T-Wall — near where I fell
Most people I tell my rock-climbing story are more impressed by my story than I am. Sure, I’ve got scars. There’s a white mark just above my lip that annoys me every day. And?
That’s why it always surprises me, though, when readers suggest I turn my story into a book. After re-reading my story this past January, my friend Vance sent me a message: “So, I just finished rereading your ‘How Not to Die‘ story, and I’m asking myself: How is this not a book? Or, at least, the beginnings of one? It is truly an amazing story, however you take it . . .”
In the past, I’ve always brushed such suggestions off. That’s what I did to Vance. “To be honest, I’ve already written nearly as much as I know to say about my rock-climbing accident. I have no idea how I’d turn it into a book . . .” is what I told him. And that was the truth. In “How to Not Die,” I’ve given the reader everything I can — from my perspective. Continue reading
I ought to be asleep. No, really. Normal people go to bed before 11 p.m. Normal people also go to bed before 12 a.m., and 1 a.m., and 2. More often than not, I go after 2. Even on work days. Even when I’m tired. Even when I haven’t gotten enough sleep for weeks and weeks and weeks.
You see . . . I just . . .
There’s so much more I want to do than I possibly can in sixteen hours. And since we’re supposed to sleep eight hours out of every twenty-four . . . I put sleep off until I absolutely have to and often end up getting less than I should . . . And sometimes, yes, sometimes, I regret it. But only sometimes.
Tonight is not one of those times. Continue reading
Today is a bit rushed. I have several posts in draft, but recently have been working on updating Shift. In particular, I’ve made quite a few changes to my menu. If interested, check out my “about” section where there are now three sub-items, including one that explains in greater detail why I chose the name Shift. I’ve also dedicated a page to my rock climbing story beneath “top posts,” and well . . . Just check it all out. I promise you won’t be disappointed. (Well . . . Maybe I shouldn’t make such boasts. But I can at least say I’m happy with the way my blog is slowly coming together!)
Much love to you all,
A few posts back, I talked about the missing piece from my rock-climbing story. I was raised Christian and went to small Christian schools all my life, including college. When I had my accident, the entire student body at the university I was attending prayed for me. Both people I knew and people I’d never met watched as I went from nearly dying to fully recovering—a miracle they attested to the power of prayer.
I’ve already talked about how this incident affected me—how I slept through it all and came out an incredibly sick girl on the other side.
But there certainly are spiritual implications to my story. I cannot deny that prayer is what brought me through (it certainly was no power of my own): to say otherwise would be a slap in the face to both God and my dear friends . . . This is true even if I don’t really know what God looks like.
So . . . the missing piece is you. The people who were most impacted were you. The people who saw the miracle was you.
I asked a few friends if they’d write down their remembrances, so anyone interested could hear my story from a different perspective. Here are two of their stories. Chad Stuart and Hilda Thordarson-Scott, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Chad Stuart was the student chaplain at Southern when I had my accident. Today, he is a pastor in Visalia, California. Here he is pictured with his wife and two of their three sons.
PRAYERS FOR JESSICA
It was late on Saturday night, January 25th when I first received news that one of our students had fallen while rock climbing. That was all I heard—no name, no details. Just that an accident had happened. I said a quick prayer, but other than that didn’t give it much thought. I was in Ohio visiting my parents for the weekend. There really wasn’t much I could do.
The next day, around noon, I turned on my phone and saw several messages. The messages were from the student deans and our secretary at school. They were all updating me about what I now realized was a very dire situation. Continue reading
Ten years ago today (January 25, 2003), I fell 80 feet (24 meters) while rock climbing at T-Wall, a popular climbing site in Tennessee. The doctors said I might not live; when I did, they said I’d never be the same again. Today, not only am I “normal,” most people don’t even know this incident ever happened. This is part four of my story. (To read parts one, two, or three, click here, here, or here.)
THE MISSING PIECE
For an audio recording, click here:
There’s a piece of my story that’s missing —
the piece that is all about you.
It’s the piece that I’ve struggled the most with —
the piece so many assume true.
I recovered from my accident eventually.
My rehab is on the next page.
But what of my soul, of “God‘s purpose”?
What is it that I owe — to you?
Something that has been hard to explain is the disconnect I feel from what happened to me during those weeks in the hospital. When I woke up in the ICU three and a half weeks after I fell, I was a little girl. A sick little girl. And that was all. Continue reading
Ten years ago today (January 25, 2003), I fell 80 feet (24 meters) while rock climbing at T-Wall, a popular climbing site in Tennessee. The doctors said I might not live; when I did, they said I’d never be the same again. Today, not only am I “normal,” most people don’t even know this incident ever happened. This is my story.
T-Wall (image: flickr.com)
The sun was falling from the sky. Once it dropped below the hills, all light and warmth would disappear. The clouds were chameleons: yellow and pink and purple. Somewhere a bird twittered.
An icy wind crept into my jacket. I shivered. Beyond the edge of the mountain, a silhouette was standing far below. “Just remember what I said,” it called.
Just remember what he said.
I took a deep breath and leaned back. My harness cut into my jeans. I couldn’t feel my fingers.
Grab the rope. Loosen the rope. Hop, hop; braaake.
I looked at the complicated system of ropes and carabiners before me, then at the small tree the ropes were attached to up above. Here we go. All I wanted was to go home and go to bed. Continue reading