Saturday, June 03, 2006

Knocked Down, Not Out

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Knocked Down, Not Out

Roy Alexander gives presentations about an atrocious boating accident that occurred on March 7, 1987, and he begins with a Bible quote. “I may be knocked down, but I am not knocked out” (2 Corinthians 4:8, J. B. Phillips Translation).

An ordinary fishing trip with a group of five coworkers almost cost Roy his life when a pipe dislodged from its mooring, crushing open his right front cerebral lobe.

After four months in the hospital, Roy lost a lot — his position as Associate Executive Director of Conroe’s Mental Health/Mental Retardation Agency, his company car, and his speaking engagements. His confidence waned. He worried if his wife Judy could still love him, if he could love himself.

Roy said the sunken state of his skull was a constant reminder of his altered life. “I would catch people’s eyes not connecting with mine, but with the sunken skull.” During a fifth surgery (cranial plasty), the right side of his skull was filled to match the left side.

On the same day Roy was injured at sea, friends surprised my husband, David, with a 40th birthday celebration. They stood in our hallway, all 30 of them, trying not to giggle. Unaware, David, in his pajamas, lay on our sofa watching a sitcom when people rushed into the den shouting, “Surprise!”

After Dave changed into jeans and rejoined his party, one of the guests shared about Roy’s accident. Party plans were laid aside. We huddled together, prayed for our Christian friend, his wife and son.

Our minister’s sermon the next morning centered on Psalm 8 and that God’s mind is full of his people. God is at the helm of the universe, but his thoughts are still full of our goings-on. On March 7, 1987, God had many things in his mind, but he was intimately aware of a boating accident, a birthday celebration, and whatever happened in your life on that day.

Roy, now resides in Lubbock, Texas, lives a full life, and has a passion for helping head injury patients regain skills and confidence. He recently addressed one such group. A favorite line from his speech: “God never sees any of us as failures; he only sees us as learners.”

At the end of his speech Roy returns to the foundation of his belief: God steers individual lives. Because of his convictions, Roy encourages others and with confidence says, “I may be knocked down, but I’m not knocked out.”

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