God had given my nephew, Tim McGuire, a dream. His trip to Madagascar as part of his Masters degree in international development put a fire in his bones to start a touring company with an altruistic edge. The tours would help the locals by patronizing their hotels and restaurants, but also facilitate investment in marginalized communities. This way adventurers with means could take meaningful vacations that would leave the local people better off than before they came–a nice mixture of disinterested benevolence and good, clean fun.
Tim had been setting up his company in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and was planning to drive home with his girlfriend Lucero to surprise his family in Orlando. On March 27th, Tim and Lucero began to make their way south in her car. Driving down a two-lane road in Berrien Springs, they saw a van barreling down their lane toward them. Lucero veered left just as the van driver corrected, sending his van sailing into the passenger seat where Tim sat.
As soon as the metal and glass stopped flying, Lucero looked over at an unconscious Tim. Screaming his name over and over, she finally heard his ragged inhalation, as if “coming up for air.” The rescue team used Jaws of Life to remove Tim from the car so he could be rushed to the emergency room.
Thank God that Lucero sustained only minor injuries, but Tim was shattered. Broken femur, broken clavicle, broken sternum, skull fractures, cuts, bruises, torn ear, and worst of all–traumatic brain injury. The close-knit extended family, along with thousands of friends and acquaintances, waited pensively, afraid to breathe, alternately in tears and hope. Speaking for myself, I knew that his strong, athletic frame could overcome the physical injuries. But the brain, the house of personality and character–would it survive? Was Tim still in there?
I think it was about the third or fourth day that my sister Kristin, who had traveled up to Michigan with Tim’s dad Norman to be near their son, posted a video of Tim talking about, of all things, Madagascar. Never underestimate the regenerative power of a vision. Tim was still in there, along with his dreams.
To be sure, Tim has a long road back to health. The effects of the brain injury on his hearing, vision, and short-term may gradually recede. But will they disappear? We don’t know. We do know that he has enough left to do what needs to be done.
But there’s more to this story. Lying in his hospital bed, broken to bits, facing the possibility of permanent damage, Tim lost the will to live. He rued the fact that he’d worn a seatbelt. Then He heard God speak: “The purpose of life is to glorify Me.” The experience rearranged and reframed everything.
Listen, friends. We don’t need all the parts working to glorify God. We can be compromised, broken, and sub-par, and still raise our feeble hand “yes” in response to His call. So let’s do that, right now. Raise your hand, be counted, be part of the moving of God upon the hearts of His children.
You’ll want to check out these links:
-For the fuller story of how God has worked in Tim’s life, see my facebook series #porchtalks.
-Check out Tim’s touring company: www.oneplanettours.org