seriously. I realize that things could ALWAYS be worse. And, in many people’s cases, they are. However, I also realize that no matter what happens it is all under God’s control.

Let God be God: get out of the way.
So my plans to be a nurse practitioner were trashed, as were the ability to participate in a lot of the exercises and sports competitions that I enjoyed. Now I have a permanent disability that prevents me from enjoying the life I wanted to live. Besides the walking, standing, foot down time and distance limitations, I have the physical drain of the constant pain. Think about it, when you are in pain you get tired more easily, don’t you. I think part of that is from swallowing down the pain, not expressing it through some means. The other problem is the emotional drain. Frustration of not being able to do what I once did, it’s never going to get better than this, the extra time that adaptability methods require. It just takes more time to do things.

For me, with my bent toward perfectionism, I need to get rid of the “would have,” “could have,” “should have” statements. It just is what it is. I am not God. I am learning more and more the importance of the Serenity Prayer:
“God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things that I cannot change [past, not in my control], Courage to change the things I can [focus on what I CAN do, and learn new ways to adapt], and the Wisdom to know the difference.”

Over the last 21 years, I have learned a lot. I would not have chosen these events. But I now see where God was in control the entire time. “I know the plans I have for you…. plans for hope and a future,” is what God tells me in Isaiah. It is not the path that I would have willingly chosen for myself… motorcycle crash, crushed leg, 31 surgeries, pain and disappointments…. “sure, sign me up.” Nonetheless, I am blessed beyond measure. I have become a stronger person who is learning to take my value less from what I do and more for Who’s I am.

I joke about the fact that with so many surgeries and stuff, the guardian angels have to draw lots in hopes of not getting me as an assignment. I’m sure I have worn out at least a dozen sets. I know that like Paul, God has allowed me to be molded through trials. That if I hadn’t had all this happen TO me, because He cares FOR me, I would probably have been a prideful, arrogant, competitive jerk. So when the trumpet sounds, get ready to eat my dust… cause I’m going to be running into glory!

But for now, I’m going to keep on placing my faith in Him and do my best to help others to meet my Saviour so that they can come with me. You wanna come???

Miracle on My Motorcyle


September 17, 1987 is a special date on the calendar for me. You see, it was 21 years ago today that my life took a major hit. While driving our Kawasaki 550 motorcycle I was broadsided by the car of a young lady performing an illegal U-turn. My life as I had known it (had planned) would never be the same.

It was just before the impact and I was waiting for morning rush hour traffic to clear from one of the two major one-way streets located at the end of my commute to work in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. I knew that I had to wait a few moments more before the traffic cleared. So I took the opportunity to shoot up a praise to God. “What a gorgeous morning it is Father. There is not a single cloud in the sky.” Additionally I am going to be early for work, and I am excelling at my job.

Looking back on that moment now, I realize that was the last minute in which I had no chronic pain in my life. I really do forget what that felt like. Perhaps God answered me with ” Oh sure, you think it’s beautiful and hunky dory now, but let’s just see what you think in a minute.” I believe that in Heaven, God was gathering the angels to watch what was going to happen next.

After crossing the intersection, I noticed that a car traveling in the opposite direction quickly pulled along the opposite curb as it going to park. But then it happened. The sudden impact broadsided me full force as the black bumper of the Civic instantly crushed my Left Ankle. I found myself startled (WHAT just happened), in great pain as my foot was hit by the car then pushed off the peg, and dragging along the pavement. On top of all that, my head was wizzing by the bumpers of cars parked on my side of the street as I was still moving forward although at an angle of a track bike (like the GT racers we just saw here in Indy).

I jerked with all my might to keep from going down. All the while it occurred to me that I am now driving on the wrong side of the street (from jerking up), my foots dragging, and I must stop in just a few yards BEFORE I enter the intersection with the other major one-way street. AAAAAAH!

This is where I testify to the miracle on my motorcycle. God was at work greatly in my life. He got me to stop the motorcycle before getting hit again. I did NOT go down even though broadsided. I think part of the credit for that goes to the fact that I raced bicycles at Major Taylor Velodrome and in racing class and training we would purposefully jam our bicycles into each other to learn how to avoid wrecks and react to unexpected pedal in your spokes.

Once I had managed to stop the forward movement of the cycle, I was standing there with both hand squeezing the calipers on the handlebar (clutch and brake). I was managing to stay balanced on my one right leg, but it was heavy and my other foot was mangled. What was worse is that I couldn’t shift the cycle into neutral because it would have been done by my useless left foot. I was stuck there!!

Just then, a VERY pregnant woman came up the sidewalk to help me. I remember thinking that the gutteral screams that came out of me were not very feminine (surprised that I sounded like a guy) and that I could even scare her away if I didn’t quiet them.

She came up to me and saw that I had a problem, but couldn’t hear me very well through the running of the motorcycle and due to the fact that the visor of my full face helmet was down. So she was fumbling around trying to undo my helmet. I swallowed all screams of pain and yelled, “PUT… the KICKSTAND…. DOWN!” Once she did that, I killed the bike by turning off the key with the assurance of the kickstand there to keep me from falling over.

I took off my helmet and looked down at my foot. It looked like the ends of two of my toes were missing and I knew that my ankle foot was broken. The lady had called the police and ambulance and wanted to help me to the sidewalk. I initially declined since she looked like she would deliver her baby if she lifted half of my weight. However the incessant throbbing convinced me that I should accept her offer.

We managed to get me to the sidewalk, a couple of very painful steps, and then I was down. Only then did I see that the only damage to the motorcycle was to the left case guard that helps protect the engine… a $50 part!! Another miracle.

Yes, God saw to it that I did not go down, that I had NO other damage to my body other than my left knee, leg, ankle and foot. Do you realize that if I had gone down I wouldn’t have been able to even use crutches?

May I just say something about crutches. When I am using them I get the “oh, you poor thing” look from everyone. Others using crutches say, ‘don’t you just HATE having to use crutches?” My answer is a resounding “NO.” I love these crutches. This is the original pair and if they had an odometer on them it would have tripped over the 100,000 mile mark about three times. I don’t know what I would have done without them.

When I am on crutches I can really move!! Just ask my friends. Unfortunately, right now I am recovering from a shoulder injury and can’t use them yet. So I appreciate them all the more, because without their use I am much more limited. Still I do have the famous “black boot” that I can throw on when I am expecting to be “slammin'” (on my feet or walking a lot). Again, I get the looks and the questions “what happened, did you have another surgery?”

I know that people are generally caring and tend to think that injuries are supposed to get better. But the sad fact is that some of us are never going to recover from our injuries. Not in this lifetime anyway. These appliances (crutches, canes, boots, funny shoes) are just our ways to cope in the meantime. To try to live a productive life in spite of the physical challenges.
I now joke that I have been through probably about a dozen sets of guardian angels. They draw lots up there to NOT have to get me as a client.

Almost half of my life has now been in constant pain.
As a competitive long distance runner I used to just push through the pain. No pain, no gain, right? Maybe so, but you will notice that I don’t run anymore. I can’t. If it’s an emergency or something I can lope along with the understanding that I will have to pay a physical price. I’ll be “lame” for a few days, and have to go back to using my crutches.

Worse than that, I often don’t realize that I’m overdoing until after it is too late. Again because my way of dealing with pain was to mentally ‘shove it aside’, I use a kind of self-hypnosis that worked well for me as an athlete, but that can do damage to me now.

Since I am allergic to almost all pain medicines, I can take none. So I really am in constant pain every moment I am awake. But there are a couple of coping skills that I have learned that work for me. Music is the biggest one. When I sing or play, it is a painkiller for me. It helps that I like to sing praises to God with our church worship team and jam on mandolin and guitar with friends. That’s why you’ll hear me turn almost any sentence into the lyric and break out into song.

Another painkiller is laughter. My friends help me with this one. Laughter is the best medicine is tried and true. I know that depression is just a natural outcome when someone is dealing with chronic anything. There are chemical things happening in the brain with seratonin and endorphins and such. Since I am unable to be as physically active as I was as an athlete it’s even more important that I laugh. Like exercise, laughter increases the endorphins; the body’s natural pain killers.

So that is why when you first meet me you may think that I am very silly. I am learning to roll with the punches and not take things too seriously. I realize that things could ALWAYS be worse. And, in many people’s cases, they are. However, I also realize that no matter what happens it is all under God’s control.

Let God be God: get out of the way.
So my plans to be a nurse practitioner were trashed, as were the ability to participate in a lot of the exercises and sports competitions that I enjoyed. Now I have a permanent disability that prevents me from enjoying the life I wanted to live. Besides the walking, standing, foot down time and distance limitations, I have the physical drain of the constant pain. Think about it, when you are in pain you get tired more easily, don’t you. I think part of that is from swallowing down the pain, not expressing it through some means. The other problem is the emotional drain. Frustration of not being able to do what I once did, it’s never going to get better than this, the extra time that adaptability methods require. It just takes more time to do things.

For me, with my bent toward perfectionism, I need to get rid of the “would have,” “could have,” “should have” statements. It just is what it is. I am not God. I am learning more and more the importance of the Serenity Prayer:
“God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things that I cannot change [past, not in my control], Courage to change the things I can [focus on what I CAN do, and learn new ways to adapt], and the Wisdom to know the difference.”

Over the last 21 years, I have learned a lot. I would not have chosen these events. But I now see where God was in control the entire time. “I know the plans I have for you…. plans for hope and a future,” is what God tells me in Isaiah. It is not the path that I would have willingly chosen for myself… motorcycle crash, crushed leg, 31 surgeries, pain and disappointments…. “sure, sign me up.” Nonetheless, I am blessed beyond measure. I have become a stronger person who is learning to take my value less from what I do and more for Who’s I am.

I joke about the fact that with so many surgeries and stuff, the guardian angels have to draw lots in hopes of not getting me as an assignment. I’m sure I have worn out at least a dozen sets. I know that like Paul, God has allowed me to be molded through trials. That if I hadn’t had all this happen TO me, because He cares FOR me, I would probably have been a prideful, arrogant, competitive jerk. So when the trumpet sounds, get ready to eat my dust… cause I’m going to be running into glory!

But for now, I’m going to keep on placing my faith in Him and do my best to help others to meet my Saviour so that they can come with me. You wanna come???

Why I Tweet

Tweeting [posting a message on Twitter] IS conversation that is not just “for the birds”. It’s a way to soar to new heights of involvement in other people’s lives.

“A little bird told me . . . ” what did you hear, what are you listening to, what interests you and what of value do you have to offer others?

Twitter is a web service that is so easily integrated with other websites, phones and mobile devices that it is quickly becoming the primary way to stay involved.

I believe that Twitter is a valuable tool because it allows me to stay current with what’s happening right now in other people’s lives. It is a major method by which I can not only meet new networks and friends, but also build those relationships exponentially as we literally share our lives with one another in a messaging kind of way. These messages are sent in short updates based on the question “What are you doing now?”

However, that doesn’t mean to say that we need to know that you are blowing your nose or taking out the trash. It gives me “up to the minute” updates on what is happening in peoples lives: I get instant prayer requests, testimony to God’s provision, thought-provoking opinions and advice, leads and links to other resources, a wide range of TRUE HELP in a time of need. If too much noise comes from a source that I am listening to, I simply will no longer listen.

Just like in real life conversation you choose who you will listen to. “Follow” is the term that Twitter uses. Just as in a crowded room at a social event, you wouldn’t care to hear what every single person might have to say, rather you value listening to and talking with those who have something that you value to say or ask. What is interesting to you?

How interactive is it?? The crowded room is like a group chat in the new media world. A lot of different people are talking at once, so they have to be divided up into smaller groups “chat rooms” which generally center around some topic. However to participate in a chat room, or an IM chat for that matter, you must be physically there to take part. The conversation goes on without you and you may simply miss out.

This is a bit different than a message board… again usually centered around a topic or an email or webpost… which is posted then may be left for a while before any more activity takes place. Not necessarily at-this-moment, but when you get around to it. The posts are stored somewhere for reference and/or later action.

Now let’s look at Twitter. Twitter would be like the host of the party coming into the crowded room and saying, there is dancing in the Grand Hall, a buffet on the terrace, and by the way, a red BMW has left its lights on. If you were out of the room when the announcement was made your friend can restate what was said (Twitter keeps some of the more recent tweets), so you can pop in and out of Twitter and just check back. BBL (be back later) The announcements were made publicly, but a person chooses to act only on those things that are of interest to him.

My tweeting has gotten me into friendships that would have taken me much longer to find (if at all) just out on the streets. Twitter is a communication tool that acts kind of like a family reunion or gathering of friends. You get to know people by word of mouth: things they say, tweets about opinions they have, books they read, music and food preferences, and more importantly to me their overall character… the way that they live life.

Reach out… go to them…I see a HUGE opportunity here to bypass all the awkwardness of social boundaries like what do I wear, how do I act, who can I go with so that I’m not alone, suppose I don’t know anyone there… all the insecurities that can paralyze people in fear. I believe a lot of these concerns have crossed peoples minds at some time or another and driven them to the conclusion that going out into some social situations is just too ‘fake” as many people try to dress and impress for that first impression. Once people listen to others on Twitter, they get to know them before they go out in public places. Twitter is great for setting up a spontaneous get-together: meet for lunch, go to a movie, games at Lou’s… fear of rejection by asking out on a formal date is bypassed by “I’m going to —— wanna come?”.

I think that Twitter allows people to be honest and transparent in a way that frees a person from so much fear and rejection, and allows for true fellowship to take place. In my experience I have developed a group of people that I care for like family. When they hurt or need help, I am quick to encourage. When they celebrate something good, so do we all. That is BIBLICAL in my eyes.

Additional WITNESSING opportunities as postings demonstrate how a Christian lives in real life. Suddenly a non-believer’s aversion to anything Christian as being judgmental and hypocritical is challenged by the fact that there are several postings a day of how professing Christians are ‘walking the talk’. That all Christians are not condescending and condemning. That Christians, like any other person, are in process. We are ALL on a journey; and Twitter can help us take it side by side!

DARE—-Accountability — another benefit of the Twitter community is the fact that we can help each other remain accountable. Did you get that math homework done Jon? We essentially “spur one another on” — another Biblical principle I see that is assisted through using Twitter. We can challenge each other to examine our opinions and how those line up with the truth that we value.

SHARE—-By sharing what we experience, know, feel, enjoy, dislike, value and detest, we are opening ourselves up to the possiblities of helping each other,

CARE – encouraging and being encouraged,

PRAYER -praying for each other, giving advise and practical aid in specific areas that can be stated very specifically and in-the-moment. For example, “I am having a problem with trying to get my pictures off of the digital camera. Can someone help?” OR “My sister went into early labor, please pray” OR “I’m going to South Bend for the weekend. Where’s a good restaurant to try?”

For the most part Twitter is Public (there are privacy settings and direct messaging that can be just one on one) so many people can contribute to a conversation about when and where to meet, advice on problem-solving, recommendations on resources, when one person posts a prayer request or a statement about being ill or something, it is fantastic to see the flurry of posts that respond.

People do listen. People do care. Every person matters. Twitter helps communicate all of that.

Looking at INNOVATION as bringing creativity to bear against solving a problem, then Twitter is a very valuable tool in the realm of innovation.