Unforgettable Wedding

The Unforgettable Wedding and Events

Walking by Faith: The Story of Andrew DeVries

Walking by Faith: The Story of Andrew DeVries

Athletics had often been the most significant thing in my lifestyle. In actuality, at age fifty-five, standing six-foot-six, I experienced just attempted out for the Michigan Senior Men’s Olympic Volleyball staff, and there was a excellent probability I was going to make it.

Then tragedy struck. In a motorbike incident, I shattered my remaining leg. Medical practitioners approved amputation. Prior to medical procedures, as I lay in the clinic bed discussing with spouse and children and close friends what lifestyle would be like with no a leg, a young physician’s assistant named Sarah Scholl claimed, “Andy, what variety of golf balls do you engage in?”

That was an idiotic question, but I informed her, “Titleist Pro V1.” The upcoming early morning, a 12-pack of Titleist Professional V1 golf balls was by my bed. Sarah’s present gave me a glimmer of hope.

When I awoke right after the operation, I was astonished to glance down and see two legs and ten toes. Luckily, the physicians experienced made a decision that my leg experienced sufficient circulation to test to preserve it. But months of rehabilitation lay in advance. In a subsequent operation, I nearly died on the table.

When it was time to go to a rehabilitation healthcare facility, Sarah wheeled me to the ambulance. “I have a favor to request of you,” she explained. “My father died some time back. When I get married, I want you to walk me down the aisle.”

“Sarah, it can be uncertain I am going to ever be strolling everywhere. Apart from, you you should not even have a boyfriend.”

“Someday I will,” she explained.

Hope and appreciate

At the rehabilitation hospital, where I experienced very significantly reconciled to residing the relaxation of my life in a wheelchair, I acquired a connect with from John Wilder, my volleyball coach. “Congratulations, Andy, you produced the group! You are playing in the Senior Olympics.”

I advised him about my accident and waited for him to say he’d skip acquiring me on the staff. But Wilder stunned me: “You get far better. I will play you if you can just stand up.”

His terms ignited a spark. I went at rehabilitation with a vengeance. 7 months later I was ready to demonstrate up for the Senior Olympics. Though I could hardly stand, John retained his word: he put me in the sport.

When it came my transform to serve, I seemed at my spouse, Kay, sitting in the stands. She ordinarily shunned my athletic functions. I couldn’t blame her I had often put sports before her in my daily life. But now Kay was not only current, she was beaming. As I gazed at her radiant smile, I dropped it, ideal there on the court. Suddenly I understood why God had allowed this accident. He cared that significantly about our marriage.

I gathered myself more than enough to provide. We gained that match and the up coming. As the competitors intensified, the coach experienced to acquire me out, but our staff went on to acquire the gold medal.

Existence from loss of life

Back residence, my health ongoing to make improvements to. Then, quickly, my liver shut down. In a big surgical treatment, physicians bypassed it with a shunt. That saved my lifestyle, but unfiltered blood achieving my brain induced my arms to shake so violently I had to sit on them. I applied for a liver transplant and waited.

A yr went by, then two. No contact from the transplant healthcare facility. How does 1 pray for a transplant? For me to reside, another person else experienced to die. What can make me superior than anyone else’s partner, or somebody else’s father?

1 working day it happened to me that this wasn’t the initially time a person desired to die so I could live. Jesus had completed that for me. If God loved me that substantially, I could belief him with my long term.

In what appeared to be a divinely influenced discussion, Kay and I uncovered that Indiana had twice as quite a few registered organ donors as Michigan. So we rented an apartment in Indianapolis and utilized for a transplant. Within two months we obtained a connect with: a person experienced died in an accident I was a single of ten transplant candidates who would advantage.

Via the valley

The speed of my recuperation surprised the health professionals. For the first time in five several years I subscribed to a magazine in my possess title. But I pushed rehabilitation as well really hard. While executing sit-ups, I ripped the incision in my stomach muscle tissues. Throughout crisis operation, medical practitioners place mesh inside of my stomach and sewed the muscle groups in put. A tube was inserted up by my nose and down into my belly to pump out fluids.

Just after operation, I experienced to sit in bed in just one position without transferring and without having meals. Time handed so slowly and gradually that the second hand on the clock appeared to stand nonetheless. A day dragged by…two days…a few days…how a lot extended would this agony last? I had by no means felt so hopeless and miserable.

Around 4:00 a.m. of the fourth evening-the longest evening of my lifetime-I cried out to God: “Lord, consider me! I won’t be able to do this any for a longer period.” Kay was by my facet, in which she experienced faithfully been at any time considering that my incident. She murmured, “Nor can I.” At that issue Kay and I fully gave up. We ended up at the complete bottom of the valley-the blackest hole we could think about.

Fifteen minutes later on, our surgeon unexpectedly entered the home and reported, “I woke up in the middle of the night time with the emotion some thing had adjusted.” He looked about my vitals. “We can just take the tube out.” By the conclusion of that working day I was going for walks. A single thirty day period later on, I went again to perform full time.

Leaping and strolling for joy

My remaining leg experienced no nerves, so I figured my volleyball times were over. But my exercising therapist had an notion. She strapped my knees and ankles together so I could soar rope. I worked up to two jumps…then 6…then twenty! I was so energized I phoned an old volleyball teammate: “Hey, Tim, I can jump!”

“That’s great! We have bought a volleyball event in Milwaukee in two months. Come and enjoy?” That appeared considerably-fetched, but two months later, at the very last minute, I resolved to go. When I showed up, my old teammates stood and cheered. It was an psychological scene.

The very first 5 game titles were difficult, but in the sixth recreation I obtained a ideal set and a respectable kill. A couple of minutes afterwards I blocked for video game level. That taught me an significant lesson: You should not waste time wishing you could do the extremely hard. Just do your most effective and from time to time the not possible transpires.

Immediately after the game, I thanked my outdated mentor, John Wilder, for inspiring me in the starting. “You might be the just one who deserves the credit score,” John claimed. “You in no way gave up.”

“Actually, John, I did give up, but God never ever gave up on me.”

In 2009, 7 decades after my incident, I acquired an e-mail from Sarah Scholl: “I have a boyfriend-will you appear?”

What a pleasure it was going for walks-not wheelchairing, but going for walks-Sarah down the aisle.

Andy DeVries is a director of growth at Calvin College or university in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

A finish journal of his journey is posted on caringbridge.org underneath the title “andydevries.”

His site has experienced much more than 25,000 hits.

2011 Andy DeVries