Many readers of my articles and friends know the journey my family has taken over the last twenty months or so.
June 2018. My eldest son sustained a broken leg in a football (soccer) game. Fourteen operations later, due to complications resulting from infections, he has hobbled his way back from pain and despair. He is now looking forward to the future.
As a Dad, I have ridden this journey with him. It was my burden to take on.
I needed to. For his sake and mine. I was ready to learn, listen and understand every step of the process. To disseminate information and then pass on the prognoses to family, friends and the wider community interested. There was also a deep underlying pain for what he was going through.
It was my will to take on the burden and sit with him through virtually every operation and recovery. Having to repeat some of the journey was not without doubt, fear, anger and a whole lot of hope. We just had to do what we had to do.
I understood what he went through. I was there through the successes and the very dark times when we both felt the shadow of despair, depression and anxiousness overwhelm us both. Yet, outwardly, we remained strong.
I know I have just said I understood what he was going through.
But I didn’t. Until now.
I love surfing
I love surfing. I am an average surfer, but I am happy with my ability and I know my skills are always improving and I love just slowly pushing myself to get out more and into some of the bigger stuff. I’ve got some colleagues who are amazing surfers and as the old fella of the group, I just enjoy trying to give the impression of keeping up with them.
One Sunday morning (before online church!), I ventured out into great surf, albeit a little challenging for me, but feeling strong and confident. I got half a dozen suitable waves for my ability just hoping my young mates saw me push myself. I was having a ball.
I lost it on one wave. Not unusual for me. But a sharp pain on my shin indicated the damage I had caused. A ten centimetre “fin chop”. I easily got myself out of the surf. Tightened my leg rope around the gash (to keep it together and closed), hobbled back to the car, rang Belinda. Kurtis, now our resident nurse/medical advisor, patched me up in the back of the car and took me off to Emergency.
Four hours and ten stiches later, I was home.
Two days later I was back.
Yep, not so good.
For years we have held the mistaken belief that sea water is actually good for cuts and sores- how wrong we are. I had picked up possibly five or so ocean organisms and they had taken over my leg.
Then, and this is hard to explain, an out of body experience occurred.
It was so surreal.
Was it the infection?
Was it God?
Was it the drugs?
I began to see what Kurtis had seen. Heard what Kurtis had heard. Listened to what Kurtis had listened to. Yes, the scar was virtually in the same spot as his. No broken leg, but the details of what they were going to do, what they may have to do TO ME, was overwhelming.
My eyes and ears were his. It was like those Xbox first-person shooter games I am so hopeless at- so my sons say. I was me, but I began to see through the eyes of my son again. I wasn’t walking beside him through a journey. I was lifting him up in his journey again.
My simple prayer
My simple prayer at times is to ask God to see the world through his eyes. I want to see the world like Jesus saw the world. I want to see people how Jesus saw people. That’s my theology. It’s not from a course, a book, a seminar. The longer I have gone on my journey, the simpler I want to make it look and sound.
Then, you can love out.
That’s my hope. This is what I put my trust in. To understand how Jesus wants me to live, work, play and build relationships with people. By learning from Jesus, I learn to be the person I am supposed to be. It’s not arrogance.
It’s who I am meant to be.
And anyway, Kurtis’ scars are way better than my scar. I’m not about to be that competitive.
This Easter, Jesus’ scars, pain and torment are no match for what HE taught US.
Why not look at how HE lived?
Why not take the time to see how HE wants US to see the world around US?
Russell Modlin is in his 30th year as a Secondary English and Physical Education Teacher. He has taught in Mackay, Brisbane, Alice Springs and currently on the Sunshine Coast. He is married to Belinda (26 years) and they have three sons- 2 have finished High School, 1 to go!
Russell Modlin’s archive of previous article can be found atwww.pressserviceinternational.org/russell-modlin.html