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.
while the story is incredibly tragic, it is also incredibly
inspiring and demonstrates the power of love in the face
of immense tragedy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
what Michelle and Mike Earl are proving along with their
three children, immediate family and close friends is
that love can transcend tragedy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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