There is nothing that fills me with more hope than Springtime. The cold dark winter is left behind and the light and life of Spring emerges. No matter how bleak the winter, the minute I see the first green shoots of a crocus I am filled with cheer when I need it most. It’s as if I’ve survived another long winter and the hope of summer is just a few short months away! I often wonder why I choose to live in this cold harsh environment especially when winter is still fighting to hold on well into April.
I wish I could give credit to this poet;
NEVER GIVE UP; Never lose hope. Always have Faith, it allows you to cope. Trying times will pass as they always do. Just have patience, your dreams will come true. So put on a smile, you will live through your pain. Know it will Pass, and strength you will gain.
What great words – “Never Give up, Never lose hope.” It reminds me of one of my favorite movies Galaxy Quest as they repeated “Never Give up… never surrender!” Trials always come to an end just as winter always gives way to spring. Everyone deals with adversity in one form or another but eventually it does come to an end.
If anyone knows about adversity and long winters, it would be my own husband Ron. Ron has dealt with more trials then most people combined. At 34-years-old his 32-year-old wife was killed in an accident leaving him a widower with 6 children.
Ten years ago during a surgery on his spinal cord the surgeon messed up and Ron came out of the surgery as an “incomplete quadriplegic”. Although his spinal cord was badly injured just below his skull it was not severed.
Ron was one of those individuals who never gave up and never surrendered. Even when his neurologist told him, “Mister Stoker, if you were going to walk again, you would have done it by now.” Or the careless words from our son-in-law, “Dad, if I were you, I would just kill myself.”
A Catholic nun, Mother Angelica once said, “Faith is what gets you started. Hope is what keeps you going. Love is what brings you to the end. Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.”
Ron was always filled with faith and hope. He did not let the words of others, no matter how realistic or even how careless they were, to get him down. He had faith in prayer and hope in God that he would rise above his trials. Together we taught him to walk again. It was not easy for him and he still continues to battle his paralysis.
The author Samuel Smiles, born in 1812, was best known for writing books that extol the virtues of self-help and character. Samuel wrote, “Hope is the companion of power, and the mother of success; for who so hopes has within him the gift of miracles.”
One of the greatest miracles that I learned from Ron was how to laugh again. It came just shortly after he was released from the hospital. I was on constant vigil day and night as I cared for my sweetheart. But one night Ron got out of bed on legs too weak to hold him. I was awakened to the sound of him crashing to the floor.
I jumped out of bed and stumbled toward him in the dark when I tripped over his body and fell on top of him. Before I could react I heard him say, “Well, hello! I knew I could make you fall for me again!” It was the first time after his accident that I laughed and it felt really good! Even though our life has been riddled with challenges we have found joy.
I have learned that no matter what life throws at you, you can rise above it. Five years after Ron’s injury our son-in-law ended up taking his own life. His careless comment to Ron was proof of his own struggle with depression. But when our son Jason died just 18 months later, we again found ourselves deep in a winter storm, and we longed for the warmth of Spring.
As a family, we have encircled each other with love and hope. We each know we cannot do it alone. Together we are comforted. Our hope keeps us going. With God’s help, our trials have made us strong.
Alexander Pope said it best, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never Is, but always to be blest…”
Happy Easter from our Utah Mothers family to yours!
Written by Melanie Stoker, First Vice President
Utah Mothers Association