The following story comes under the heading, “Every good and perfect gift comes from above.” (James 1:17). I believe that. In most of these stories, people know and can see where God is working. Sometimes, however, people don’t. But he’s there; he’s working; and his love is evident, even if his identity is not. The following story describes a simple act of thoughtfulness and its powerful results. An idea came into Caitlin’s mind, and she acted on it. If “Every good and perfect gift comes from above,” the source of that idea should be obvious.
Later on in these pages, you will be reading another story about how thousands upon thousands of special needs kids experienced God’s love because of an idea given to a friend of mine. Until then, enjoy this one.
Introduction: a while ago I was talking to a ski instructor friend of mine named Ed, and the name of a mutual friend, Caitlin, came up. I knew her from ski patrol, and we’ve been friends for years. I didn’t that she and Ed were also friends, that she had long been one of his students, and that their friendship predated ours by several years. The following conversation ensued.
“Caitlin’s someone very special to me,” said Ed. “When my son Connor was eight years old, he was diagnosed with a hip disease that put him on crutches for three years. When he was first diagnosed, it was right around Christmas time. Here was a kid who was practically born on skis, and now he couldn’t ski at all. He was pretty torn up about it. Between my wife and me, we worked out a system where one of us would take our younger son to the mountain and ski with him, and then the other one would take Connor up to the summit where we’d all meet for lunch. Then, Connor would have to take the gondola down, and that was a real bummer. One day, Caitlin, who was on ski patrol and would often transport patients in toboggans, saw us in the lodge.
“‘Hey, Connor,’ she said, ‘would you like a sled ride down?’ And then she looked at me and said, ‘T-O-C?’ And I said, ‘Hell, Yeh, girl, that’s what you’ve got to do. You know what to do!’”
I interrupted the story. “What’s “T-O-C” stand for?” I asked.
“That was our term for “Totally Out of Control
“ ‘And she said, ‘T-O-C’ it is!’ And she totally streamlined him from top to bottom. It was the first time I had seen my son smile in weeks. It was an amazing, amazing afternoon. When we got down to the bottom, he was just laughing and smiling, and my wife and I were just bawling and in tears with happiness. It changed everything, and a few weeks later we were able to get him involved in the adaptive ski program. His doctors gave him clearance for that. They said, “Yeh, as long as it’s not weight-bearing on the hip, it won’t be a problem.” So he was in a sitz-ski for the next two-and-a-half years. Her taking him down that day started the whole thing; what she did was absolutely amazing.”
I thought Caitlin would find Ed’s words interesting, so I emailed her of our conversation. Her response surprised me.
“Whoa’” she replied. “I didn’t know any of that. I remember the sled ride, but I didn’t know any of the rest of it.”
Sometimes, small acts of thoughtfulness can have repercussions far beyond our expectations.