Volume 12 Week 5

Thursday, Aug. 27


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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette





The power
of love

Not too long ago, I wrote a story about Michelle Earle, a young wife and mother who was recently left paralyzed from the waste down after falling off the edge of an embankment at a friend's cottage.

And while the story is incredibly tragic, it is also incredibly inspiring and demonstrates the power of love in the face of immense tragedy.

These types of stories usually go one of two ways. The victim, having lost the use of their legs, feels sorry for themselves and push away the people who are close to them. They quickly spiral into a deep depression and begin hating the world and God for putting them in their position.

That's one way this type of story can go. The other way this type of story can go is the way Michelle's story has gone.

The victim, having been blessed with a loving and super supportive spouse and a close network of friends and relatives, sees her situation as another challenge to be overcome. And that begins with a positive attitude, a willingness to accept help from others, and a belief that this is not the end, only a new beginning.

But dig a bit deeper and at the root of Michelle's recovery is pure unadulterated love. Not the type of love that comes with conditions like, "If you love me, I'll love you back", but the type of unconditional love that doesn't even need to be spoken, it just is.

They say love can conquer anything, and it's true. Because at the end of the day the only thing any of us has left is love. You don't need money or possessions to love or be loved.

And what Michelle and Mike Earl are proving along with their three children, immediate family and close friends is that love can transcend tragedy.

It helps that Michelle chose, in a lifemate, someone who is eternally optimistic and upbeat. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who is more supportive of the people around him, than Mike Earle is, which is why he was such a great coach. So much so, in fact, that many of the parents of the kids he coached in football and soccer four and five years ago are coming out of the woodwork to give their time and dollars to help renovate the Earle's house so Michelle can return home.

Then there are Michelle's closest friends, including the women who were with her at the cottage and comforted her until help arrived. They organized the campaign to the $50,000-$60,000 it's going to take to pay for the renovations.

If you're lucky in this life you will have one or two friends who will be with you no matter what. No matter the passage of time, or the distance in space. Their love is of the unconditional variety. I'm blessed to have two such friends. So is Michelle.

Lastly, there is the love that many of us don't even acknowledge. It is the love that is manifested, every time we answer the call to donate, or give of our time effort to help another person. Call it apathy. Call it compassion. It's still love, and it is what makes us human. Because not to feel love, or to share our love with others, makes us less human.

At first, Mike and Michelle were reluctant to ask for help from others. Even reticent. But to deny people an opportunity to express their love for their fellow man, to share their "humanness", would have been a tragedy in its own right.

Thankfully, they chose to accept it. They chose to accept love. And because they did, their lives and the lives of those who have come forward to help are richer for it.

The Earles are going to be okay. Of that there is no question. I know this because of one very simple reason, they are surrounded, immersed and enveloped by the greatest life force there is -- love.

(If you wish to comment on this or any other View Point column please write to Fred Sherwin at fsherwin@magma.ca)

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