Last Thursday night, I sat in a Ruby Tuesday's with my longtime friend, Lorrie-Anne. We had only talked once or twice over the course of my time in Indiana which meant the evening was jam packed with stories and questions and laughter. Lorrie-Anne is one of the most beautiful and courageous women that I know. She has a contagious smile, loves Jesus, and continues to passionately pursue her dreams. I say all this to preface that Lorrie-Anne has had a difficult road to get to where she is today, but her tenacious, lovely spirit has kept her going.
At age 19, Lorrie-Anne was in a serious car accident. The impact pushed her body through the front windshield and into the guardrail on the side of the road. Her pelvis was broken and both legs suffered extensive damage. Despite the overwhelming odds and logical reasoning against her, Lorrie-Anne made it through surgeries, a foot amputation, and many, many months/years of hospitalizations and physical therapies.
In the nine years since the accident, Lorrie-Anne has overcome time and again daunting obstacles. From illnesses and infections, to depending on others for transportation and help, to functioning in a world that caters to those who can use steps...the list goes on...At some point in our friendship I nicknamed her vehicle, "the time-traveling van", with a tricked out ramp that lowers from the side for her wheelchair to get in and out of. Surely something as robotic and unique, has to have some sort of super power. It was certainly always intimidating to drive, especially the backing into a very narrow carport back at her house...
But to sit across from Lorrie-Anne, with a huge smile on her face, all I could think about was how proud of her I am. Two years have passed since I last saw her and in that time, the van has been altered with hand controls, Lorrie-Anne got her driver's license, and this May, she will graduate from college!!!! To continue to push and reach and overcome, and to do so with such joy and faithfulness.... I fought to find the words to tell her how I felt, how inspiring she is, how absolutely proud of her I am. We both teared up as the moment hit.
Later on, I shared with Lorrie-Anne about my move, the forthcoming album and my songwriting. Back at her house, we watched a couple of my youtube videos. As "Draw me Closer" ended, I looked over to see her wiping away a tear. She said, "I'm so proud of you!" (even as she continued to dab at her eyes). The night was ended with hugs and promises to connect again soon....a sweet friendship renewed.
How often do we become dulled to the power and inspiration in our own stories? What seems normal or unassuming to us can be just the encouragement someone else needs to hear. May we never forget to keep sharing.
Sidenote: One of the most holy and special moments of the evening came when Lorrie-Anne shared her dream to walk again. She had been working towards it in the first few years after the accident, but with an unrealistic brace and in the midst of college and life, she put it aside. Would you join me in praying for her dream? There are many things that would have to happen to even make it possible, but I believe that God gives us dreams that seem just beyond our reach.... and He is doing a beautiful thing in my dear, sweet friend.